Updated: Sep 15
My quick rating - 3,9/10. I keep seeing people saying this one isn't as bad as it sounds on Twitter so I'll be the judge of that. They wasted no time in giving us a gratuitous boob shot. 80s slasher is on its way for sure. This cheeky nod to 80s slasher films serves as a wink to the past, showcasing the director's intention to both pay homage and deconstruct the genre's clichés. The acting is on another level of terrible to the point I am pretty sure they are purposely being this bad, not just poor actors. So does that make them good? LOL. The insane focus on "tits" so far is hilarious. Writer/Director Paul Ragsdale is clearly taking a shot at the trope of the breasts from the horror flix of that decade. On top of all the women dressed up for aerobicizing, the constant mentions of "Reagan's America" are too funny. Murdercise – a film that sounds like it's straight from the 80s slasher playbook – surprisingly defies its initial impression with a wickedly entertaining blend of satire, humor, and horror. Ragsdale crafts a unique ode to the bygone era while flipping its notorious tropes on their head. The movie might not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it's undeniably self-aware and revels in its outrageousness. Ragsdale's clever subversion continues with the intentionally over-the-top acting that borders on absurdity. While the performances may not win any awards for their dramatic prowess, it's clear that the cast embraces their roles with an almost deliberate level of exaggeration, possibly aiming to evoke a sense of endearing awfulness.
And then there's the film's relentless fixation on "tits" – a playfully exaggerated comment on the hypersexualization that often characterized horror films of the era. Ragsdale's script doesn't just poke fun at this trope; it capitalizes on it to create a surreal and comedic atmosphere. Amidst the women dressed for their energetic aerobic sessions, the sly commentary on "Reagan's America" brings another layer of humor to the mix, accentuating the cultural context and adding to the film's overall satirical charm.
The narrative centers around Phoebe (Kansas Bowling), a fitness enthusiast whose ambition is as strong as her love for exercise. When she's introduced to a cheesy workout video, her aspirations take a darkly hilarious turn. The character's journey from a ridiculed background actor to a murderously empowered protagonist adds a zany dimension to the plot. Phoebe's unexpected alliance with a mafia princess wild child, Isabella (Nina Lanee Kent) serves as a catalyst for her transformation, leading to a series of unconventional and often uproarious murder scenes. I wish they could've raised more of a budget to apply to the kills since they were fairly non-existent.
Murdercise is far from being a traditional horror flick. Instead, it embraces its eccentricity and proudly dons its absurdity like a badge of honor. The film invites its audience to embrace the campiness and revel in the over-the-top antics. In a world where self-awareness in cinema is becoming increasingly valued, this one stands as a gleeful example of poking fun at the past while crafting a narrative that's undeniably twisted, yet oddly satisfying. I won't let it get past me that this flick is what it is though. Not all that great. It lacks in the blood splatter of those slasher flicks that it is poking fun at and while it is a self-aware, outrageous romp that manages to both parody and pay homage to the 80s slasher genre, it never really excels anywhere. The deliberate awfulness of the acting, the tongue-in-cheek handling of genre tropes, and the subversive approach to storytelling make this film a delightful yet strangely entertaining experience but only if you really don't mind admitting you actually enjoyed it.