Review: Dylan Reynolds’ 4/20 Massacre (A Campy, Gory, Mold-Breaker)

Well, this was entertaining and much better than expected. When you see a movie with pot smoking in the title, it automatically gives off the skunky aroma of low budget goodness. Think Pot Zombies. Think Evil Bong. If stoner horror can be considered an emerging subgenre, it’s safe to say that 4/20 Massacre is going to be at the top of the tier, the movie that all other entries in the category strive to beat. Shot under The Hike Productions and burning its way to DVD and VOD this April courtesy of Film Chest, 4/20 Massacre is a campy, gory, mold-breaker that succeeds in every area of production. I should have known better considering scream queen Jamie Bernadette plays the lead role of Jess. In the film, it’s Jess’ birthday, the biggest (aka only) cannabis holiday of the year, and a period of decent weather, so a group of young women go camping in a nearby national park, only to inadvertently come across a crop of ripe marijuana. Sounds like a party, except for the fact that the crop is guarded by a bush wearing psychopath with an axe to grind. Who will survive, and who will make it out of the 4/20 Massacre?

Based on the screenplay from director and editor Dylan Reynolds, 4/20 Massacre stars Jamie Bernadette (All Girls Weekend, I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu), Vanessa Reynolds, Stacey Danger, Justine Wachsberger, Marissa Pistone, Mark Schroeder, Drew Talbert, Jim Round, James Gregory and Jim Storm (“Bold and the Beautiful,” “Dark Shadows”) as Ranger Rick. This is perhaps my favorite thing about 4/20 Massacre – the fact that it’s a film that’s almost entirely lead by women. In this sort of medium, pot culture, it’s usually college aged men getting into sexual situations and all sorts of hijinx with women in the background as nothing more than objects. 4/20 Massacre is a mold-breaker because it puts its group of female characters into the same setting, adds a few hits of horror, and comes off with a lot more to offer viewers than Pineapple Express. You get to know the characters, you get to hear their opinions on life and love, and then you get to watch them die. In a world where women are gaining momentum and equality in all areas of life, it’s important to note that, yes, women can roll a mean blunt, too! Who knew horror could be so profound?

And I loved 4/20 Massacre for its campy-ness. It contains a lot of elements from slasher flicks of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, and that includes some over-exaggerated acting, musical scores that ranged from adequate to “what the Hell were they thinking,” and practical special effects that almost missed the mark. At least it had a high body count; no pun intended. Don’t get me wrong, 4/20 Massacre is an incredibly professional and well-produced film, but I think the man behind-the-scenes, director Dylan Reynolds, knew just when to turn up the level of camp and hokey-ness to appeal to lovers of old school cinema. It’s great because in between all the shots of nature’s beauty and the character development through long scenes of dialogue with superior delivery, you’re also treated to a brutal, gory massacre, off-brand humor and a lot of weed smoking. Honestly, I struggle to find a criticism with this movie. I don’t know if I necessarily fell into the target audience, but as a reviewer, I was entertained from start to finish.

4/20 Massacre was produced by Vanessa Reynolds and Stacey Danger with Kyle Stryker handling cinematography and Brennan Jones handling special effects. A female driven thriller that delivers a euphoric mix of terror and suspense, 4/20 Massacre puts the ladies in a male dominated world and absolutely crushes it. If you don’t want to steal the Leprechaun’s gold, then you don’t want to burn The Hashman’s stash, either! Oh, and I loved that all the deep conversations in this movie closely mirrors those alternative talks you get into with your friends when you’re high in real life. Oh, and 4/20 Massacre has the best ending credits sequence in recent history. I’m not high while writing this. I just really liked this movie and I keep getting reminded why I did. Pass this one around, folks. I guarantee you this is a fun, well-produced, well-acted film with a hint of sensuality that could easily become an April 20th tradition for horror fans. Go green this April. Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)