MARCH 14, 2012
Nicely rebounding after the 2nd film, which I found a bit too grim and nowhere near as fun as the original, My Super Psycho Sweet 16: Part 3 is actually a good blend of the two styles, so fans of either entry should be happy. It’s still a bit of a downer, like the 2nd film, but it feels more like a typical old-school slasher, and takes a few good jabs not only at the namesake series, but also Jersey Shore as well. Anything that makes fun of “The Situation” is OK in my book.
At this point I’m not even going to bother trying to figure out how they want us to believe that the characters are the age that they say they are; “little sister” Alex is celebrating her 16th this time around, even though the actress is clearly in her 20s. And Skye is finally going off to the college she looked old enough to attend in the first film, but I guess you just have to go with it. Maybe the writers and director Jacob Gentry realized this as well – the party is barely mentioned, though they do work in a pretty great Happy Birthday To Me homage. Just ignore the number on the cake and you’ll be fine.
Slightly more problematic is the thin script. As with the other two films, there’s no surprise as to who the killer is – he reveals himself pretty early on as a guy who is obsessed with our much younger heroine (so it’s also a love letter to the Prom Night remake!). Also, he has a “theatrical” mask that he wears like twice, so we don’t get the creepy visual of the “King” from the first movie, either. But there’s not a lot of meat on the bone – once he’s outed during the first kill it’s just a series of scenes in which our (small) group tries to get out of the house, which has some suped up security system keeping them from escaping. There’s a minor “twist” at the top of the third act regarding how he was able to pull everything off, but anyone who remembers the end of the 2nd film won’t be the least bit surprised since it was practically spelled out for us then. I suspect if they KNEW they were going to have a third film, that last bit of part 2 would have been edited out and saved as a flashback for the climax of this one.
Then again, maybe MTV just figured their target audience (the type of people who admire the stars of 16 and Pregnant) wouldn’t be able to follow an actual twist or surprise plot point, and thus demanded everyone keep it as simple as possible. My slasher-addled brain kept trying to find clues that would make the film more crafty than it appeared to be: “Maybe the killer is wearing a disguise of another human (like Happy Birthday To Me, actually)! Maybe Skye’s new friend is involved! Or her MIA boyfriend!” But no, what you see is what you get.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The straightforwardness of it is actually refreshing in a weird way – it’s somewhat charming that they aren’t trying to fool us. And my theories were all sillier than anything that was actually in the movie, so well played! Plus, it delivers where it counts: the kills! The body count seems to be lower than the other films (there’s only like 9 people in the entire movie, including Gentry himself in a fun cameo), but they’re all pretty satisfying. One character gets half their head caved in with a lamppost, another is gutted, and another is shot to death (and then some) with a nail gun. Most of the impact shots are off-screen, but they make up for it in surprisingly graphic aftermath shots – the guts spilling out of that one guy top even the unrated version of poor Steve in Scream!
I also loved the over the top showdown between Skye and the villain (I won’t spoil it for those who missed Part 2; the movie sums up its events fairly well), which is staged almost like the Neo-Smith battle from Matrix 3 (it’s even raining!) as the two of them charge toward each other and go all out. The outcome might not satisfy everyone, but I guess they wanted to make a part 4 possible without actively setting one up. That said, the epilogue is nice and pretty much settles everything for good – hopefully if they DO make a part 4 they watch Scream 4 and learn what NOT to do.
Plus, I had to keep remembering that I’m not the target audience for this or anything else on MTV. The teens who they’re seeking to entertain long enough to watch the ads (lot of them were for Titanic, a movie that’s only slightly younger than these characters are supposed to be) won’t care about thin plots or the fact that some variation on the phrase “I’m just playin’ you” is uttered with alarming frequency. That the movie entertained me anyway is all I can ask for (and some of the tunes weren’t too bad either, though to be fair I DO listen to critically-despised pop music), and since all I asked for was that it was better than the 2nd one, I gotta qualify this one as a win.
What say you?