Welcome to Cult Corner where we dive through the bargain bins to determine if a movie is trash or treasure. Today’s pick…Stacy Davidson’s Sweatshop.
This is a slasher movie, so you pretty much know what to expect in the plot department. A bunch of Hot Topic employees get together in an abandoned factory to throw a rave and a maniac in a mask starts to kill them. Done.
This movie has a bit of a rocky start. The acting is so-so and the characters don’t seem like the most interesting bunch. What’s especially off-putting though is the spooky music. It would be fine if it were setting up a scene that was meant to be frightening. But even the scene where the characters are drinking and chatting amongst themselves is accompanied by foreboding music. So why is the score written as if they’re being stalked? I realize it might seem like I’m nitpicking, but this one detail derails the mood entirely and makes it difficult to really connect with what’s happening. It just feels…off.
As I said the characters don’t seem like the most interesting bunch at the beginning. They’re all industrial clad ravers who look like they just got back from a KMFDM concert (and one redneck dude for good measure). There’s a lot of bickering back and forth and dumb conversation pertaining to the petty drama that’s going on amongst the characters. Most of this actually pays off, though. In a bit of a surprising turn I actually changed my mind about the core cast as the movie progressed. What appears to be meaningless small talk ends up becoming a plot point or becomes relevant in some way later on. Well done, movie.
In fact, this film really grew on me in general. The second the killers appear onscreen this flick kicks into high gear. We have a couple of feral girls running around and one huge dude in a welder’s mask carrying a hammer so big it would make Thor blush. This guy is awesome and you never find out anything about him. Who is he? Why is he killing people? Where does he come from? Why does he have feral girls hanging around him? Never explained and I’m totally fine with that. I’d actually like to see him ditch the feral sidekicks and take center stage.
The other thing that made the film grow on me is the fantastic gore. Director Stacy Davidson has more VFX experience under his belt than directing credit and his prowess with effects seems to have been a benefit to the production. Most of the effects in Sweatshop are traditional as opposed to digital (which I’m grateful for). This is where the movie really shines. The kills are all inventive and well-done. I even had to rewind one of them to see it again. Blood, guts, and viscera fly everywhere in truly grisly fashion. In the scenes of extreme carnage, the decision to outfit the killer with that huge hammer really paid off because it’s totally different than the blades that almost everyone else uses. The final sequence is especially fun to watch, even if it makes absolutely no sense.
So, I dug this movie. Will you? That depends. It’s a low budget slasher flick and it’s not without its’ faults. The acting is sub-par, the script is nothing original, and there are potentially some plot holes but personally I don’t really care. I’m totally willing to overlook a lot of this stuff based solely on the fact that it’s fun. In spite of how straight forward the script is a lot of the writing is really clever and for the most part it’s pretty well-directed. It’s mostly fast-paced, it’s got a badass killer, and it only got better as I watched it. If you’re a slasher fan, I say check it out.
Here at Cult Corner we cover the weird and obscure. Given the low budget that these movies often have we feel the need to recognize that entertainment value and quality aren’t always synonymous. That’s why we have opted for the “trash or treasure” approach in lieu of a typical rating system. After all, Troll 2 is incredibly entertaining but it’s no 10 out of 10.