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“DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE III” (Film Review)

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When you see a title like DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE III, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve got a pretty good idea what to expect. It’s going to be tongue-in-cheek, a little dumb, and probably a bit violent. You wouldn’t think a film with that title would hold many surprises. Yet somehow, the guys at 5-Second Films managed to exceed or subvert nearly every expectation I had.

The film kicks off with a recap of the previous two (non-existent) DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE films. While explaining the origin of the franchise’s slasher villain, Motherface, it treats us to a montage of over-the-top death scenes from the first two massacres. As an avid lover of practical effects, and someone who has often complained about the drought of memorable deaths in recent horror flicks, being assaulted with a rapid-fire series of outrageous gag deaths won my affection pretty immediately. This opening also established at once that the film was both more graphic than I was expecting, and more amusing.

After learning the tragic history of the Dude Bros’ fraternity, and witnessing the murder of Brock, the apparent protagonist of the first two films, we’re introduced to his twin brother. Brock’s twin Brent, an outsider to the Greek system, pledges his brother’s old fraternity in order to investigate the murder. Brent meets an oddball cast of frat bros, each an absurd caricature of a stereotypical hard-partying, macho college bro. In typical slasher fashion, the cast is pared down one by one in a series of increasingly ridiculous kills (each accompanied by a perfect one-liner from the killer), all while Brent tries to expose Motherface’s true identity.

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But you don’t come to DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE III for the story. The plot is superfluous. It exists only to string together a series of wacky characters, punchlines, and set pieces that essentially become their own stand-alone comedy sketches. The film is so dense with jokes that it has an immediate, almost compulsive rewatchability. It was common, for this writer, to be laughing so hard at one joke that I missed two more. That it manages to keep up such a high density of quality gags over the film’s full runtime is incredibly impressive. A willingness to reach beyond the boundaries of absurdity in pursuit of a joke is a large part of what makes it work.

The comedy is pitch-perfect, but it’s not the film’s only strength. All of the gags are rooted firmly in a sincere love for horror. It’s parody, sure. But it’s the sort of warm hearted parody that can only come from fans of the genre. It seems clear that the creators grew up taking chances on the same terrible, direct-to-VHS horror films as the rest of us, and loving them. The influence is most clearly visible in the surprisingly high-quality practical effects used for the copious gore throughout the film. Transitioning between horrifying violence and screwball comedy isn’t always the easiest tightrope, but DUDE BRO never shies away from showing the splatter (including one of the most violent abortion scenes this writer’s witnessed in recent memory).

A movie like DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE III lives or dies on whether the tone meshes with your taste. It strings together punchlines a mile a minute. It never attempts to scare you, but it constantly utilizes horror imagery and shocking violence. Some of the jokes are so damned silly they go past the point of idiocy and swing all the way back around to being brilliant. That might not be the case for everyone. But for this writer, it was a hell of a good time, and one I’ll definitely be revisiting.

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About the author
Elijah Taylor
Elijah Taylor used to own a chain of video game stores in Denver, Colorado. Now he works with Laser Party, a poster printing collective, and travels the world, eating, fighting, and attending film festivals.
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