Today, Friday October 23, slasher flicks come to primetime television with the MTV film My Super Psycho Sweet 16. The movie’s central premise harkens back to the horror staples of old: a spoiled teenage girl, a party, and a misunderstood fellow student who’s the subject of her ire. In this movie, the misunderstood recluse is the goth/emo ingénue is Skye Rotter, played by relative newcomer Lauren McKnight. Her antagonist is Madison, an look-down-their-nose snobby high-society maven who is angling to make this the biggest and best Sweet 16 party of all time – thanks to her father’s deep pockets.
Oh, did I mention this movie is a spinoff (of sorts) to the MTV reality series My Sweet 16? Yes, one of the most derited-but-watched television series on MTV in recent memory, wherein teenagers have their wealthy parents throw huge/lavish/over-the-top coming of age celebrations. We can all admit to have watched some of it, whether it be in a can’t-pull-away-car-crash kind of thing or out of genuine amusement.
Irregardless, this horror take on the series is worth a watch – to see MTV let someone go this far ripping on one of their stable of programs, and also as a modern homage to slasher classics. Director Jacob Gentry was hired off his work on 2007’s The Signal, and his work here shows a deep knowledge of the best (and worst) the 80s slash genre has brought to bear -- while also bending an ear to the simultaneously popular teen movies from that era as well. For those that share that knowledge this might be seen as a modernization of 80s classics but it works as a modern entry into the genre for those that may not know everything these is to know about slasher flicks.
Putting this in a dilapidated roller rink with a killer from its glory days is an interesting touch – and leads to an interesting death scene that was worth the slow-mo sequence. The cut MTV provided for this review was surprisingly gory for what I anticipated to rather tame as a television movie. I assume that an edited version will run on television, with a uncut version coming to DVD down the road.
Although the uppity Madison character is perhaps the one with the most screentime, I thought the presence of Lauren McKnight as Skye really brought some depth to what could have been a flat part of the stereo-typical goth girl. Lauren eschews the Ellen Page aesthetic early on for something else, and I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.
That doesn’t discount Julianna Guill’s role as the sweet 16 princess of the title. With previous horror credit to her with a role in the recent Friday The 13th remake, Guill plays the role of uptight snob-in-a-skirt to the hilt that shows she clearly had fun in the role.
But the cast at some points seemed older than the 16 year olds they were depicting; maybe it’s the 90210 syndrome of being unable to find 16 year olds who can act well enough to portray them. It’s a minor quibble, but something that stuck out at some points more than others.
At one point I thought the movie would veer into Carrie territory with Skye becoming the killer – it is a family tradition, after all – but I was proven wrong. Sort of. Without spoiling the ending, it was different than I expected. As the first of a line of horror movies MTV has planned for its network, it’s a positive sign and I look forward to more in the future.
My Super Psycho Sweet 16 debuts on October 23rd at 10pm EST on MTV. A review copy was provided by MTV Films.