I don't think any fan of horror would be shocked to learn that this far into a franchise one should expect the worst of the worst. We can compound this notion by tossing out the name Jim Wynorski. What's that? You've never heard that name before? Perhaps you're familiar with Mr. Wynorski from some of my other reviews. The most well-known endeavor that can be credited to his name is 1986's Chopping Mall; a film that possesses a considerable cult following. Sorority House Massacre and Hard to Die (Sorority House Massacre 3, technically), both released in 1990, are also two films that can be considered his "handy work." He also directed the sequel to 976-Evil in 1992. It's well documented that he started as an underling to Roger Corman; idolizing the man and devising a way to snatch some of that good ol' B-movie superstardom. To a degree, Jim Wynorski succeeded but one major factor that's been overlooked is that Corman, at one time, had a highly successful string of films when he paired up with Vincent Price to direct a series of Poe adaptation films in the 1960s. So in short, comparing him to the likes of Corman is absolutely laughable; Wynorski's films are a disgrace to cinema.
The premise, as you can imagine, features a collection of pretty young girls (certainly open to interpretation) that get written into an awful situation that involves, and is not limited to, an unrealistic portrayal of murder and mayhem. The story wouldn't be complete without two bone-headed jock-types that tag along for the ride. The group of cheerleaders embark on a short journey into the countryside to relax at a secluded cabin accompanied by their coach; a woman clearly only a few years older than they are. Ah what the hell, they're only in their late 20s. That's kind-of close to the high school age range, right? A maniac on the loose threatens the merry lot and nothing short of unimaginative killings, awful character-acting, and low-grade special effects are on display. Oh woe is me, what will they do.
There are so many items contained in this film worth picking apart that I've thought it silly to mention them all. The most glaring atrocity involves the film quality, or rather, lack of. While the editing and film angles somehow manage to showcase a level of competency, the film stock ends up looking like a school project. The director's mother probably showed up a few days later after the film was distributed and gave the kids a good verbal lashing. "Jimmy, why on Earth did you break into our bedroom closet and steal your father's video camera again? Who let you out of the basement?" Wynorski got a spoon broken across his backside due to his insubordination…at least that's how I envision the whole thing. I'm certain that anyone with a modicum of taste would find the production values amateurish looking, so let's make that perfectly clear.
Perhaps you should sit down for this next segment as to now allow any pangs of uneasiness: the acting is HORRIFYING. To be fair; nay, to be extremely GENEROUS, as in, the type of generosity that involves tacking on an addition to your home for young homeless children, not all of the players featured in Slumber Party Massacre 4 are cold fish. The men and women hired-on to act-out the parts of the police force pretend as if they've never watched a cop story in their entire lives. As far as the main villain is concerned, it seems as though someone coerced their grandfather to play the part in exchange for a 6-month supply of jujubes and woozly-whats-its. The female lead, ridiculous to address her as such, is slightly convincing but plays the part too dramatically. I can't help but have a level of appreciation for this because she really did try. There are other female characters that fit the porn model criteria pretty well; tan skin so leathery-looking that it causes them to resemble an individual of Egyptian descent rather than the fair-skinned, next-door neighbor type you remember her as, with breast augmentations aplenty that may as well have the plastic surgeon's initials scrawled upon them. If at all possible, it'd be great if they could act. It's harsh to expect that, I suppose, but I'm sure I could find a reason why that's integral for a film to succeed.
If you were/are a fan of The Slumber Party Massacre series it's practically impossible for you to like this entry. Individuals who find this title entertaining accompany it closely with large amounts of Dope and enough alcohol to throw a man of 60, sober for 30 years, directly off the wagon into a ditch somewhere.
Allow me to rant for a bit. You know what's unbelievable? Why do straight-to-VHS releases from 30 years ago look better than their modern counterparts? Filmmakers have superior equipment and various software solutions to handle special effects, and yet, the end result is inferior. How is it possible to take a step back in that department? Contemplating this solidifies my argument that technological advancements don't always point us in the right direction. However, it does help to be proficient in your trade, which, in regards to Slumber Party Massacre 4 is NOT the case, so that factor can't be ignored.
I can't speak for the majority but I believe that horror films should rely on a more hands-on approach to ensure that the product is visceral; "generated" effects lack that raw quality because of how fluid they are. A few decades ago they didn't have After Effects or 3-D Studio Max at their disposal so artists were forced to create the effects by hand, regardless of how cheesy it may have looked. Slasher films have long since died out from the early days. For what reason would a guy like Jim Wynorski have to keep this tired premise going and exclude any worthwhile elements that allowed earlier titles to still be enjoyable? It seems to me that yet again, he just needed another excuse to cast soft-core porn actresses, work them into situations that required them to be topless, and bumble through a half-assed script that somehow gets approved by the higher-ups of the film industry. Other than showcasing breasts (which, unfortunately is something that almost every Slasher abides by) virtually every other aspect of a Slasher is gone in this installment.
This film is also known as Cheerleader Massacre and in 2009, Cheerleader Massacre 2 was spawned from the depths. I'm not sure how accessible this title is, however, but I do know that it follows through with the series. Jim Wynorski did not direct it which could be viewed as a relief. It's difficult to pinpoint any other specific details, but for the record, I will not be reviewing it.
To wrap things up: friends shouldn't let friends direct Z-grade wannabe Slasher films just to say they've done it. You can always count on this guy to appear late into a series and kill-off any remaining, likeable element that it once possessed. You're not Roger Corman, Jim Wynorski. To bed with you!