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Review: Horror flick ‘4/20 Massacre’ is best experienced while buzzed

Jamie Bernadette, left, and Vanessa Rose Parker in the movie "4/20 Massacre."
(Film Chest)

Whatever else can be said about “4/20 Massacre,” at least it lives up to its ridiculous name. Equal parts goofy and gory, the horror movie directed by Dylan Reynolds never intends to be an arty mood piece or social commentary covered in blood. Instead, its C-movie horror should only be experienced while under the influence when your judgment isn’t at its best.

To celebrate the birthday of Jess (Jamie Bernadette), she and her friends go camping in the wilderness. Unfortunately, the woods are also home to “guerrilla growers” who will do anything to protect their crop of marijuana. A mysterious figure begins taking out hunters and hikers, and soon Jess and her friends find themselves targets too.

Though “4/20 Massacre” loves weed, its biggest problem isn’t laziness; in fact, it’s admirably inventive in its kills and use of viscera, even if most of the film’s plot feels like every other slasher-in-the-woods movie. Instead, its worst offense is its tone, which veers from sincere to silly to sadistic over the course of less than 90 minutes.

It features real moments of honesty and emotion among the friends and lovers, humanizing them before they’re brutally dispatched. At first, centering the film around a group of women made up mostly of lesbians feels like a fresh twist on the wilderness horror subgenre, but this exploitative movie never does anything with these characters other than kill them.

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‘4/20 Massacre’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Playing: California Institute of Abnormal Arts, North Hollywood; also on VOD

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