The Movie Waffler First Look Review - PAINTBALL MASSACRE | The Movie Waffler


paintball massacre review
A class reunion paintballing outing turns bloody.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Darren Berry

Starring: Katy Brand, Lee Latchford-Evans, Robert Portal, Nicholas Vince, Ian Virgo, Cheryl Burniston

paintball massacre poster

It’s reunion time for the 2004 class of Mass Acre Woods Prep High School. ‘Nervous Nelly’ Jessica (Cheryl Burniston) sits in her car contemplating Dutch courage when she is pulled from her reverie by Sara (Aoife Smyth), who apparently still lusts after her old school crush who’s now Jessica’s fiancé, Simon. They are joined by vapid Lauren (Natasha Killip), who’s all breasts and attitude, and then they head in to the reunion.

There are a wealth of characters in the pub awaiting the catch up and though we get to see them all in various conversations, the men aren’t quite unique enough to be that discernible from each other. After the crowd make it clear they aren’t pleased at her appearance, Jessica attempts a quick getaway but her plans are stymied by a car key mishap.

paintball massacre review

Her old chess club friend Nathan (Lee Latchford-Evans) - whom we had seen having suicidal inclinations earlier on - quickly befriends her again and before they know it it’s the next morning and they are signed up to paintball.

Several losing games later and it’s time for the horror to start.

There is a killer on the loose hunting down our paintballers. Will they find out who it is before they are all dead?

Written by Chris Regan and directed by Darren Berry in his big screen debut, this British effort is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the dialogue works very well: I thoroughly enjoyed Sara and her Fast and the Furious analogies, always told while smoking a joint; there is some intrigue to be explored with regards to the elusive Simon; and I did relish the personalised kills. It should also be said that the way Berry works around a limited budget combined with a need for big splashy deaths is actually quite clever.

paintball massacre review

Having said that, there are big problems with this one. For starters, too many characters who are all pretty obnoxious and not people I could bring myself to care about, except for the aforementioned Sara.

The acting is hit and miss with some performers stronger than others, but they aren’t helped by a script that has them behave in sometimes blatantly contradictory ways. No one in this world reacts as real people would. For example, upon finding their opposing team gruesomely slaughtered, Jessica says calmly "I need to call Simon, he’d know what to do," while others just talk about either wanting to go home or wish they had their phones to take pics for Insta.

There needs to be some sense of real-world consequence or it all means nothing; horror comedies don’t work if everyone is so casual about the killings that it’s all like a big joke. The balance here is off, and it makes for a strange viewing experience.

paintball massacre review

Slashers aren't known for their subtlety or character building, which can be to their detriment if they don’t have a certain amount of silly charm. This film is lacking any sort of charm but also doesn’t work as a comedy horror as it’s a bit too crass and mean spirited to be funny.

Also, I understand the allure of an understated ending, but this one is deliberately unclear and ultimately quite frustrating.

The deaths are creative and the gore aplenty, but this didn’t really work for me, and though its ambitions are commendable, this one misses the target.

Paintball Massacre is on US DVD/Digital now. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

2021 movie reviews