Saturday 20 April 2024

Shudder Saturday: The Third Saturday In October Part V (2022)

Bear with me, this opening paragraph may seem slightly complicated. Having watched The Third Saturday In October last week, and left underwhelmed by it, I decided to watch The Third Saturday In October Part V this week. I also, as per the advice of a producer who commented on my review last week, made time to watch this film before rewatching the first film, because that's the recommended viewing order. There are no other instalments in this series, both films simply being presented as rediscovered slasher movies from a long-forgotten series, and Part V is supposed to be watched before the first film, apparently. I must be missing the main joke/commentary, despite having now watched both films in the way they were supposedly intended to be watched.

The plot is simple, as you might expect. A bunch of people are all together in a house that is targeted by an infamous killer (named Harding). People get naked, people irritate one another, everything plays out while they remain mostly oblivious of the danger that they're in until they see a bloody and mutilated corpse in their immediate vicinity.

I hate to seem like I'm being rude to writer-director Jay Burleson, but I'm not sure I would have given the other/previous/second film a watch if I'd started with this one. It's very generic stuff, albeit with enough self-aware humour to let you know that it's not trying to establish itself as a modern classic, and even lacks the commitment to the aesthetic and atmosphere that infuses the other film. This is supposed to be set in the 1990s, but it never really locks that vibe in, sadly. Fair play to Burleson for making great use of his budget and resources, but both films needed to be considerably tightened up and fine-tuned at the writing stage, especially if viewers were supposed to get the most from watching them in a double-bill.

The cast don't do a bad job, but I would be lying if I said that anyone stood out to me by the time the end credits rolled (except for young Poppy Cunningham doing great work as PJ). Taylor Smith is a fun douchebag, Bart Hyatt and Tom Hagale have a couple of fun scenes, and Kansas Bowling, Autumn Jaide, Parker Love Bowling, and Devan Katherine are all decent final girl contenders.

I can appreciate some of what I think is being done here, a later slasher movie sequel that has tried to move with the times while also still delivering exactly what the fanbase wants from it, but it's not done as effectively as it could be. Perhaps Burleson will eventually give us a Part IX, set in space, and then he'll really be on to something, or a Part XIII, pitting Harding against some other unstoppable killer, because every main slasher movie series is equally about what new trend it incorporates as it is about what it tries to keep unchanged. Heck, I'd even appreciated a Part VIII in this series that shows Harding being able to make use of dial-up internet in order to start rebuilding himself from however he was destroyed at the end of Part VII, where he was torn apart by the many ghosts of his previous victims while a nu-metal soundtrack played out as he staggered around in an abandoned church. I'm not saying it's easy to turn those ideas into a script, and subsequently get a full movie made. I'm just saying that the main premise has the potential to lead to so much more.


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