I found this movie completely on accident. I don't even remember what I was actually looking for, but this came up in the suggested titles and I AM SO GLAD THAT IT DID. After laughing for a solid five minutes, wiping the tears from my eyes, watching the trailer, and then giggling for ten more minutes, I pressed play immediately and my life hasn't been the same since.
I'm really only exaggerating very slightly.
Here's the thing: I love it when a thing knows exactly what it is. When it doesn't try to pretend to be something that it's not. When it's able to look at the audience and give it a little wink, as if to say, "Can you believe we're doing this? Neither can we! But it's fun, isn't it?" And it really, really is.
I knew exactly what I was walking into with this film, and it delivered: killer robots, horny teens, blood and guts, and an absolutely banger soundtrack. It also delivers a shockingly brilliant twist: they're not actually horny teens, they're horny people in their early 20s, so you don't feel like a humongous creep when they whip their immaculate tits out before getting eviscerated! Seriously, why didn't more 80's horror movies do this? I literally do not care if the actors are 22-24, if they are representing a character who is supposed to be 16 and we see their boobs, as far as I am concerned, those are 16 year old boobies and it's fucking weird to sexualize them. They are 16. (I AM LOOKING AT YOU, SAM LEVINSON).
But I digress. The real star of this film is whomever was in charge of the approximately 37 panes of glass that get broken into a million pieces, and the singular PA who had to sweep it all up in between takes (and you can tell from the budget that it really was just one kid with a broom and dustpan).
If you'll allow me digress for a moment - I found this super interesting TikTok recently where a man named Nathan Allebach describes the social concept of a Third Place:
"A Third Place is somewhere people hang out that isn't home and isn't work, like cafes, clubs, bars, libraries, churches, parks, plazas, barbershops, you get the idea. This concept was coined by Ray Oldenburg [in his book The Great Good Place] who described them as the anchors of communities, where relationships are formed through spontaneous conversations, and art, and activities. And throughout the US, we've lost them.
[...] You see, all cities big and small used to have densely populated downtowns, where people experienced chance encounters and supported local businesses with foot traffic. As Euclidean Zoning segregated suburban housing from shopping districts, those places slowly died out. Then private companies tried to fill the void with malls as the new town square, which were dominated by big businesses. But then they started dying too, when online shopping took over. So now we've lost most of our gathering places outside of major cities."
Okay, so it's a long trip for a short point, but its one I've been obsessing over: at one point, shopping malls were our town square. I fucking love that. Before my family moved to Hawaii (where there was literally only one mall and it was on the Hilo side which was a 2+ hour drive away but it was the only Hot Topic on the entire island so I dragged my mother there once a year), I used to ride my bike to the Stanford Shopping Center with my best friend Megan and we'd spend hours just wandering around. It was the only place we could go to on our own that didn't require a car, being an adult, or having money. If you think about it, there aren't a whole of places left in the world where you can just exist for free; loitering is either a commodity or a crime, and you have to pay for the real estate.
ALL THIS TO SAY: it is rare that I utter these words, but I would actually fucking love a remake of this 1980's horror movie. I mean they'd have to set it in a mall if they wanted to keep the name, but it would be a sad post-2020 mall, and all the stores would actually just be owned by Amazon. Oh my god, and instead of security robots gone rogue, the murders could all be committed by Alexa!! Okay, that's brilliant. And ten bucks says that within the next decade, Sam goddamn Levinson turns it into an absurdly salacious HBO Max romp behind a massive paywall and wins 5 Emmys for it. (I'll still watch it though.)
ruthless rating: 10/10