“Man, if college kids keep watching horror movies about Spring Break, they’ll never want to invade isolated getaways for a week-long alcohol, drug, and sex binge again!” – hopes every overprotective parent in America. Yes, it’s true that horror films love exploiting Spring Break for all its debaucherous shenanigans, picking from a goldmine of horny, drunk, uninhibited party goers with zero awareness, but some attempts are nothing but a lame buzzkill – like the dude who shows up carrying wine coolers. Weak bro.
Take Jim Valdez’s Machine Head for example – three girls, three guys, a lavish house in the middle of nowhere, and a stalker obsessed with “Ding-Dong-Ditch.” About as brainless as some drunken sorority girl looking to get revenge on mommy and daddy, Valdez never once achieves even a modicum of slasher glory despite casting three bodacious babes – I know, right?! How can a horror movie be so empty when it stars such hot young actresses?! Oh, yeah – complete and total sarcasm right there.
Rachel (Sharon Hinnendael), Chloe (Nicole Zeoli), and Mila (Christina Corigliano) think they’re embarking on a Spring Break to remember when Rachel’s father gives them permission to use one of his client’s remote vacation houses, but the trip takes a turn for the worst – Rachel has to babysit her sisters as well. Oh no! How will our horny college girls get their rocks off with children around!? Looks like that won’t matter much when a killer shows up to crash their party, stalking their every move while peering into the house. I mean, at least they have jello shots?
Machine Head isn’t just comprised of clichés, it’s a walking, talking, cliché dispensing horror machine. Three obnoxiously gorgeous girls stranded in the middle of nowhere with no phone, no surrounding locational knowledge, and only three equally snobby frat boys en route to protect them – somebody flunked horror 101.
Have no fear though, because next our killer is introduced – probably some vile miscreant on par with the likes of Mick Taylor, Ted Bundy, Charles Mason – oh, wait, it’s just a regular dude with a beard (Vinny Curran) who gets caught playing “Peeping Tom” over and over and over again? His antics become tiresome once the very first cycle of “ring doorbell then attract backyard attention” delivers absolutely no scares, as the same, goofy headshot is recycled any time our girls glance out the window. Curran pulls nothing but campfire pranks, yet our girls shriek and scream as if Ghost Face busted through a window and furiously charged waving a knife – a witless, dull villain who just happens to drive a sweet muscle car.
Maybe these young starlets can – wait, seriously? Who am I kidding. Joel Souza and Jim Valdez show a glaring lack of horror genre respect in creating Machine Head‘s story, why would their character work translate into anything more than sorority stereotypes? Rachel fights for Queen Bee bitchiness by verbally abusing her rich family through seething greediness, Chloe screams her bloody head off at the most inopportune times, and Mila asserts herself as the resident badass by begging for an untimely death whenever possible. Mixed together, these three girls create a disgusting cocktail that can only spell defeat, as each lingering moment of their overplayed horror stupidity pushes your hand one centimeter closer to your DVD remote.
This isn’t my first Z-grade rodeo people – I know what cinematic atrocities are expected. I’ve seen such drivel as Sorority Party Massacre and Scorned, and even though I granted only one and a half stars to the latter, I STILL had more fun watching AnnaLynne McCord’s psychotic tirade than I did while Machine Head bored me to tears. When you can’t even meet the quality of a Billy Zane starring movie, you know there are some SERIOUS struggles afoot.
Machine Head has been sitting around since 2011, and I still can’t muster a single explanation as to why Anchor Bay Films dusted off this bit of bargain bin filler for home release. Not a single respecting horror fan will find an ounce of watchable content, barraged by misunderstood filmmaking passing amateur genre craftsmanship for some type of slasher wannabe flick. I truly wonder if Mr. Valdez has ever seen a horror movie, or talked to a single genre fan in his life, because if he did, Machine Head never would have happened. At least aspiring filmmakers have a brilliant “What Not To Do” example that redefines low-budget failures and mindless inside-the-box thinking – a singular positive found hiding deep in this unappetizing slop.
Just when you think you've seen the worst in Z-Grade horror, a film like Machine Head comes along and completely re-defines your definition of "rock bottom."