Rating: 4 out of 5.

In the style of the classic cheesy slashers of yesteryear, Marcel Walz’s instantly iconic That’s A Wrap brings gory mayhem and campy fun to a film wrap party environ. Old school horror aesthetic, propulsive synthy soundtrack, intimidating, androgynous masked killer donned in a flowy blonde wig, a chopping block of various character archetypes, and brutal kill sequences will definitely cut deep into any genre-lover’s heart. Get ready to say F-U-C-K to the next great slasher!

Their new flick That’s a Wrap has just concluded filming, and director Mason Maestro (Robert Donavan) is throwing a big party for the cast to unveil a fresh teaser trailer at his swanky studio. Everyone is invited, even that bimbo who gets killed off in the opening scene. The whole rest of the crew is off working on a new project in Minneapolis. Those in attendance, however, are truly about to experience a singular night of flying dicks, outrageous orgasms, and head-popping madness. In the grand tradition of House on Haunted Hill, Mason Maestro confiscates all phones, and would not permit plus ones. No leaks allowed—the night has been shrouded in mystery!

Each cast member receives a colorful title card of their names so we can get a grasp on their characters well before the slaughter commences. Among my favorites are gay twink bottom Troy (Brandon Patricio), donned in a Final Boy jacket; Harper (Sarah French), the movie-within-a-movie’s badass final girl whose ambition lies more in the merit of her work than pursuing fame and fortune; That’s a Wrap’s Drew Barrymore equivalent, Alexis (Cerena Vincent), who will be lucky to make it past the opening scene in a fun bit of meta context; prudish Lana (Sarah Polednak), afraid of even speaking actual curse words, and sexuality-questioning stoner aptly named Stoney (Steve J. Owens). Several others, including seasoned vet Lily (Monique Parent) and blonde bombshell Amber (Gigi Gustin), leave their mark on the narrative at large.

Unfortunately for them and not-so-unfortunately for us, That’s A Wrap has a signature killer known as The Mistress that seems to have jumped from the screen and into the studio. One by one, The Mistress dispatches a vapid, unsuspecting pool of characters in creative ways. As with Blind and Pretty Boy before it, Walz uses only practical effects for the kills in That’s A Wrap—a trademark that should achieve a decent amount of goodwill amongst genre fans. Gratuitous female nudity is also embraced with open arms: one sequence where a character fully removes every inch of clothing to wash something from her outfit had me laughing as it goes above and beyond to show off the female form.

True to the cliches of the genre, That’s A Wrap checks all the boxes while embracing a sharp meta quality to the scripting clearly inspired by Scream. Guessing who will survive or who will be behind the mask constantly keeps viewers on their toes. An eventual killer monologue delivers the tonal zaniness of any given 90s whodunnit. The creepy red/blue lighting that became a trademark of Italian Giallo slashers playfully makes an appearance here, as one character hilariously refers to the subgenre as “jello.” Between its preposterous turns into comedy, commentary about rejection and women in the film industry bleeds through. That’s a Wrap cements Walz as a horror creative who truly understands (and loves!) the genre. Sequel please?

Don’t end up on the cutting room floor—That’s a Wrap world premiered at 2023’s Popcorn Frights Film Festival, and unspools to digital platforms on Tuesday, August 25th.

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