Directed By: Greg Huson
Starring: Scott Weinger, Lindsey McKeon, Juleah Weikel
Tag line: "Death to snowboarders"
Trivia: Though a direct-to-video release, this film did have a limited theatrical release in the US Pacific Northwest
Like the slashers of old, Shredder, a 2003 horror film directed by Greg Huson, is a movie about stupid kids doing stupid things in an area where they’re not wanted, all while a masked killer lurks nearby. It’s a formula that’s worked well in dozens of films over the years, but for some reason (one in particular, in fact), it just doesn’t click this time around.
Hoping to check out the grounds and squeeze in a little snowboarding, Kimberly (Lindsey McKeon) invites her boyfriend Cole (Scott Weinger) and a few of her closest pals to an abandoned ski resort that her rich father is attempting to buy. Ignoring the warnings of the locals, who tell them that a killer is on the loose, the group, which includes Kimberly’s cousin Pike (Juleah Weikel); filmmaker wannabe Sklyer (Billy O’Sullivan), cute brunette Robyn (Holly Towne), stoned out snowboarder Kirk (Peter Riggs, and a European hitchhiker they picked up named Christophe (Brad Hawkins), strap on their boards and hit the slopes. But soon enough, they’ll discover that the killer is 100% real, and what's more he hates snowboarders!
Even by slasher standards, the characters in Shredder are pretty damn annoying. Some are worse than others (Kimberly is a vindictive rich bitch who treats Cole like garbage, and Skyler is an eternally horny loudmouth with a video camera), but to be honest, none are particularly likable, and what’s more, they’re dumb as hell (knowing the killer is nearby, one actually makes the fatal mistake of running into a darkened cellar). Throughout most of Shredder, you find yourself rooting for the masked maniac, hoping he’ll finish these nimrods off as quickly as possible. The movie also has its share of kill scenes, some of which work well (the opening sequence, where the killer chases a snowboarder down a mountain, is appropriately bloody), and others that don’t (one of the more despicable characters is murdered offscreen, leaving us feeling cheated). And the big reveal at the end, where we learn the murderer’s identity, raises more questions than it answers (the killer covers a lot of ground in a short period of time; more than once, we wonder how that person could have traveled form point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ as quickly as they did).
Of course, I can’t really dismiss Shredder outright for any of the above (many slashers, including a few of my favorites, suffer from similar issues). No, what ultimately does the movie in is its insistence on trying to be clever at the wrong times. At several intervals, characters are spouting one-liners and cracking jokes mere seconds after discovering someone has been killed (even when the victim is part of their entourage). To make matters worse, the puns aren’t even that good (one calls a buddy who’s been wounded in the leg “the bleeder”). In their attempts to come across as “smart” and “edgy”, the filmmakers only managed to cut the legs out from under their most intense scenes. As a result, Shredder isn’t nearly as scary as it ought to be.