Starring: Noah Abbott, Johnny Alexander, Jessica Allain
Imagine the classic Jamie Lee Curtis-starring Canadian 1980 slasher Prom Night taking place in a modern ghetto neighborhood and its casts being mostly black, with a touch or two of Hispanics. Boom! You got Thriller (2018), one of Blumhouse studios' uninspired duds. Yippee?
Four years ago, a gang of kids decided to prank the local slow kid, Chauncy, by luring him inside an abandoned house and scaring the bejeebus out of him while wearing matching skull masks. It's all fun and games for the lil' tykes until their victim fights back, pushing one of them off a floor and to their death. The kids, shocked from the sudden drastic turn of their prank, cut their loses and vowed to keep their involvement a secret, all the while pinning the entire death to Chauncy, making him look like a murderer and throwing him into juvie.
After one opening credit featuring some very decent artwork (Probably the best part of the movie), we jump to the present where Chauncy, having paid his debt to society, is now a free man and his return is as warm as you would expect from someone with a reputation involving child murder: intense and disturbing to a lot of people, save for his own mama. Those involved with the incident, now teenagers readying for life after highschool, try their best to brush off Chauncy's presence in the hood by busying themselves with football scholarships, homecoming weekend and getting in the pants of a visiting rap star, but this soon proves to be difficult when they start being killed one-by-one by a hooded figure.
At best, Thriller (2018) is watchable for some of the drama it unfolds, particularly the interplay between its teenage casts among one another and some red herrings introduced that, frankly, would have made a better storyline for this movie. (A character, for one, talks to herself in a mirror and then talks back in an altered voice like lil' Danny Torrance from The Shining. Why aren't we focusing on this one?) These, however, hardly mattered in the end as the plotting and direction this film went for is just bland and overdone, recycling and re-using a lot of situations and tropes one would find at other (and probably superior) slasher movies, more evidently the aforementioned original Prom Night.
Lacking a central character, the pacing hobbles its focal point from one face to another in an attempt to build as much development as possible and while I can definitely see this as a way to put the human drama first to heightens the tension, its rushed and threadbare, candidly not enough to make the ensemble stand out of their archetypes and making caring about the increasing human casualties difficult.
It also doesn't help that the anticipated killing spree lacks a punch, which is normally the saving point of a slasher film if everything else that matters story-wise starts rolling down the ditch. Sadly (its low-budget to blame or not), the murders in Thriller (2018) are irredeemable on a visceral and/or a creative level, a large portion of them watered down by terrible lighting, cheap cuts and frantic editing.
1 girl pushed off a floor, falls to her death
1 male gutted with a knife
1 male bludgeoned to death with a bat
1 male found with his throat being crushed under the killer's foot
1 female bashed with a rock
1 male had his neck snapped
1 female dragged off a car, killed offscreen
1 male hacked on the back with a machete