Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Demons of The Past and Present: Del Playa (2017)

Del Playa (2017)
Rating: ***
Starring: Devon Barnes, Brett Johnson, Andrew Dits 

Enduring controversy due to so-called similarities to the real life crime committed by 22-year old Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured fourteen others near University of California before killing himself inside his vehicle, Del Playa (2017) is somewhat inspired by the horrors caused by the so-called Incel subculture, albeit done to resemble your typical slasher flick with some attempted depth centering delusional affection and post-traumatic stress disorder, playing most of the cards right and cheesing up the rest.

Bullied at home and school, Matthew has very few things going for him such as practicing martial arts and a one-sided attraction to fellow high school student Claire. Unfortunately for him, Claire already has a boyfriend, Tim, who prefers to handle the creeper situation by bullying Matthew. All of this soon escalates to a messy scuffle one Halloween party where, after Matthew tries to once again woo the girl of his dreams, Claire’s boyfriend decided to end this by beating the creep black and blue until Matthew fought back. Dirty. With a broken vodka bottle. Before running off into the night, leaving Tim to die from a stabbed gut.

Fast forward a couple of years and Claire is now at college, still dealing with the memory of Matthew murdering her ex. She copes with this by partying hard, snorting coke and cheating on her current boyfriend with her drug dealer, all the while trying to front being a healthy Psych major working with special needs children. But seeing Halloween's nearing again, Claire's control over her erratic behavior will be challenged as she fears Matthew's vengeful return considering they never caught the kid after all of these years.

What might have been a severe case of post trauma stress will eventually turn into a living nightmare when someone wearing Matthew's mask one Halloween dance ago starts to murder away the girls at Claire's sorority as well as those just happen to be in the line of fire, saving Claire for last.

While not exactly groundbreaking, Del Playa (2017) is still a worthy viewing for some depth in its plot, recreating through its main girl the realistic horrors of facing traumas from real life tragedies as well as fear of obsessive lovestruck stalkers. The film certainly took its time to build around her plight, focusing on her downfalls as a coke fiend and struggles leaving the past to move forward from her life, giving us a mostly fleshed out final girl that's honestly close to being sympathetic and probably the most interesting element of the movie.

However, the matter of fact that this all will eventually water down into a Halloween (1978) meant there will be plot holes and the rest of the characters never getting fleshed out, more or less becoming the standardized annoying and nameless teen lambs for the slaughter. On the plus side, the deaths are often brutal, with some of the best being a throat getting stabbed with a fire wood fresh-from-the-bonfire and a savage beer keg beating, and the villain is mostly a physically intimidating, silent hulk-type (until the last act when he goes full "nice guy" on Claire for that self-entitled cringe factor) so the slasher elements are sufficient enough to warrant this title a honest viewing.

Now, for a modest budgeted indie flick, Del Playa (2017) sure looks gorgeous and definitely didn’t look cheap. It's beautifully shot with some outstanding cinematography, including a slow-mo shot of the killer crashing through a window in prowl of a victim. It can be darn lengthy with its run time of a hundred-plus minutes and, in occasion, the drama can feel a bit misplaced with all the cheesed up teen drama many slasher flicks are known for, but the direction isn't without its merits and the end product is still a solid piece of bodycounting B-grade entertainment.

Flawed, yet enjoyable, Del Playa (2017) is a teen slasher at heart and probably more if it had the right focus. Nevertheless, its a fun watch if you're in the mood for troubled hearts getting hacked apart. Figuratively and literally.

1 male stabbed with a broken whiskey bottle
1 female found bloodied against rocks
1 male drowned in ocean waves
1 male brained with a rock
1 female stabbed on the throat with a fire wood
1 female had her gut carved and stabbed with a knife
1 male had his head crushed with a beer keg
1 female knifed to death
1 male falls of a cliff
1 male gets a carving knife to the head (implied flashback)
1 male body found washed up on a beach (?)
Total: 11 (?)


  1. Sounds very interesting. Not heard of it before but thanks to you bringing it to our attention I'll try and check it out sometime.

    1. No problem! It's available for stream at Amazon Prime if you wanna check it out. Think of it as Rob Zombie's Halloween II, only better.