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  • Rev Horror

Founder's Day

Dir. Erik Bloomquist (2023)

A sudden killing spree begins in a small town during the lead-up to a mayoral election.

Slashers are just so much damn fun. The trope-driven genre has been explored fully at this point, and it's difficult to even fathom that a new film can really build on what's already been laid out before. One of my favorite things about slashers is that they rarely attempt to, knowing from the get go that they are treading a familiar path and doing their best to adhere to the tried-and-true formula of all of the others that came before. The most you can usually ask for from a new slasher movie are some inventive kills and a creepy masked killer, two relatively small things that most slashers fail to deliver anyway. Thankfully, even when they're bad... slasher movies are still fucking awesome. Which leads to today's film, a less-than-fresh take on a "holiday" horror that contains at least a couple of things that you have to have for a successful slasher.

A mayoral race in a small town has become a bit nasty, made even moreso when the daughter of one of the candidates is murdered and tossed off of a bridge by a man in a mask. The whole town is on edge, especially after the other candidate decides to continue with the Founder's Day festivities. As the bodies continue to drop, the high school kids of the town find themselves being hunted by a serial killer, and it doesn't appear that anyone, from the local policemen to the politicians, will be able to stop the killings.

Founder's Day attempts to make a horror comedy with some relevant political commentary, but it's relatively light on all three categories. Its deadpan humor works fairly well at times, but you're never completely sure that the characters are joking regardless. The killings are sufficiently bloody, but it never goes over the line into making anything particularly memorable. The politics of the film, never completely defined other than the "everyone in this race is a terrible person" indications, rarely become anything that feels particularly pertinent or a valuable addition to the political horror genre. A lot of the film feels more forgettable than anything, which in any other genre would be an unforgiveable offense but just feels more like a stereotypical slasher than anything.

Thankfully, there are a few things Founder's Day gets right, owing hugely to its genre of choice. The kills are decent, even though they're not particularly inventive. The killer is fun, his creepy red mask standing out amongst some other subpar slashers. The political backdrop is interesting, and even though it doesn't dig in too deeply, there are a few moments where it works particularly well. It does what it can with its indie roots, and the production value/cinematography is every bit on par with some of its larger budgeted predecessors. It's watchable, even though it fails to really shine or rise above its slasher rivals.

Realistically, they're not all going to spawn sequels. The "twist at the end" is practically a trope in itself now, and Founder's Day tries to deliver. It doesn't hit all of its marks, but it doesn't completely fail either. All in all, it's a decent slasher that fails to break any new ground, and it does a passable job of covering the ground that was already paved. It won't be in your top 10 of the year, but it's still one you'll probably want to check out if you're a slasher fan like me. Also, make sure you vote in November.

Who this movie is for: Slasher superfans, Political horror lovers, Gubernatorial candidates (yeah, I know that's governors, shut up)

Bottom line: Founder's Day is a relatively forgettable slasher, but its a slasher nonetheless. If you're someone who doesn't need their horror to hit on all levels, this one is a relatively enjoyable flick with enough indie sensibility to make it worth supporting regardless of quality. It's got some decent kills, a few deadpan funny moments, and a twist that you might not see coming. Give it a shot if you're a serious slasher faithful.

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