Dir. Angelica De Alba & Paul Ragsdale (2023)
A group of women gathered to make an exercise video discover a murderer in their midst, which is exacerbated by a serial killer that is loose in the city.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I'm a big fan of A&P Productions and have already reviewed a couple of their films (Slashorette Party and Streets of Vengeance). They do a phenomenal job of recreating the 80's in their films, delivering critiques on the era of decadence through ambience, score, and just the general feel of their films. This time, they decided to take on the phenomenon of exercise videos, those VHS tapes that were owned by many a housewife (and perhaps even more men who enjoyed watching women in tight-fitting clothes work out). Utilizing a fantastic cast of buxom women and some tremendously well done gore, they more than pull it off and have put together a film that is both hilarious and heartwarming. Ok, maybe not really heartwarming.
Phoebe (Scream Queen Kansas Bowling) is determined to make it onto the cover of the latest and hottest exercise video, trying her best to keep all of the other girls on task so that they can finish the shoot and become famous in living rooms across America. Unfortunately, the girls are a bit distracted, with their current leader Candy (Jessa Flux) being far more concerned with getting famous through other means. Phoebe won't stoop to their level, however, refusing to use her body to get ahead. After walking in on Candy with one of the crew members (hilariously portrayed by special effects master Drew Marvick, who made the amazing Teddy Told Me To that we reviewed before), Phoebe snaps and becomes exactly the kind of person you'd expect her to be against.
Murdercise is filled with 80's-focused humor, with crack after crack (pun intended) eulogizing the era of Reagan, cocaine, and pre-DVD media. The actors do a fantastic job in their campy roles, delivering performances that are absolutely fitting with the type of consumerism-era B-movies that the film heartily skewers. It's hugely stylized with some gorgeous cinematography, showcasing its lovely ladies with more than a little blood and drenched in as much neon as you can stomach.
Like everyone else, I miss the 80's like crazy. It was such a wonderful decade, as long as you only pay attention to the fun parts. Roller rinks and cheap goods certainly distracted from the rising levels of inequality and the crack epidemic, terrible social factors that encapsulate what is still going wrong in our country. But as long as we can have a woman in a clingy bodysuit dancing in front of the American flag, what do we have to complain about?
Who this movie is for: 80's horror fans, Horror comedy connoisseurs, Richard Simmons
Bottom line: A&P Productions are already known for their fantastic blend of horror and comedy, and they deliver another excellent homage to the past with Murdercise. It's funny, irreverent, and has some excellent scenes of mayhem and gore. I'll be in line for pretty much anything these guys make: they're a studio that pretty much epitomizes indie horror.