"I know Jujitsu...bitch!'
A line you'll hear uttered multiple times in Peter Herro's feature length horror debut, used in similar fashion to Donnie Brasco's "Fugazzi", it's crazy just how much mileage is pulled from the versatile usage of that phrase. Much like the film itself then, a horror romp, which depending on context, attempts to hop back and forth between various cinematic tones.
Lets set the record straight, WTF is definitely a horror film - in the strictest sense - first. A teen slasher homage without teens (these particular characters sitting mainly in their early 20s), this one mostly plays out like a mix between a Fear Street novel and a sequel to another slasher film that never existed, with exactly the kind of cast you'd expect. You know the type; think Scream 2, or I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, think Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt, you'll start to get the picture:
Three years ago, twenty-two year old "girl-next door" Rachel barely survived a brutal massacre that left all of her friends murdered. Time has passed, and Rachel has moved on, but unfortunately her close friends are spending Spring Break in a secluded house in the woods, and they have cordially invited her to join. She would never have accepted the invitation if she realized that another bloodbath would be showing up as plus one. Once Rachel and her friends arrive at the cabin, the partying, sex, and...terror begins. From girls' only pillow fights to debauchery in a bedroom, it's going to be a blast...aside from the stabbing, flesh melting, and castration. Seven friends will go into a secluded house for the best Spring Break of their lives, but only one will be alive to post about it on Facebook the next week, as Rachel's biggest fears become a reality once again! Can Rachel survive another bloody massacre?
I mentioned that WTF feels like a sequel, and it makes sense given the way its plot is structured and presented; through a prologue of sorts, you get to see just enough of the gruesome event which scarred and transformed our main protagonist Rachel (Callie Ott), and so you're left with a better understanding of her disposition moving into the next act. To put plainly, she's broken.
But, her insensitive friends and her even more insensitive douche-bag boyfriend obviously aren't privy to the level of insight we as an audience are, so they all just kind of do there thing, being incredibly unsympathetic, all the while playing to their purposely tropey archetype while simultaneously berating Rachel at every turn, for being a party pooper. With friends like these, huh? Of course the partying, sex, gaming, and perving out come to a crashing halt and that's where WTF lives up to its name. Unfortunately, not always in a good way.
There is a real identity problem prevalent throughout the film's running time; it seems that it can't decide what kind of horror film it wants to be. One minute WTF is running as a poker-faced slasher (opening moments), and the next, an awkwardly goofy - tasteless - comedy, complete with rape jokes that feel completely out of place. Sometimes both tones are used concurrently, making the imbalance that much more striking. It's a shame too, because had it been pulled off, it would have allowed the scenes of levity, and those of violence, to elevate through that harmonious juxtaposition. Shame, as there are genuinely funny moments, that when looked at in a bubble, would play well for lo-brow humor. This line for instance, "Poor Bevan, all he wanted to do was fuck me... I should have just let him fuck me..." made me chuckle a bit, but a lot of its comedic impact was lessened because it happened during a moment that was darkly serious.
All that said, in spite of the problems with tonal consistency and harmony, I had fun with this. Yeah I sound pretty down on it, but that's more because I was disappointed with the film not reaching its potential. However, whatever heights it does manage to reach, made for a fairly entertaining horror flick, one propelled by decently gory kills, relatable - sometimes even likable - characters, plenty of obligatory titillation, and a fantastic surprise ending that left me smiling. Oh, and if you really want to enhance the experience, have some liquor ready, and take a shot every single time you hear Lisa (Sarah Agor) say:
"I know Jujitsu, bitch!"