Sydney Underground Film Festival Review: Dude Bro Party Massacre III (USA, 2015)

When the red band trailer for Dude Bro Party Massacre III was first released it struck me, and it struck me extremely hard; I hadn’t laughed that loudly since my eighteenth re-watch of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Perhaps it isn’t a coincidence then, that Mark from the classic 2003 “disasterpiece” (AKA Greg Sestero) is in this 5-Second Films production. After countless loops of the trailer I immediately took to google to try and track down Dude Bro Party Massacre and Dude Bro Party Massacre II, thinking how in the hell I let this franchise slip past me. Neither film exists, of course. Dude Bro Party Massacre III is our first introduction to this bizarre world that the exceedingly creative 5SF have come up with, and it is one devilishly entertaining watch.

Clocking in at one and a half hours, Dude Bro plays out as the most absurd and purposely excessive horror satire of all time, sprinkled with punchy, clever humour that emerges pretty much every second, ensuring that from start to finish this film will have almost anyone – especially those with an off-kilter sense of humour – in stitches. It’s a barrage of nonsensical, surrealistic silliness, tightly woven into a revenge-slasher film that only gets more unbelievable as it rolls along to the credits.

Directors Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon, and Tomm Jacobsen from 5-Second Films could have easily been out of their depth here. The start-up rose to fame by making short, snappy, and incredibly re-watchable clips of hyperviolence and raunchy satire with a wit not seen since the early days of South Park. Turning their twisted minds towards an indie movie was a risk, but it pays off, in bucketloads of fake blood and intentionally cheeseball bro dialogue.

Shot very much in the style of a scratched-up VHS tape, the look and feel of Dude Bro is perfect for it’s context. We are even given a quick rundown of what happened in the first two nonexistent Dude Bro Party Massacres with a surprisingly detailed recap, told via the film’s lead, Brent (Alex Owen) who is retelling the story of his twin brother’s murder at a frat-house getaway, to his counselor. A story which involves a psycho, revenge-seeking killer called Motherface (Olivia Taylor Dudley).

Realising his need for closure, Brent begrudgingly joins the fraternity that his brother used to be a part of. Welcomed almost immediately by the senior bro, Derek (Sestero), Brent is quickly introduced to the main players in the frat, all with their own sensationalised stereotype. There’s the intense, jocky, and appropriately named Turbeaux (Paul Prado); the subservient pledge and hardcore vegan Sizzler (Jimmy Wong); the disabled and neurotic Samzy (Joey Scoma); and the nonchalant virgin Todd (Joey Scoma) who tries just as hard to fit in with his bros as his girlfriend Samantha (Kelsey Gunn) does.

Of course they are going to end up at the same lake-side cabin where Brock and some bros were murdered, along with a batch of additional bros like Turtleneck Bro (Brian McElhaney) who, and I’m going to spoil this one, eventually dies a brutal, brutal death alongside his good friend Flannel Bro (Nick Kocher).

The subplot is just as intentionally confusing, involving two police officers (Brian Firenzias as Officer Sminkle and Maria Del Carmen as Candice Buttiker) where one (Sminkle) has been convinced by their chief (Patton Oswalt) that the fratboys are really just bags of oranges that need to be turned back to their true form with a swift “bop” on the nose by the authorities. Yes, what the fuck indeed. Though the outlandish subplot is full of hilarious moments itself, it is mostly just used – in addition to side-splitting five-second infomercials – to break up the primary narrative in a way that makes less sense than Sminkle’s motivation.

Clever touches are thrown in along the way, from subtitles which shouldn’t be there – and are cries for help from whoever is writing them – to cameos from Larry King and Andrew W.K. The latter whom plays a veteran bro named Rip Stick.

Cult status is guaranteed for Dude Bro Party Massacre III, surprisingly one of the most refreshing and effective horror-comedies I have ever seen, with highly quotable dialogue, an infectious energy, and genuine cleverness from open to close.

Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Dude Bro Party Masscare III screened as part of Sydney Underground Film Festival 2015. It can be downloaded from 5secondfilms.com