Just in time for all the partying that will be happening on Fourth of July (And for our friends to the north, Canada Day) Shudder is releasing its latest exclusive Party Hard Die Young on July 3rd. This movie follows a welcomed trend in horror where filmmakers explore horror in more well lighted settings. Party Hard Die Young is set at the German equivalent of Spring Break, Croatia’s X-Jam, which is basically a huge techno party. The scenery of a dingy dark forest is replaced by a loud, raucous party with strobe lights and masses of drunken, drugged out, horny teenagers.
Let’s be happy there isn’t a crazed killer in a mask wandering around looking to kill them one by one…
The movie follows Julia and her classmates as they party the night away on Croatian Techno Island, all is going well until Julia and her bestie Jessica have a bit of an argument. They both take an unknown pill and a stoned Julia thinks she sees a guy in a smiley mask trying to hurt Jessica. Her fears are realized in the morning as Jessica never returns to their hotel room and isn’t answering Julia’s calls, but she does send a mysterious Snap Chat message.
Now there has been a huge wave of “Retro Horror” or horror taking place in the past and personally I think a lot of it has to do with filmmakers who are too lazy to solve the cell phone problem. How do you have a psycho killer in the woods when Cellular Provider X covers 90% of America with lightning fast LTE coverage? How do you have a stalking shadow creep from house to house attacking babysitters when any of them could easily go Facebook/Instagram live or just live tweet the massacre? Party Hard Die Young takes a smart approach to this, simply integrate the technology into the story. By doing so I think it officially becomes the first Snap Chat horror movie.
From that first fateful night onward, we get your typical “teens being killed one by one” story line as the teens get killed one by one while Julia and her friends try to figure out who the killer just might be. By my count there were only about 5 deaths and only 2 were shown on screen in graphic detail, typically I am disappointed in this but in this film, I wasn’t bothered because the rest of the film was just so damn good looking. Visually striking and bright, Party Hard Die Young takes place at the party and no, it doesn’t start at a party and then move to the characters sitting around talking about it at some undisclosed location, this whole movie takes place at the techno party. If this film were made in the 80’s it would be called techno party massacre.
Spoilers ahead, watch your step
While the film follows a standard slasher formula as well as the standard “girl was wronged during truth or dare, commits suicide and someone is hunting her bullies” formula just remember, it’s a German film and the unexpected brutality is to be expected. German horror is well known for being extreme and unsettling, the finale of this film is no different as the killer forces the friends to play a twisted game of truth or dare.
Overall, Party Hard Die Young aka Techno Party Massacre is a fun little horror film. Beautiful looking and tense, imaginative in the way it handles the cell phone problem. A unique tale in a familiar format with enough mystery to keep you guessing and fantastic soundtrack that will have you pumping your fist like a techno bro, or whatever people do at techno parties. Party Hard Die Young gets a 3 out of 5 but the soundtrack gets a 4 out of 5. Check it out streaming on Shudder starting July 3rd.
Director: Dominik Hartl, Cast: Marlon Boess, Markus Freistätter, Michael Glantschnig
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