Straight Edge Kegger: Review
A heavy punk rock atmosphere
A heavy punk rock atmosphere pervades the horror film Straight Edge Kegger (2019), in which free-thinking punk Brad (Cory Kays), after witnessing the brutality that arises from his straight-edge friends’ intolerance of the general punk scene, decides to abandon his straight-edge lifestyle in favor of exploring the wilder and more free-spirited aspects of punk subculture. Brad’s new lifestyle and relationships, however, are threatened when a party he attends is invaded by his former friends, who have morphed their hatred for those outside of their group’s ideals into a merciless killing spree.
Straight Edge Kegger delivers an organic and atmospheric take on the traditional home invasion/slasher film that allows it an edge over similar movies in the subgenre. From the moment that the film begins with a concert-documentary-esque sequence to the bold and thoughtful use of color and lights throughout, Straight Edge Kegger consistently envelops its audience in an environment that is raw in its foreboding essence. The gore is plentiful and visually authentic, paired with a few unique kills in the midst of the general knife-wielding slaughter. The masks used by the antagonists add a chillingly playful homage to such films as Saw, The Purge, You’re Next, and The Strangers. Cory Kay’s thoughtful and grounded portrayal of Brad allows him to carry the film with ease and provide the plot’s philosophical backbone. Julio Alexander also shines in his depiction of James, the central antagonist of the film, through his unnerving charisma and the sinister intolerance sizzling beneath it. The friendship between Brad, Maybe (Evey Reidy), and Sean (Sean Jones) also serves as a high point of the film, as their chemistry grows stronger and more endearing as the movie progresses.
A punk-influenced horror film
While Straight Edge Kegger is generally successful in its delivery of a punk-influenced horror film, there are a few details that slightly hamper its effectiveness. For example, although its message of inclusivity within the punk scene is positive and empowering, the initial depictions of this message feel too heavy-handed and stated during the first act of the film (although the subtlety improves later on). The first act also lags a bit in terms of pacing; while part of this is necessary in order to fully establish the characters and their surroundings, certain scenes may have been strengthened through shorter sequences.
Overall, Straight Edge Kegger is an engaging and unconventional take on home invasion/slasher films and should intrigue horror and punk music fans alike.
(As a small side note, if you are not familiar with the dynamics within the punk scene, your enjoyment of the film will be even richer if you research it before you watch the film. I did, and it definitely deepened my appreciation for the movie’s themes!)