President’s Day (2010)

Rating: D

Dir: Chris LaMartina
Star: Bennie Mack McCoy IV, Lizzy Denning, Nicolette le Faye, Ryan Thomas

At Lincoln High, it’s time to elect the school council president. Uber-bitch Chelsea (le Faye) is the front-runner among the disparate candidates, but among those veying to stop her are new girl Joanna (Denning) and slacker Barry (McCoy), who only signed up as a candidate to get close to Joanna. The electoral process is disrupted, however, by the presence of an Abraham Lincoln mask-wearing, axe-wielding psychopath, who is chopping through the candidates, as well as the teachers, with gleeful abandon. Who is responsible?

Is it the creepy janitor? School policeman, Office Kennedy (Thomas), whose name is found in notes left in the victim’s locker? Or could it even be one of the candidates, looking to thin out the competition – such as Joanna who, it turns out, has some incidents in her past that would likely not exactly enhance her chances of reaching office. On one level, given the budget was around $5,000, this is an impressive effort: technically, it is sound, being in focus and with the dialogue audible. However, almost every other aspect is weak sauce – not least the casting of le Faye, who is clearly pushing thirty rather than a high-school pupil, and makes Olivia Newton-John in Grease look positively fresh-faced.

None of the characters come over as the slightest bit convincing, particularly Barry, though the adults – the teachers and police – similarly, behave in ways entirely unlike any would actually do. I know, we’re talking about what is largely a homage to the shitty slasher films of the 1980’s: but going that route, doesn’t mean you need to reproduce their faults too, and largely exacerbate them. This is true particularly in the effects department, which could kindly be described as “primitive”. The result acts less as a blast of nostalgia for a bygone era, than a reminder of why 99% of the genre in question has been thrown in the cinematic dumpster. I’m pretty sure that in 25 years time, no-one will be paying homage to President’s Day – even without better apostrophizing.