I’ve been watching and reviewing a lot of graphic, messed up films lately and while I love them, sometime they start to take their toll. I start to feel a little burned out from all the extreme gore and disturbing content. Sometimes it’s nice to watch something fun and light, a palate cleanser if you will. The film I watched earlier, Potent Media’s latest effort Sugar Skull Girls, is just that. Check out the trailer below and read on for the review!
Sugar Skull Girls is the latest film from writer/director Christian Grillo (Apocalypse Kiss 2014) and features a cast that includes Anika Buchanan, Addy Miller (The Walking Dead TV series), Isabella Sobejano (Thursday the 12th), Cece Hagen (Spilt Blood 2015), John Amplas (Martin 1978), Leslie Easterbrook (The Devils Rejects 2005), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes 1977), and Carmela Hayslett (Apocalypse Kiss 2014). The film follows 3 demonic sisters accidentally summoned from The Shadow and their newfound human friend as they try to avoid being taken back to said Shadow by The Pale Witch while also trying to help a kindly old man rescue his granddaughter.
This film is exactly what I expected it to be: pure, light-hearted, horror-influenced fun. I absolutely loved the cast. All 4 of the main girls were great and it was nice to see Addy Miller of The Walking Dead fame as something besides a zombie and she did great. Addy, as well as the other girls, were genuinely funny and had great chemistry together. Leslie Easterbrook hams it up just like she did in Devils Rejects and I loved every minute she was onscreen. It was a pleasant surprise seeing Michael Berryman in a family friendly film playing a servant of the main villain. I think this is one of the funniest and nicest characters I’ve ever seen him play.
Carmela Hayslett (AKA horror host Roxsy Tyler) was utterly unrecognizable as The Pale Witch, at least till I heard her speak. Her character is an evil yet lovable goofball and I definitely got a Rita Repulsa vibe from the character. The biggest surprise in the cast was John Amplas, who had previously played the title character in George A. Romero’s vampire film Martin. I wasn’t aware until I prepared to write this review that it was him. He play Demetrius, the grandfather of a girl The Pale Witch was keeping captive and the Sugar Skull Girls were trying to rescue. His performance was kind of unusual but it worked for the character considering he is a kindly old man who is thrust into the supernatural, just trying to get his granddaughter back.
I really enjoyed the effects in this movie. The way the characters’ eyes glowed when they used their powers reminded me of classic Full Moon films and I enjoyed how the girls all had their own distinct powers and trademark color. The creatures all reminded me of something I would see in an ’80s movie. A scene featuring 2 characters as giants reminded me of my love for old Kaiju films. This movie really feels like a love letter to all things horror filtered through a family friendly and teen centered lens.
Sugar Skull Girls was a joy to watch. It reminded me of all the things that made me fall in love with horror in the first place. If you are looking for a film that is fun to watch with a budding young horror fan or you just need a break from all the graphic blood and gore, then I highly recommend you check out Sugar Skull Girls. Sugar Skull Girls is free to watch with Amazon Prime.