Film Review: That’s A Wrap; Gory, self-aware slasher commits to the kill, but succumbs to silliness

  • Peter Gray
  • August 31, 2023
  • Comments Off on Film Review: That’s A Wrap; Gory, self-aware slasher commits to the kill, but succumbs to silliness

Leaning into a meta self-awareness that even the knowing winks of such slashers as Scream would deem a little too overt, Marcel Walz‘s That’s A Wrap perhaps works with a few too many layers of knowingness.

It starts off with enough of a sense of humour though as a horror-inclined actress, lamenting to her manager that she’s “only in the opening of the movie”, is, in fact, offed in the opening of this movie, which just so happens to share its name with the fictional movie at its centre; Cerina Vincent (arguably best known for playing the naked exchange student in Not Another Teen Movie and for shaving her legs to a bloody pulp in Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever), despite top billing, earning her Janet Leigh/Drew Barrymore infamy as said victim.

After she’s sliced and diced in a manner that’s alarmingly tame for a film of this ilk – and especially in comparison to what the following 94 minutes subjects its viewers to – we learn that the movie-within-the-movie, “That’s A Wrap”, is celebrating its impeding release, and the director and his cast have gathered to view the freshly cut trailer.

Said director (Robert Donavan) is an arrogant auteur who believes he’s made the next best thing in cinema, and whilst you can’t blame a creative for believing in themselves, you only need to look at his cast of stereotypes to realise greatness is highly unlikely.  His wife (Monique Parent) is doing her best to suffer through his ego, and the various actors all sprout topical nonsense that writers Joe Knetter and Robert L. Lucas no doubt thought sounded important, but unfortunately comes off as hollow nonsense regarding the industry and its treatment of women; two of the actresses, Amber (Gigi Gustin) and Molly (Eve Marlowe), practically take pride in the fact that they allude to performing sexual favours to get roles.

Whilst the film loses momentum whenever it decides to let its characters, well, speak – another “talent”, Lana (Sarah Polednak), immediately grates with her inability to swear, so she spells out every curse word instead (meaning during a heavy sex scene with a co-star she says things like “Get your d-o-n-g hard”,) – Walz at least has the smarts to explore some visually arresting imagery and giallo-inspired blood effects when it comes to the film’s multiple death sequences; arguably the sole reason we’re watching.

From a shower-set death scene that brings to mind the colourless pallet of Psycho, just with, you know, more full frontal nudity and intestine pulling, a slit-throat moment that revels in the exaggeration of practical effects, and an intentionally comedic, but no less painfully executed, castration, That’s A Wrap is aware of its genre flourishes, and the consistency at which each of these scenes is filmed speaks to Walz’s promise as a director; it’s a shame he’s let down by a heft of dialogue that finds nothing of value to say beyond their surface-level faux importance.

Never as smart as it thinks it is – except, perhaps, regarding certain steps taken surrounding the archetypal “final girl” (Sarah French, also serving as the film’s producer) – That’s A Wrap doesn’t quite evoke the charm of the trashy 80’s slasher it seemingly wants to honour.  Its intentions and nasty heart are in the right place, but if you’re going to rehash the genre tropes we’re all too familiar with, there needs to be something of a subversion to make us happy to sit through them in the first place.


That’s A Wrap is available across Digital Platforms in North America now.  An Australian release date is yet to be determined.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.