There’s a movie about a piñata seeking revenge that is appropriately hilarious.
Our story begins at Dulcelandia, a sweet shop in Chicago, whose hook-handed Shopkeeper (Joette Waters) finds a person dead with a tiny donkey piñata nearby. Naturally, she assumes evil witchery is afoot. She leaves to find out how to deal with it, but her clerk Juan (Elvis Garcia) sells it (despite her having a sign saying “Do Not Cell [sic]” on the donkey) to David Goodman (Steven James Price). David takes three piñatas home for a birthday party, but only one gets used (not the donkey). Later, David leaves with his wife Gwen (Sheila Guerrero-Edmiston) and young son Luke (Elias Acevedo) for the weekend, with his older daughter Lindsey (Eliza-Jane Morris) staying home with Rosetta Stone (Lindsay Ashcroft), her more sexually open friend (and secret crush). Rosetta invites over a few people: Lindsey’s creepy ex Scott (Billy Chengary); Rosetta’s loser cousin Martin (Daniel Hawkes); and Chad (Nate Bryan), who Rosetta wants to bang. They start by whacking one of the two piñatas, but again not the donkey, who is forced to watch as they destroy his kin. Soon, they’re all being attacked by a tiny, colorful monster that poops poisonous candy!
So, this movie clearly had a budget somewhere between a six pack of beer and a month’s rent in San Francisco. You can tell because the lighting, sound, and even much of the camerawork were all below “Sci Fi Channel Original” quality. They’re definitely not the worst I’ve seen and heard, but they’re pretty low on the scale. Despite that, through some creative scenes, self-parody, and acknowledgement of limitations, the movie is still able to be entertaining.
A big thing in the film is that the Piñata’s actions mostly take place off-screen, allowing them to be even more ridiculous. For example, at one point, the Piñata knocks a person over, binds their hands behind their back, throws a rope over a very thin branch, then puts the rope noose around their neck and hoists them up in the air, then beats them to death with a stick. Yes, it’s a piñata playing piñata, but at no point does it ever explain how the Piñata could possibly do any of that. It’s a lot better that way. Similarly, when the Piñata is fighting with the characters, it mostly just looks like someone is shaking the Piñata off-camera, and that’s fine. Because, let’s be honest, how would you possibly imagine a tiny donkey piñata winning a fight with a grown man that looks realistic?
The movie does a good job of keeping things just ridiculous enough to be considered parody, but also following enough traditional horror movie tropes to keep the juxtaposition of the monster with a piñata funny. Each of the characters is pretty much the typical one-dimensional archetype that you’d expect, but often taken to a level that reaches ridiculous. I mean, the buff guy is named “Chad” and one girl is named “Rosetta Stone” for goodness sake. The backstory of the Piñata is equally ridiculous (and animated). It also has the greatest “gearing up for a fight” sequence since Evil Dead II and the parents’ reaction to the events made me laugh out loud.
There are some downsides, though. For starters, this movie is 90 minutes, and should have been 75. There’s a lot of scenes that just appear to be happening because they were easy to shoot. A few of the shots are going to drive people away from the film. As a warning, I’ll say if you aren’t comfortable with a lot of vomiting or seeing a man’s genitals get mutilated in a way that was FAR MORE GORY than the rest of the film, then you’re going to get upset about parts of this movie. Seriously, most of the film has harmless and ridiculous violence, then… that.
Overall, though, this was a pretty great c-movie. If you’re a fan of crappy horror like me, then this should be on your Prime watchlist. I’m recommending a BAC of about .15, though, so don’t have anywhere else to be for a while.
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