Shoot the cute
“All the boys are dying to meet Melissa.”
Director: Jim Sotos / Writer: Erwin Goldman / Cast: Bo Hopkins, Susan Strasberg, Patrick Macnee, Don Stroud, Dana Kimmell, Aleisa Shirley, Don Shanks, Steve Antin, Sharon Farrell, Logan Clarke, Michael Pataki.
Body Count: 6
A jumbling mess of a film, somewhat forebearing All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.
Promiscuous teen Melissa Morgan (Shirley) is approaching her sixteenth birthday. She likes boys and boys like her right back. But all of those who seem to take an interest sooner or later end up stabbed to death. Did Melissa do it?
Bo Hopkins is the local sheriff and freakin’ Dana Kimmell (!) is his goody-goody daughter who keeps finding bodies and somehow immersing herself into the centre of things. They’re both annoyingly cute. So much so they keep saying “don’t be cute”, “no, you’re being cute.” After the 43rd time Kimmell says it, I wanted Jason to appear and lop off her head as promised.
The killer is eventually revealed to the surprise of nobody in spite of their overwrought gasping. Amazingly, Dana’s response doesn’t feature the term “cute”. Could it have been more obvious? Does Jason shit in the woods?
Muscular cast brushed aside, Sweet Sixteen is a real struggle from start to finish, a mess of odd pacing and cringe-inducing dialogue, with no vibrancy commonly found in early 80s death-to-teens movies. A real shame.
Blurbs-of-interest: Hopkins was also in A Crack in the Floor and Uncle Sam; Michael Pataki was in Graduation Day and Halloween 4; Susan Strasberg was the teacher in Bloody Birthday; Don Shanks played Michael Myers in Halloween 5, the fisherman in I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, and the coach in Urban Legends: Bloody Mary; Dana Kimmell was, of course, shrieky heroine Chris in Friday the 13th Part III.