“PARTY HARD, DIE YOUNG”
An Austrian Slasher Movie
Julia (Elisabeth Wabitsch) is a young woman out for a fun time of partying with her friends in Croatia. As they party, friendships are strained, alcohol leads to illness, and there’s a masked killer out to ruin everything. For any standard slasher movie you need. “Party Hard, Die Young” is well-paced and has all requirements for a good slasher movie— a killer with a decent mask, an assortment of disposable characters, some decent kills, and a backstory that reveals some tragic past incident motivating the killer. Director Dominik Hartl gives us intriguing elements and style that keeps us watching. He uses technology in an effective way.
Unfortunately, the foundations are not as strong as they need to be to hold the entire structure. For Julia and her friends their graduation trip turns into a horror trip. They arrive at X-Jam in Croatia for days of relaxation and intoxication. They can blow off steam before heading to cities such as Vienna or Munich for their next level of schooling. Their days are spent beachside while night transitions into multiple “secret” events, all overseen by “Gang-X” volunteers such as Leo (Michael Glantschnig). It’s a Garden of Eden for these untethered teens until Julia’s friends start disappearing or turning up dead, suggesting there might be an ultimate party crasher on the loose. We have tricks, treats, and live-and-let-die attitudes as we watch the characters living life to the maximum, but complete moral abandon is a recipe for disaster.
Once Julia’s friends start going missing and Julia begins receiving strange photos from her missing friends’ phones, it becomes evident that what began as the “greatest party of their lives” has morphed into one of survival. In order to save their lives, the characters have to figure out who is killing them and why.
Elisabeth Wabitsch brings a certain innocent, yet scream queen kind of flair to the screen that none of the other supporting characters have. But there are lots of clichés and no one really looks scared being chased by a masked killer.