As the new kid in a southern school, Barry Odom is bullied, tormented and repeatedly the butt of humiliating jokes. But to his surprise, Barry is front-runner for Homecoming King. Or is he?
1 Star (out of 5) "You're killin' me, Smalls"
Admittedly, I dig horror fare. Blood, guts, gore… the occasional demon possession? I'm fine with all of it. I actually rather enjoy it if I'm being completely honest but only when it is well thought out and properly executed. Otherwise it runs the risk of becoming gratuitous torture porn (learned that already overused phrase from haters of The Walking Dead) or worse, so bad it's funny. Mizzou vs Middle Tennessee State falls squarely into the latter - or laughter, if you prefer.
Good horror takes it's time setting up a good scare or frightening reveal. That is not even close to the case here. Too often (like, the entire game) our cast of players find themselves in compromising positions which inexplicably lead them to far more compromising situations. It's essentially one monotonous jump scare after another leaving the audience somewhat desensitized to what they are watching. If you're like me, you actually found yourself laughing at the inane predictability and sloppiness of execution.
Our story begins by foreshadowing University of Missouri's impending Homecoming. Parades, floats, people in crowns, ya know, the usual pomp and circumstance. The camera then cuts to the football field where shy new head coach Barry Odom is seen in the distance receiving an atomic wedgie from what appears to be a couple rival coaches. The screen quickly blurs, Metallica's Nothing Else Matters fades in and we are now in a full-on movie flashback. Images are sprinkled in of Ed Orgeron howling at the moon while kicking Barry in the stomach; Jim McElwain spitting in his lunch box and taking his milk; and Kirby Smart pinning a "Kick Me" sign to his back while giggling and wiping snot from his nose. (For some reason Kirby Smart is also shown with a "Kick Me" sign on his back but the reason is never explained)
After Barry's bullied backstory is firmly established, he is subsequently picked on in horrifying fashion for the next hour or so to really drive home the point to any in the audience needing a little extra convincing. If you're thinking to yourself "Man, that seems unnecessary and overly cruel, right?" you'd be correct. We get it. Barry is not the most popular guy at school. That is, until he is befriended by two shady characters named Josh and DeMontie.
Barry finds comfort in the friendship of his two new buddies and quickly gains much needed confidence and self-respect. In no time, Barry climbs the social ladder and finds making new friends easier than ever. THEN, word leaks he has been nominated for Homecoming King and is even the odds-on-favorite to win. Note: the entire evolution of his character is a quick 90 second montage featuring Katrina and the Waves, Walking on Sunshine.
Fast-forward to Homecoming. Barry appears with his date (Heather Locklear) looking dapper in his black and gold suit, bow tie and Missouri Tiger's cap. A couple (four) entertaining choreographed dance sequences later - led by freshman newcomer Damarea Crockett - and we are about to find out if the title character will indeed be crowned Homecoming King.
"And your 2016 Missouri Homecoming King is… Middle Tennessee State University head football coach, Rick Stockstill!"
As coach Stockstill is crowned - along with his new queen, Heather Locklear - the crowd of youths back away from a now confused Barry and uproarious laughter breaks out among them. Emerging from the circle of kids now surrounding young Barry are his "friends", Josh and DeMontie, who point their fingers at the Missouri coach and shout in unison "Heupel Cross!" - which we find out later is the duo's "clever" way of saying "double-cross." Seconds later, a bucket of pig's blood pours out from the rafters, landing directly on an unsuspecting Barry.
It is at this moment we believe (hope) Barry - now covered in blood - will unleash his built-up anger on everyone in the room, whooping some serious butt while lighting a fire under his former friends' asses. But, we get none of that as Barry simply walks out the door muttering to himself, "you win some, you lose some."
Summary: Barry is a relentless horror, unintentionally comedic and hell-bent on disappointing it's already on-edge audience. While you do develop sympathy for the title character, you can't help but walk away feeling disappointed in him. Adapted from Stephen King's (novel) and Brian De Palma's (film) Carrie, it does stay fairly loyal to the source material right up until the third act where it screeches to a grinding, unsatisfying halt. Not only that, fans are deprived of all the fun telekinetic shit that made Sissy Spacek's Carrie such a vengeful badass. At least we got to see Crockett dance. I suppose that's worth a star.
What do you think? Rate the game below using the Smalls-o-meter and find out what the rest of Mizzou Nation thinks.
Rock M Review Ratings
*You're killin' it, Smalls (60% or more Mizzou fans rate the game positively)
*You're killin' me, Smalls (59% or fewer Mizzou fans rate the game positively)
Watch (or don't):
Genre: Horror-comedy | Rated R (for ridiculous)
Starring: Barry Odom, Josh Heupel and DeMontie Cross
Featuring: Damarea Crockett
Produced and Written by: Josh Heupel and DeMontie Cross
Directed by: Barry Odom