Main cast: Wes Bentley (Benny), Kate Maberly (Dani), Ryan Donowho (Nathan), Christian Slater (Delgado), Briana Evigan (Penelope), Travis Van Winkle (Hart), Carly Schroeder (Carly), Ashley Hinshaw (Sandee), Guy Burnet (Mojo), Angelic Zambrana (Squirrel), Daniel Cudmore (Moose), and Stephen Dorff (Professor Nash)
Director: W Peter Iliff
There are many movies out there called Rites of Passage. This is the crappy one. The presence of Wes Bentley, Christian Slater, and Stephen Dorff in this movie must surely marks some kind of B-movie apocalypse.
Nathan decides to bring his classmates from his anthropology class as well as the sleazy Professor Nash to his beachside home, which contains a recently unearthed burial site for the Native American tribe Chumash. The Chumash endured a brutal end at the hands of the white ranchers back in those days, but that doesn’t stop Nathan from wanting to conduct an authentic rites of passage ritual at the site with his entourage. His classmates just want to party at the beach. Little do they know that they will be tag-teamed by two lunatics: Benny, Nathan’s brother who did some kind of ritual after a nervous breakdown and is now searching for a “fiancée” to marry and die with, and Delgado, a deranged pot farmer who holds conversations with the monkey puppet attached to his gun.
I have to say, Christian Slater pulls off a hilarious job playing the insane Delgado who talks to his monkey and guns down his victims with relish. He definitely steals the show from the rest of the awful cast. The teenagers are written to be so obnoxious that I am actually rooting for them to be killed as painfully as possible. Some of the death scenes are actually funny too.
However, there is little to savor in this movie. There are too few scenes of violence and too much emphasis on the obnoxious teenagers being unlikable imbeciles. When Delgado finally get down to killing off these morons, he kills them too quickly, I want to see them scream and suffer for all the pain they inflicted on me. And then there is the hilarious and insensitive appropriation of the Chumash culture and make these people come off like a tribe of drug-addled pothead men and Pocahontas Barbies. The moral of the day seems to be that white boys should leave the pot to those real professionals.
Low on fun factor and high on dumb, Rites of Passage is a singularly dull and obnoxious flick. When Christian Slater playing another insane nut is the only entertaining thing about this movie, that’s when something is really wrong. It’s too bad nobody realized this and pulled the plug on this stinker during the drawing board stage.