It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
No women are hacked to pieces in "Fraternity Vacation." but they are the victims of violence all the same - the kind of violence that denies them the opportunity to be as interesting, as aggressive, and as free to choose as all the guys in this brain-damaged film. Their basic role here is to be the prizes in a male sexual competition. Since the guys in this movie are shallow, narcissistic, self-obsessed dummies, to be the prize is to lose the game, but in a movie like this, those are the rules.
The film takes place in Palm Springs, during spring break, when a bunch of fraternity boys from Iowa descend on the town. Why Palm Springs and not Fort Lauderdale? Because Palm Springs is closer to Hollywood, and therefore a cheaper place to make a movie, that's why. So the movie glosses over the fact that Palm Springs is the most boring town in America for anyone who does not play golf and/or know Bob Hope or Betty Ford.
In the movie, the college students cruise up and down the main drag in their convertibles, checking out the action, and we meet the main players. On one side are three fraternity brothers - two jocks and a nerd. On the other side, two jocks from a rival fraternity. Everybody is out to get laid, of course, and that leads to the movie's painfully offensive opening sex scene.
You've got to see this episode to believe what pathological attitudes the movie has about women. Let me set the scene. The guys from the rival fraternity - let's call them the bad guys - have brought along a couple of girlfriends. To play a practical joke on the good guys, they persuade their girlfriends to make the good guys think they're going to get lucky. So, the women go up to the good guys' room, make out for a while, completely strip, and then play the "joke" by pretending they have herpes. What a ton of fun.