Slaughter – After Dark Horrorfest Review

slaughter-poster-copyDo not buy a ticket to this movie. Do not rent this movie. Do not watch this movie for free. If you have a choice between seeing this movie and being incarcerated in Guantanamo, choose the latter, because sitting through this suckfest is such torture that it qualifies as a crime against humanity that should be punishable under the Geneva Conventions.

No doubt you think I’m exaggerating, but that’s only because you haven’t seen the movie. If you did, you would feel differently. In fact, if you go and see it in spite of my warning, you will probably hate me for not trying hard enough to convince you not to. So here goes:

It is becoming increasingly clear that After Dark Films will include any old shoddy piece of junk as one of their Horrofest’s “8 Films to Die For.” That we’re seeing a crass exploitation film is not the issue; it’s a given. What is the issue is that SLAUGHTER fails miserably, even by the low standards of grindhouse cinema:is.

The pace is unforgivably damn boring, rolling along as if it were some kind of drama with interesting characters and a story worth watching. Horror and suspense are almost non-existent till near the very end, when we finally get  a glimpse at what must be the reason for the film’s inclusion in the After Dark Horrorfest: a sequence in which our heroine has her teeth pulled by the film’s psycho killer. As far as dental horror goes, it is a good deal more grizzly than MARATHON MAN but not nearly as effective.

Till then, you have to sit through tedious story about some city chick hiding from her stalker boyfriend by moving to the country, where she rooms with a country chick next to a barn where piggies are slaughtered. When the country chick proclaims that “men are pigs,” you can easily surmise the reason we never see her one-night stands a second time, but the city chick never gets the hint. (Now you may consider this last bit of information a spoiler but trust me – it is impossible to spoil something that is rotten to begin with.)

The psycho-killer is one of the least intimidating screen presences ever thrown up on the big screen by filmmakers with naive expectations that viewers would actually be scared. The method of dealing death is – get this – strangulation (big whoopdie deal!), but the killer doesn’t look strong enough to outmanuver my grandmother, let alone the leading lady. And check out the terrifying back story that explains the killer’s homicidal proclivities: childhood abuse consisting of naughty photographs showing the victim – gasp! – wearing a t-shirt and shorts. (I can just feel the scars of pyschological trauma forming in my brain, can’t you?)

The “climax” suffers from pointless repetition (capture, escape, repeat) that is further undermined by a SEINFELD-like narrative device that has the two separate storylines (stalker ex-boyfriend, psycho roommate) colliding with each other. (At least in SEINFELD, this kind of thing was treated as a joke.)

As if all this were not bad enough, the film ends with a final “turning the tables” moment that is supposed to shock us with its unexpected shocking shock effect, but the action is staged so badly that the only shock is how shockingly laughable it is: the character with the upper hand – and the shotgun – lets her opponent get the drop on her in a way that screams out how little anybody making the film gave a shit about anything – she might just as well have handed the gun over and stuck her head in the noose.

But nevermind that. We’re supposed to believe this garbage, but the titles tell us it is based on a true story. If you’re stupid enough to believe that, then you deserve to drown in this cesspool.

Amy Shiles as Faith
Amy Shiles as Faith

SLAUGHTER (2009). Written and directed by Stewart Hopewell. Cast: Amy Shiels, Lucy Holt, Craig Robert Young, David Sterne, Maxim Knight.

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