Horrorfest '08: Slaughter (US - DVD R1)
Gabe finds the exact center of the Horrorfest, and is filled with meh...
Faith (Amy Shiels) is forced to leave her home in Atlanta when her abusive boyfriend goes too far. While attempting to rebuild her life she meets Lola (Lucy Holt), a young woman looking to escape her own mundane life. The two become fast friends, and soon Faith moves into the guesthouse on Lola’s family farm, and things look good for a period.
Based on a true story is pretty much code for ‘we’re going to try to find a new way to remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’. Welcome to the Texas Thelma and Louise Massacre. Well, that’s a little unfair, the third act takes Single White Female’s third act. If the entirely generic title wasn’t a clue (so generic it’s hard to find on the imdb), Slaughter isn’t an entirely original trip to the old cinemaplex, but it’s just well made enough to not be the worst of the 2008 After Dark Horrorfest.
Slaughter looks and acts like a made for Lifetime movie with little ripples of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre skidding through it. Thelma and Louise run down their sad little back stories, talk about how bad the guys they sleep with are, and have a water fight while washing a pony. This stuff is clearly written by a man who has no idea how girls act when we aren’t around. When the horror kicks in it’s pretty brutal for an R rating, but has nothing on the tough girl violence of Aja’s Haute Tension, and isn’t enough for us gore-hounds to really care. The two lead actresses are actually pretty good, but the supporting cast is uniformly pretty awful, and the direction is nothing to get excited about.
Slaughter features plenty of swoopy camera moves, but looks suspiciously like a made for TV movie. The print is a bit washed out, the colours are a little dim, and the blacks could stand to be a bit darker. There’s not an excess of grain or noise, but there’s a discolouration that spans the bottom of the frame in pretty much every scene. During dark scenes this strip is at its worst, and a sickly greenish hue. And again, there’s a series of black scan lines that cut across the screen horizontally. These are most clear on hard white edges.
Slaughter is a little more aurally active than some of the other Horrorfest titles this year. The outdoor scenes are pretty active with canned nature sounds which mostly defer to the stereo channels, but make a few trips to the rears from time to time. The dialogue is mixed a little more lively than some of the other films in the collection too, and is clear over the louder music. Music is again the star of the show, and is again impressive enough to add some much needed production value to the reasonably cheap little movie.
‘The Making of Slaughter’ is slightly better than the usual EPK, and features a real amateur charm. There’s a lot of raw behind the scenes footage, a lot of on-set interviews, and the whole thing is well edited, if not a little roughly shot. The featurette covers many aspects of the filming process, but mostly leaves post and pre-production out of the equation. It totals about 30 minutes. It’s followed by four deleted scenes that run about four minutes total, and the Ms. Horrorfest Webisodes.
Slaughter isn’t the worst of the ‘fest, but it’s entirely forgettable save a couple of decent performances. I recommend re-watching Thelma and Louise and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre again on their own, maybe even in a row, again instead. The disc features one of the collection’s more substantial extras, but has one of the worst transfers, so I guess it evens out.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
Release Date: 31st March 2010
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Extras: Miss Horrorfest Webisodes, Making-Of, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Craig Singer
Cast: Lucy Holt, Antonia Bernath, David Sterene, Craig Robert Young
Genre: Drama and Horror
Length: 96 minutes
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