NOVEMBER 11, 2007
I rented The Slaughter a few days ago, and as usual I had never heard of it. I didn’t even bother reading the back of the DVD; I could tell it was a horror movie, so that’s all I needed to warrant a viewing. But as the film unraveled, I realized that no description could do this utterly bizarre movie any justice.
See, for the first hour or so, the film is a standard Evil Dead ripoff, with some light slasher elements thrown in for good measure (and, yes, yet again, fucking real estate 'intrigue'). The characters are pretty annoying, and for whatever reason, writer Jay Lee saw fit to inject the film with lots and lots of pointless sociologically and psychologically tinged dialogue. Instead of the usual drivel these types of characters usually spout out, we get debates about socialism and free speech and the like. At one point, someone points out that reading the Necronomicon-esque book out loud is the worst idea since the Bush administration (and then they clarify by pointing out they mean George W. Bush). What the hell all of this stuff is doing in the middle of a horror movie is beyond me. The same type of crap helped to make the execrable Drive Thru even worse. If it had any bearing on the plot, or even the theme, it would be fine, but using it just to try to make your characters seem a bit smarter, or as an attempt to make your film seem more relevant, is fucking stupid.
Then, something sort of strangely wonderful happens. With 3 kids left, the film suddenly becomes an ironic parody; the very type of humor I use in my (as yet unproduced) animated show Fright Reviews. The characters don’t care if they are in danger, or that their friends are dead, they begin arguing about trivial matters when they are under attack by zombies, and even ponder whether the zombies are “Romero style” or the “new, fast kind”. Had the entire film been presented in this manner, I’d probably be declaring it the best of the year, but since it comes so jarringly so late into the film, it’s just baffling and nowhere near as funny as it would be if you hadn’t watched the hour that preceded it.
Now, it’s not that the film isn’t funny before then. No, in fact it’s hilarious, albeit unintentionally so. We have a guy who gets so high that he turns homosexual, a character staring at some dirt and screaming, and dialogue like “He’s a hard worker AND he busts his ass!” We are also witness to some of the worst compositing/rotoscoping work I have ever seen in a film, low-budget or not:
Also, during the opening titles, the film has the rather strange final credit “A film by Jay Lee” in lieu of pointing out that he wrote, directed, shot, and edited it. It’s admirable that he did so much (and it IS pretty well shot, at any rate), but perhaps the film would have been improved if he hadn’t spread himself so thin. It’s certainly not horrible, but the strange tonal shift during the third act, worthless “commentary” dialogue, the pitiful CG work, and rather slow first act make it hard to recommend as anything but a curiosity.
However, if you like the humor of the final 20 minutes, please write your congressman, or any producers/agents you may know, and tell them to carry Fright Reviews.
What say you?