JULY 13, 2008
It really bums me out when I get a DVD that is so half-assed. Presentation is very important, and when your movie is as generic as Slash, it could use all the help it could get. But no, a full frame, badly washed out transfer (even my wife noticed that!) just makes its flaws all the more apparent. Adding insult to injury, the final scene of the film is presented in widescreen for some reason, as if only to make sure I knew it wasn’t a full frame movie to begin with or something. The sound levels also bounce around at random – you’ll either have to turn it up to hear the dialogue (should you choose to do so) or turn it down when the random songs begin blaring.
Like I said, even if the presentation was top notch, the movie itself just doesn’t have a lot going for it. It’s technically OK enough for a low budget film, but the script almost dares you not to doze off (a dare I lost). The slasher sequences are few and far between, and hardly impressive anyway. It’s almost like they wanted to make a real character drama about a kid who has to choose between living his dream (of being the leader of a rock band called... wait for it... "Slash") or sticking by his family, which by now is just his dad (Steve Railsback!), and helping on the family farm (their last name is Macdonald too, in case you were wondering). Even the breakdown aspect seems legit – it’s not like the killer threw some spikes on the road or punctured their gas tank, I think the damn thing literally broke down (maybe this was explained in the 5-10 minutes I dozed off). Hell, the obligatory “the killer isn’t dead” scene is presented as such; director Neal Sundstrom seems more interested in showcasing the band playing their first big show.
There are also a lot of survivors; five I think (it has no real effect on the band's touring plans at any rate). One is the film’s best character, a seemingly simple handyman for the farm. At first you think he’s a redneck, but as he starts to reveal that he’s actually quite intelligent, and so THEN you probably start to think he’s probably the bad guy. But no, he’s just a really cool dude, and he joins the band, and seems pretty happy to do so. If you’re the type who likes to see a real character arc in a bad slasher movie, at least Slash totally offers that much.
But again, that sort of just goes along with the whole “let’s make this the least horror-y movie ever” feel of the film. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the horror elements were thrown in at the last minute before filming began. At one point they just cut away from one of the drama scenes to quickly show a guy being killed (no setup whatsoever) and cut right back to the drama as soon as possible. Maybe it was a budgetary thing, but since the horror backstory is so generic (yet another “sacrifice for the crops” type thing) it doesn’t seem likely. Hell, even Dark Harvest was at least proud of its horror roots.
The movie also features the least convincing car wreck in movie history. They don’t really show it hitting anything, which is fine. But right after, the girl in the car pretends to play dead, and the boyfriend is hardly concerned. I don’t care – when you get into an accident, or even a close call, you’re sort of fucked up for a few minutes. These assholes don’t even seem to mind that their car is probably wrecked.
I should note the rock music in the film. It’s not all that bad. Anyone who knows me knows my taste in music is a bit questionable (I’m looking forward to the new Hinder album, for example), but whatever – I liked it. Some of the stuff reminded me of a band called Jeremiah Freed that put out an album in 2002 and have never been heard from again (at least, not by me). I don’t think it was them though. It’s probably the only reason to keep watching the movie, provided you like that kind of stuff. Otherwise, it’s not good enough to recommend and not bad enough to laugh at, so it’s just sort of worthless to all but Steve Railsback completists.
The only extra feature is a trivia game. You’re either right or wrong, they don’t tell you what the answer is if you’re wrong, you get nothing for getting them all right. You can also watch the film’s opening scene without the credits, after the movie ends (another bonus – because of this, the movie is actually five minutes shorter than the time counter would have you believe). Great.
What say you?