Monday, 16 August 2010



Is it me? Am I really the only one fed up with sub-standard slasher movies with miserably bad acting, tiresome characters and shoddy writing? Does no-one else's heart sink at the sight of the flat DV photography? I know there have always been lousy movies, even lousy slasher movies, but this really feels like someone's blagged a location, got their mates together and thrown something together because they can - not because they're any good at it, but because they can. That it's from Australia - a country with as fine a tradition of horror movies as anywhere in the world - doesn't enter into it; this could have come from any country.

Slaughtered takes place almost entirely at a pub, wherein one night the staff and customers are targeted by a maniac with a saw and a plastic mask pitted with broken glass. Why? Might it have something to do with someone who's apparently gone missing? Or the strange new barman who appears to be hiding something? Or someone sexually obsessed with one of the barmaids? Or the creepy old bloke with something horrible in the back of his pickup? Whatever - it boils down to the old Final Girl formula we've seen a thousand times before. I've nothing against hoary old formulae if they're done with wit, panache, style, or even nothing more than basic professionalism and competent craftsmanship. Not everything has to be a dazzlingly original experience, and obviously not everything can be. But they can at least be done reasonably well. In the world of Camp Crystal Lake, for example, there's no difference between Miner, Zito and Steinmann, and a dozen others who've put together perfectly acceptable teenkill pictures from the same template. But that's no reason to assume that blind adherence to the formula is enough. In this instance it just doesn't work.

What, for example, is the killer's motive? We're never actually told what it is, and it's never actually suggested, even though their identity is obvious from quite early on. What's the point of the manager locking all the doors except for one? Doesn't that rather depend on none of the customers actually wanting to leave, rather than just drink themselves into a stupor? In this instance the plot does also depend on one of the staff forgetting to dial 1 for an outside line - why hasn't the maniac cut the phone line like any other psycho slasher? Why, when the maniac is prone on the floor, doesn't the heroine lift up the mask to find out who the hell it is?

The end credits rather give the tone away: thanks to everyone who works or drinks at The Dog" - presumably the place where they shot the film. Thanks to Russ and Sam and Joe and Tim and Frank and Tom and Lucy and Big Bob and Limpy and Lumpy and Mel (or whatever the hundreds of given names were). Thanks to Frightfest's Ian, Alan and Paul - apparently they showed the trailer, for which I was almost certainly there but I don't recall it. Thanks to The Evil Dead and Friday The 13th (you wish). In all honesty the thanks to the atrocious I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer is nearer the mark. This is just shoddy.


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