2001 - 99m.
I cannot get the theme song to this flick out of my head. A Japanese pop tune sets the tone for a look at reality television gone to the extreme as a bevy of cheerleaders called Slasherettes bop around onscreen. They are there to introduce us to a world where contestants are placed in a playing field populated with serial killers who are out to chop them up. Although the concept does bring to mind The Running Man, the fact that our world is currently obsessed with reality shows makes this movie timely and also makes us think about what we are promoting and how far people's car crash rubbernecking can go. The social commentary is there but writer/director Maurice Devereaux doesn't make it too serious. The result is a ride that incorporates both horror and reality show cliches in a funny, gory manner with animated killers and a stock cast of characters trying to survive to win the multi-million dollar jackpot.
No one is safe in the Slashers universe. Six contestants are introduced by an overly positive female host and then directed to an indoor compound for a chance at winning the big prize. Once inside, they are stalked by three killers: Doctor Ripper (Christopher Higgins), Preacherman, and Chainsaw Charlie (both played by Neil Napier). Each member of the trio of slaughterers is played with a comic edge and the dialogue is filled with one-liners and goofy taunts. This is not to say that they are not threatening as all three of them have a lust for blood and an obvious joy for playing the game. If the contestants can survive the duration of the show, the large pot of prize money is split among the survivors. This, of course, leads to tension between the players as the per player take of the prize obviously increases as competitors are killed off. This makes for an interesting dynamic as they try to decide whether or not to work together to make it through or to adopt an "every man for himself" mentality. To add another twist, the pot increases further if the players can kill one or more of the killers.
The movie moves along quite quickly as we are plunged into the show right away. Devereax's decision to use long, steadicam shots throughout the movie places us in the middle of the action and he sets it up so that there is only one cameraman filming the show. This means that when characters split up, we do not know what the others are up to and are only privy to what the camera, and therefore, the audience is seeing. Similar to a number of current reality shows like "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race", many of the contestants are fans of the show and know some tricks to survive longer such as establishing relationships with other players to be more interesting to the audience and also to remove pieces of clothing to up the sex appeal. The release date of this movie is interesting as Deveraux exposed the sex appeal angle before many of the current shows were so obvious about it. I don't know about you but it seems like each season on "Survivor", the bikinis get smaller and the cute girls and hot guys last longer for the most part.
This whole setup would be doomed without a capable cast. Napier steals the show as Chainsaw Charlie (who will make you look at Alfred E. Neuman in a whole new light). Far from being a sesquipedalian, he starts out annoying and repetitive but becomes much more entertaining as the picture proceeds and my favorite of the villains by far. The contestants consist of a studly soldier (Tony Curtis Blondell), a tough family man (Jerry Sprio), a smarmy pretty boy (Kieran Kellar), a tough girl with a secret (Carolina Pla), an awkward activist (Sarah Joslyn Crowder), and a beautiful aspiring actress (Sofia de Medeiros). The actors all seem a little inexperienced but settle into their roles nicely and I bought into their characters as the movie went on. The only weak link I found was Kellar who grated on me throughout. Overall, this whole movie has a great concept that is executed with confidence and does not hold back despite the budget. If you can get past a few scenes of lacklustre performances and the obvious use of a paintball field for the primary location, you will likely get a kick out of this movie. It is surprising that Deveraux has not achieved more success as he knows what he is is doing but just needs some more resources. (Josh Pasnak, 8/16/10)
Directed By: Maurice Devereaux.
Written By: Maurice Devereaux.
Starring: Neil Napier, Tony Curtis Blondell, Sarah Joslyn Crowder, Sofia de Medeiros.