t may be a South African product masquerading as a generic
cheapo B-movie Teen Slasher, but "Slash" is not your typical -- Oh
wait, nevermind. "Slash" is your typical Teen Slasher, and the fact
that it's a South African production really doesn't matter to the story at hand.
Having said that, let's get to our slasher-a-thon, currently in progress.
"Slash" stars James O'Shea as brooding rocker
Mac, who gets a message that his aunt has died and he must come back home for
the funeral. Unbeknownst to Mac's bandmates, their lead singer is actually a
farm boy who abandoned the family farm when he was young, after a fire killed
his grandfather, a man of ill repute. We also learn that the McDonald farm
("McDonald" farm, get it?) was once the sight of a masked killer who
went around dressed as a scarecrow and gutting people with a scythe in order to
use their blood to irrigate the fields.
Back at the farm, Mac reunites with his spooky father
Jeremiah (Steve Railsback) and the farm's lone helper, Billy Bob (Nick Boraine).
After the burial, the city folks head back home, but their van is damaged on the
road and they are forced back to the farm. No sooner does the Obnoxious Black
Guy wear out his welcome does he get chopped up by a guy wearing a scarecrow
uniform, a steel mask, and swinging a scythe. Uh oh. Old MacDonald is back --
Needless to say, "Slash" isn't Shakespeare. One
can only expect a few things -- gratuitous T&A and large helpings of
bloodletting. How does "Slash" stack up? For the most part there are a
lot of insinuated sex appeal, but nothing to show for it. And I do mean nothing
to show for it. The same holds true with the bloodletting. A lot of
after-the-fact cadavers and killings shot from a wide angle seem to be the m.o.
here. There is actually only one in-your-face kill, and that's early in the film
and has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Which, one suspect, is
probably because the filmmakers figured that they skimp on the blood and guts
(or at least, the ballsy blood and guts) and decided to add those early
The movie takes great liberties by throwing a couple of
false red herrings at us. To say that they don't make sense is an
understatement. The film mostly plays out like a bad "Afterschool
Special", with brooding Mac brooding the rest of the film and his
girlfriend Suzie (Zuleikha Robinson) on an unattractive quest to get some tail.
We also get two supposed stoners who apparently have seen way too many bad
movies about stoners, and are just copying what they've seen. The guys in "Half
Baked" did a better job pretending to be stoners than the two yahoos
At 90 minutes, "Slash" spends most of its first
hour entertaining the notion that it has interesting characters. It's wrong. Oh,
so, so wrong. The Odious Black Guy is annoying; the lead is boring; the female
lead is bitchy; and the rest of the crew are -- Who knows. I don't even remember
their names. To make things worst, most of them survive their ordeal at Old
McDonald's farm. And yes, the movie really does spend a lot of time making jokes
about the farm. One or two jokes would seem enough, but not in this case. It
just keeps coming and coming and coming. There's even an in-movie song about Old
McDonald's farm. Can you hear me groaning yet?
One good thing I can say about "Slash" is that
writers Francis and Silber probably had a ball writing the script. There are
tons of bad puns and wordplay sprinkled throughout the movie. Not bad for a
couple of hack writers working on a hack movie. Then again, a funny line here
and there certainly doesn't make up for an uninteresting premise, stale
locations, and unlikable characters. The fact that it took so long just to kill
these guys off makes it just that much worst.
The other good thing about "Slash" is Nick
Boraine, who makes a really effective hillbilly. The script takes liberties with
country residents, giving its "hip city rockers" a lot of leeway to
call the country bumpkins names and throw insults like the ignorant bastards
they think their targets are. In response, the Billy Bob character (what an
original name!) is supposed to prove that all hicks aren't, well, hicks. Maybe
not making them so stereotypical, or giving the other characters such wide
license to insult them, would have been the better way to go.
"Slash" is just below average. It's really too
bad B-movie filmmakers have started to veer away from what makes these Teen
Slasher films worthwhile in the first place.
Where is the T&A? Where is the gratuitous bloodletting?
Where are the balls that filmmakers in this genre used to have? These new
crop of filmmakers have no guts at all. And as a result all their movies are
recycled junk. It's bad enough they're all derivative of each other, but now
they're derivative and dull? Good grief. Talk about completely ignoring
the expectations of your only audience!