Slasher (dir. Craig David Wallace, 2016) – Sarah Bennett returns to small town Waterbury where her parents were killed, only to find the past re-emerging as a new series of murders begins.
A trope-embracing genre tribute by horror fans, for horror fans. Slasher dishes up a bloody good time, all in the name of fun.
Moving back to the town where your parents were murdered, is a bad idea. Just ask Laurie Strode. But Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) clearly hasn’t seen enough horror movies to stay away. The youngest victim left alive by The Executioner chooses to move into that very crime scene in Waterbury, Canada, with the support of her loving husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren).
There, Sarah reveals her true intent – to visit Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow), the now-imprisoned killer who orphaned her on Halloween 30 years ago. But closure becomes the least of her worries, when a new Executioner begins enacting copycat murders with a biblical twist. Seven deadly sins guarantee a growing body count. And in this small town where secrets breed and resentment boils, everyone is a suspect.
Brutal serial murders meet a whodunnit mystery in the eight-episode series Slasher, its generous red herrings echoing genre classic Scream. In place of teenagers, the victims are significantly aged up. Ergo, teenage promiscuity is pushed out of the way, as is bickering over prom queen titles.
But the show embraces the rest of slasher tropes with unabashed gusto. Letting masked strangers in on Halloween? Check. Challenging known killers on national television? Check. Barging unarmed towards danger? Check, and check. Irrational behaviour makes easy targets out of the lot of stock characters. Most of whom deserve little sympathy in their horrific deaths.
Of cleansing the town one sin at a time, Class Reunion Massacre does the job in a taut 80-minute film. Thankfully, Slasher executes the episodic killings with adequately tight pacing. Dark pasts unfold, and deaths follow. Taking cues from the Old Testament, their summary execution serves up a plate full of elaborate, gruesome slaughter – perfect for splatter film fans.
There is a slight nod to The Silence of the Lambs, as Tom Winston lends his psychopathic insights for a little quid pro quo from the potential final girl. Notably, Patrick Garrow played The Muralist in the Hannibal series, so he may truly know a thing or two. In their enthusiastic tribute, creator Aaron Martin and director Craig David Wallace may also owe Halloween royalties, having lifted scenes out of the John Carpenter masterpiece.
Not that horror fans are complaining. Of late, slashers have been sporadic, save for occasional tributes like The Town that Dreaded Sundown, or The Hills Run Red. Any new faces beyond the street of dream warriors and Camp Crystal Lake come as a welcome return for the much-missed subgenre.
That is even if the true face of this hooded villain turns in a rather predictable resolution. But we are willing to let it slide. After all, Slasher well delivers everything the premise promises and not an inch more – a bloody entertaining fan experience of pure cathartic carnage.