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Monday, August 6, 2018

Slaughter Drive (2017)

I went to a new convention a couple of Saturday’s ago and picked up a bunch of independent movies. The show was called Grossfest and was run by my friend Tim Gross. I figured that it might be fun to review all of those independent movies this week. When I used to run the old Gutmunchers site I spent a lot of time reviewing indy flicks and thought it was about time to do that here at the Horror Dude Blog. Be warned that there are spoilers below so if you don’t like that sort of thing skip to the last paragraph for my recap and recommendation.

This one kicks off with a girl chatting on the phone with her boyfriend. She is going to finish her run and grab some take out. While she does that we see her being stalked by someone. She gets back home and after some creepy stuff something bad happens to her offscreen. Then the boyfriend arrives, and we see him get his throat cut. This happens after he finds his girlfriend disemboweled! Okay movie you have my attention.

Then we are introduced to Doug. He is a failed filmmaker that has arrived back in town with his proverbial tail between his legs. We get introduced to his friends and his ex-wife. Not long after arriving home he accidentally records something in a park that he shouldn’t have. It seems that the killer from earlier is on a rampage and that Doug has managed to capture one of the murders on camera. This means that he and his friends are now targets of the killer. Let the hilarity ensue!

There are some things that I really like about Slaughter Drive and others that I don’t. Let’s start with the good. It was a bit confusing until I realized that the movie was supposed to be played for laughs. Once that became apparent I started to get into the jokes. The bit with Doug and his ex-wife was pretty good. Not all the jokes land but enough do to make it a fun ride. Additionally, I thought that the three main characters Todd, Chris, and Doug were great together. The actors are decent and have chemistry. The killers being a couple was an interesting touch and they too have some chemistry onscreen. I was impressed with the dialogue and skill with which the cast delivers it.

The kills are well put together and for a low budget movie I found the gore quite satisfying. There are a couple throat slashes, some intestines lying about, both an axe and hammer to face, and a power drill to the eye! But my favorite is how the trio take care of the killer. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but they were very ambitious and nailed the effect. Special effects work is where a lot of low budget movies go horribly wrong and I was glad to see that Slaughter Drive avoided that pitfall.

So now to the bad. This movie is entirely too long and needed some editing. There is padding here that I just don’t understand. We get to see Doug mope around when they have already established his mood and general doormat mentality with the hilarious sequence with his ex! But still they slow things down with images of him riding a skateboard, drinking, hanging at the pool, and then repeat it. There is also a party scene inserted complete with idle chit chat that means nothing to the movie. This hurts the pacing and honestly that shit needed to go as all it does is slow things down. You started off with a bang and needed to get back to the killers asap! Even the ending has a weird bit where the killer escapes and taunts Doug over what is supposed to be weeks I think. Why not cut all that and have the big showdown on the same night that they stop him rather than have him escape from jail?

Since I’m on the subject of the killers I was really bummed that they did nothing with the female killer. She is introduced barely appears does no onscreen killing and is then killed off only to return and be quickly killed again. The few times we see the dynamic between the homicidal couple it is really good. It so disappointing that we didn’t get more of that. Not sure if it was a budget thing or availability thing but I was disappointed.

Do I recommend Slaughter Drive? I found a lot that I liked. There is talent both behind and in front of the camera. I realized that what was bugging me most about the movie is that the parts I was enjoying kept getting buried in the stuff that I didn’t. This isn’t a bad movie, just one that has issues. Issues can be fixed so I want to encourage these filmmakers to keep making movies. So yeah, I recommend Slaughter Drive. If for no other reason than the hope that I’ll see more from this group. They did a hell of a job with the limited resources available to them.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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