Tell me about the latest slasher film, and I will listen intently. I feel a special delight tingle through my body whilst characters are systematically slaughtered before my eyes. The challenge with these films, though, is figuring out ways to keep them from feeling so systematic or, if they are to remain as such, killing off characters in unique, stomach-churning ways. Well, dear reader, if you’ve got a taste for slashers, I can promise that Slaughter Night is below a bar that’s long since been set.
In order to detect gas leaks, it’s rumored that mining companies used to send in convicted killers with lit matches. Forcing them to do so would lead most to an obvious death, but not so with a killer named Andries Martiens. It’s said that his spirit is still up and at ‘em, restless and always on the prowl for victims. When her father dies abruptly, Kristel Lodema (Victoria Koblenko) travels to the area that he was studying, not terribly far from Martiens’ old stomping grounds. But when she brings along a group of friends looking for a good time, Kristel has no idea that she’s about to awaken Martiens once more and reinvigorate his love for late-night murder.
On the scale of satisfaction, Slaughter Night only hits the bell a few times. Some will have fun, and for a few bits, I can get behind this. The chase scenes are enjoyable, and those points in which the characters fight back can be either tense or hilarious (often both at once). But I was led to believe the film had boatloads of gore, and while it has more than the average mainstream horror flick, there’s not a constant stream of red gushing before us. Wounds flow as they should, but there’s nothing anyone reminisce with their fellow bloodhounds about (save that for Tokyo Gore Police).
The film’s worst aspect is how the killer gets away with his rampage. Both alleged immortality and possession have been addressed often in horror (most notable in Friday the 13th), and much better at that. Slaughter Night allows its maniac to simply move from body to body, a la Fallen, which will bring out the skeptic in the most wishful of thinkers. The flick leaves you feeling cheated and wondering who’s possessed in the worst of ways (P.S. it’s usually the guy who’s not talking and has a pickaxe). Funny how these kids never seem to get the message until some massive bodily damage has been dealt.
Don’t bother paying attention for what’s shoddily passed off as a story, much less the cardboard characters. Neither is worth your time or effort. The plot will be addressed at the beginning, then cast into the ditch until the characters need to know about it. Viewers are also on a need-to-know basis, and quite frankly, it’s not a film we need to know terribly much about to get the general idea across. Slaughter Night never really learns its place but persists with information we don’t give two damns about anyway.
Ignoring the dislikable stuff, which there’s more than enough of, Slaughter Night can be an alright trip into cheap-ass slasher land. There’s nothing here to blow your mind or stimulate the senses, but if Fear of Clowns is your only other option, it’s worth a rent.
Read A.J. Hakari’s Slaughter Night review here.