Chemical Burn Entertainment, Mycho Entertainment Group
September 23rd, 2014
Release length: 1:31:00
The film starts off by introducing a naked woman named Red (Eleanor James, Unrated: The Movie). She is trapped in a prison cell (or mental asylum cell as some sources say it is) with no memory as to who she is, let alone why she is there. In the locker towards the back she finds a red dress, and upon being let out of the cell begins to wander the building. There are arrows leading her around to different things such as a refrigerator full of beer and an ice pick the text tells her to “pick up”. Eventually she learns she is not the only person trapped here, happening upon a nerdy looking man named Nathan Robbins (Adam Williams) who also has no idea why he is here. But, something is taunting him on the other side of the bars to his cell.
No one can leave their cell unless they are released by an unknown force. Why is never really explained, though the how seems to do with the control room and the cells being unlocked based on a set timer of some kind. But upon learning this, Nathan and Red begin to happen across the other captives, including an unknown individual named Charlie Corben (Wellington Grosvenor) who seems to have a good idea of what is going on, as well as a John Wayne Gacy meets Pennywie from Stephen King’s story/film It clown that is not happy to be there. Like the rest of the cast, he has a flashback scene that establishes his past as someone who drove around in an ice cream truck and abducted kids, though it is never explained what he did with them.
Sadly, this is one of only two that better develop the characters, and of course it’s for the one with the least screen time. Aside Red herself, everyone else barely gets any additional background, and they really need it in some cases. Charlie Corbin, the man in the cell next to Cleaver, is revealed to be a killer who uses a drill in his flashback, and then there’s Thorn (Alex Grimshaw), who is just shown dismantling people with his two large swords. Why any of this is happening isn’t explained in either one, but it does thrust the film into more of a video game/supernatural story arc given Corbin’s portrayal reminiscent of Wesker from the Resident Evil series, and Thorn being that of Rick Taylor from the Splatterhouse series in more ways than one.
In the end, the reason everyone is locked away in the prison is never disclosed, but Red’s importance to the whole situation is revealed through two lengthy flashbacks towards the end as she discovers a room set up that plays various words on security monitors that jolt her memory back. But there is one last loose end that gets strung up, which is how The Demon (Kevin Balshen), who is voiced by singer Blaze Bayley (former Iron Maiden), is linked to her and another one of the characters in the prison. Much like Thorn’s super human power, The Demon roams the halls of the building, eventually taking over someone’s body in order to take down Red.
It’s at that point in the film the direction gets a little confusing. Much of the visuals in Slasher House are focused on specific colors thanks largely to post-production filters. Almost all of the film is saturated in an annoying as hell piss yellow, soaking up every color but Red’s hair and dress, as well as certain blue hues that appear on the blackest of objects that happen to reflect any light source. The aforementioned security monitor room breaks this theme though, allowing the natural colors and skin tones to come through. The same goes for flashbacks, though these are often sleek in a gritty noir sense, or can have a dull greyish blue filter instead of the aforementioned yellow depending on who it is and where the scene is set.
But with those colors, you could easily argue this is meant to be an introspective film on Red herself. As if all of this is more in her mind, fighting her inner demons, as well as The Demon himself. This would work if it weren’t for the many anime-style scenes, including the battle towards the end with the Mole Man during a flashback, as well as the many set ups, camera angles, and story progression similar to the game Killer Is Dead and other like cartoons you might find on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. Whatever the reason for all of this, it does end up something you can look past, as long as you approach it with the state of mind of watching a live action version of a video game, really.
And finally there’s the acting, which itself isn’t too bad overall. This isn’t meant to be a tear jerker that requires top of the line acting, though a stronger performance from some people would have been nice to see. The only person who comes off forcing his role is Wellington Grosvenor due to his monotone line delivery that never escapes the “I’m way too cool” approach that is just too cheesy. There’s also Adam Williams’ bumbling nerdy style that feels a bit over-the-top for the character, as well as a bit painful to watch at first. Thankfully, as the film progresses, he seems to better fall into the Nathan Robbins character, making you start to actually root for him and even hope there’s a pay off to the growing romantic tension between him and Red.
Slasher House isn’t one of the more memorable film experiences you are going to have, but for a moderately low budget Action/Horror flick, it’s a lot of fun once you get over the Spumco, Inc. color spectrum. If the acting were a little better and the natural flesh tones expressed more than the over-saturated reds and yellows, this would be a far more pleasant experience overall. It’s unfortunate that the question of why everyone is there and who put them there are never answered. But, given the bonus clip during the credit sequence, perhaps those inquiries will be answered in the follow-up film Legacy of Thorn, which was released in theatres earlier this year. If you happen to get the chance to check out Slasher House, you won’t regret the ninety minutes you spend with it.
|Overall Score: 6.5/10
via Alchemy Werks LLC.