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Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Slaughter (2006)

This low-budget tale of demons, bloodshed and a strange, haunted house was made with big ideas and little cash, resulting in something that very nearly works extremely well. Opening with a lengthy title sequence involving copious amounts of nudity, a demonic invocation and buckets of blood, you think you know largely what you're in for.

Unfortuntely, the film that follows that memorably cheap and nasty opening is pretty run-of-the-mill until the demented final act. From the moment it fades up, the limitations of the budget are very apparent. Clearly shot on digital video and featuring a cast of b-movie stereotypes (the jock, the geek, the stoner, the pretty girls, the villainous businessman, etc), The Slaughter is a slice of bloody, nudity-packed nastiness that is worth the bargain price you can get it for.

Yes, it's rather by-the-numbers, but as far as ultra-low budget DV Camera movies go, it's pretty much a work of genius. The story is simple. A spooky house sits on ceremonial ground. The aforementioned group of stereotypes are hired to clean up the house. Demons pop up (and the lead lady demon spends the entire film naked apart from her demonic makeup, like a grimy version of the X-Men's Mystique). Gore, screaming and running ensues.

Pretty much all of the attention has gone into the gore scenes and effects sequences, judging from the wobbly camera work and lousy dialogue recording on show in the regular scenes. You can pretty much skip past the pre-mayhem scenes and not miss much before the good stuff kicks in, which is a shame.

The effects range from impressive all the way down to atrocious, but that's part of the fun with stuff like this! Mixing practical effects, CGI and some awesome Evil Dead style stop-motion, The Slaughter throws every trick in the book at the screen.

Jessica Custodio (billed as Jessica Ellis) is the high point off the cast as the lead character of Dana, and indeed the best thing about the film as a whole. She comes across as the one amongst them with the most promise of a career. The rest aren't without merit, but she's the star of the show. Once the red stuff starts flying and demons start going 'WOOOOAAARGH!', The Slaughter is brilliant fun. However, the non-setpiece sections of the film let it down, big time. Definitely worth a look though, folks!

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