Director: Neal Sundstrom
Nick Boraine/Billy Bob
A rock band heads for a farm to visit their front manâ€™s (O'Shea) family. When their bus breaks down, they wind up stuck on â€śOld McDonaldâ€ť and things go from bad to worse. You see, some loony-dude dressed up like a scarecrow starts playing his own brand of rock and roll on the kids with some sharp instruments. Raise your fist and yell!
This South African slasher wannabee couldâ€™ve been something above the norm. It had a decent initial premise, spooky atmosphere, one groovy, sick idea (a blood harvest???) and a creepy-ass villain (think The Creeper, but with a metal mask and scarecrow drags). But alas, the script was never up to par with its intentions and worse of all, never grew a pair of bulldog balls to bring its horror home with gusto.
Slash's worst enemy was definitely its poor writing. It all began with the despicable teen characters. You know how it goes: the WAY ANNOYING black dawg thinks that every single freaking thing has to do with him being black. Get over it bra and get your head out of your ass! He, of course, is also the only one in the group who carries a gun with him. Blang-Blang again...ITâ€™S PLAYED OUT! Then, we get the token slut who must have failed regular school, as well as â€śWhore Schoolâ€ť because she kept her shirt on and had nothing intelligent to say. And the requisite girlfriend? She was constantly pissed off and a ball-breaker at that. WOW! Somebody needed to keep his pet in check. As for the token stoners, they were petulant children at best and carving them up with a seesaw came to mind more than once. Who gets that silly when they get messed up? That must have been some insane bud!
The script also went about its â€śmeatâ€ť the wrong way, clumsily injecting high tension between the teen leads that was never justified and never rang true. Why was everybody always so upset at each other again? CHILL OUT! But the biggest character development sin in this â€śmasterpieceâ€ť was having the lead Mac (O'Shea) vacuously brood for the duration of the film. So much couldâ€™ve been done with him. The somber and gripping possibilities, taking into account the plot line, were endless! But the flick wasnâ€™t smart or brave enough to capitalize on any of them. So yeah, Mac looks bummed out and walks around shirtless a lot. Thatâ€™s pretty much all he doesâ€¦and heâ€™s the principal character! We be screwed!
It didnâ€™t get better from a narrative standpoint either. The film played like a dark drama for an hour in, but never came close to capitalizing on its dramatic elements for a second. What was the point? Instead, it resorted to a half-baked whodunit to pad things up. At the same time, it tried to be a slasher, but again...no dice in that respect. The kill scenes were lifeless and sported zero suspense whatsoever. I personally have never seen such dull stalk sequences. Now maybe if the pedestrian hunt-and-maim bits had red wet payoffs to them, they wouldâ€™ve been somewhat worthwhile, but AGAIN, the film came up shorter than a midget with a one inch dick! Talk about goreless! And what was up with having so many survivors at the end of it all! What the fuck is going on here? Is this a slasher flick or an episode of "7th Heaven" gone bad?
On the erect side of things, able actor Steve Railsback owned the scenery as Jeremiah and was a treat to watch throughout. The man was simply captivating. Now thatâ€™s acting! His sidekick Billy Bob (played brilliantly by Bill Boraine) was also a delight, responsible for some of the filmâ€™s more clever moments. Taking into account its many shortcomings, I surprisingly canâ€™t say that I was ever fully bored while viewing this tightly wound beeyatch. The film magically kept a slight hold on me throughout. Was it the slick, polished look of the piece, the eerie settings (canâ€™t go wrong with a cornfield and scarecrows) or the promises of something great to come that wound up not coming true? Maybe. Probably. Yes, it was.
On the whole, "Slash" failed in slashing into my heart. It had all the tools to build a solid slash-shack, but instead just sat there, taking us along for the ride with no thrills, no enthusiasm and worst of all...no guts. It's watchable fare no doubt, with Railsback, the initial premise, the even pace and the setting coming through, but it's nothing over which to bust a nut. "Slash" should be called Paper-Cut. Thatâ€™s about as deep as it goesâ€¦
We get a stabbing, light blood and lots of off-screen kills. Dryer than a dead hooker at the Laundromat. BAH!
James O'Shea (Mac) didnâ€™t have much to do, but look depressed and look fit shirtless. When acting opposite Railsback, he was blown out of the water every damn time. Zuleikha Robinson (Suzie) played it one-note: pissed off. Blah. Craig Kirkwood (Keith) played the other note: LOUD. Freaking annoying! Steve Railsback (Jeremiah) was just awesome and my anchor to the film. He kept me watching. Nick Boraine (Billy Bob) brought in some chills and much needed comic relief, he had some great moments here.
T & A
The ladies will be happy to know that shirtless buff men are in the midst. All we get is tight tops and cleavage. Cop out!
Sundstrom makes it look good via slow motion, quick cuts and fly underhand shots of the house with the abundant clouds looming in the background. Nice cinematography going on here. Too bad the suspense, the characters and the content were nil.
We get some decent rock tunes from the likes of Zen Arcade. I also dug the drum heavy score during the "blah" stalk scenes, it kept me awake.
Letâ€™s see what we got here: a slasher flick without blood, tits, chills, balls or suspense. Mmmmm, thatâ€™s like having a girlfriend you canâ€™t kiss, grab, spank or screw. Now I was never 100% put off by "Slash", I boogied to its ideas, setting, stylish directing and its much needed serving of Railsback. But if itâ€™s a healthy dish of slaughter that youâ€™re looking for, youâ€™ll have better luck finding it at your local kindergarten. This one just plays it too damn safe to leave any kind of impression. See it if youâ€™re REALLY at a loss at the video store or if the victim who you've been torturing in your attic for days abruptly expires...
Creative differences emerged between the producers and the filmâ€™s original director, Ian Gabriel. The producer, Paul Raleigh, phoned up SundstrĂ¶m in the first week of shooting and asked if he would take over: "starting tomorrow morning?â€ť
The film was shot on 35mm Arri BL.