Slashers never fully go out of style, but they sure do go through dry spells. If you’re hunting for something you haven’t seen yet…does these three satisfy?
YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER (2018)
The director of Husk, Animal, and contributor to Chilling Visions: 5 States of Fear brings us a slasher that tries desperately to approach the tired, meta slasher genre from a different angle, but the references are so cliché at this point that it’s time for filmmakers to start making meta movies about meta movies. Hell, that could have been the point of this one. There’s just no way to tell anymore.
Poor Fran Kranz of The Cabin in the Woods is once again stuck in a horror template, running from a killer at his summer camp this time (complete with the Jason kill-kill-kill sound). So he calls his friend Alyson Hannigan, who works at a video store, for tips on how to survive.
Willow tries using her comic experience from Buffy, How I Met Your Mother, and American Pie to make the material feel fresh, but it’s just not. The only difference here is that a character on the phone is delivering the same old slasher trope references instead of the actual characters in the slasher story.
To guide him through his situation, Willow has Kranz describe everything that led up to the moment he has reached in his slasher plot, which is where the problems begin. The movie is presented out of order, with each new time shift giving an onscreen count of how many counselors are dead. So it can go from seven to five to zero to six, which creates a nonsequential mess that leaves us simply watching for the kill scenes.
The kill sequences are the best part. If the film had just presented itself chronologically, it would at least be a serviceable formulaic slasher. Even the concept of how the killer comes to be and relates to Kranz’s character is kind of fun, it just gets overshadowed by all the jumping around.
The thing I was feeling most about this movie is the theme song by Harlo.
This silly slasher was okay, but it really needed a more intense ending. Instead the climax is, well, anti-climactic.
A college professor takes a bunch of students into the mountains looking for evidence of Jesse James and his gang.
After too much talk and a couple of shower scenes (seriously, there are two shower scenes), the professor goes missing and the students go looking for him.
They also begin getting terrorized by a supernatural woman who appears in a black cloud of plasma before doing shit like throwing victims off a cliff or dropping a rock on them.
As basic as it is, there are a few scenes that have a lot of creepy potential—the ghost levitating over a sleeping guy, a shifting, contorting, floating body incident, and an attack in the water. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of nothing to get through between those scenes. But mad respect to the stylist for the woman police officer.
SILK SCREAM (2017)
The early 80s video rental opening kill grabbed me immediately, right down to the freeze frame and echoing scream as a synth score kicks in.
That and just a few other kills absolutely nail that vibe. What we are left with is a bunch of people at a screen printing T-shirt shop trying to act all Clerks quirky drab, but the writing simply can’t pull it off. For instance, you know the creative forces are struggling when they resort to fart humor.
It’s always disappointing when an indie film demonstrates a great sense of classic horror moments but not much in the way of narrative. Two guys at the shop try to investigate the murders, and so do two detectives, but none of it is compelling. And all the character banter at the shop just fills time between kills.
They are the highlight here, and they get more and more bloody and graphic with old school sexual situations as the film progresses, plus they use only practical effects.