This threesome includes a slasher comedy short, a slasher comedy long, and good old backwoods slaughterhouse horror.
REVENGE OF THE SLASHER (2018)
The speed-slasher that opens this short film definitely sets a tone, but that tone quickly shifts into totally campy territory.
The focus is on how both the final girl and the killer pick up the pieces of their lives after their final encounter—she wants to break free of the constraints of the slasher tropes that made her the final girl in the first place, the killer has to deal with the psychological trauma of fucking up and failing to kill her.
It’s a pretty darn clever concept with some funny moments, but it might be a little goofy for some. And despite approaching the meta subgenre from a fresh angle, many of the references made throughout are basically meta tropes two decades after Scream put meta movies on the map. I think the goal now for filmmakers trying to be meta is to find less cliché ways to reference slasher tropes.
THE KILLER IN THE HOUSE (2016)
I absolutely did not expect this little cabin in the woods movie to be as subtly charming as it is. The understated humor does exactly what I was talking about above—it finds some new ways to present meta jokes that in themselves have already become slasher tropes. Plus, the girls in the film really seem to get the tone the film is going for with their delivery.
After an opening kill satisfying enough to keep us watching, we meet a group of girls heading to a cabin in the woods. There is a rather overdone conversation about slashers, but the fact that one of the girls mentions a less obvious one as her fave and takes funny jabs at the flaws of an iconic slasher franchise saves the forced feel.
Killer in the House is definitely guilty of the usual—it runs about 15 minutes longer that it needs to, with much of the dialogue and drama between the girls creating a soap opera of romance scandal. There’s so much girl-on-girl loving going on this could virtually be considered a lesbian horror flick.
But of course a boy shows up to put a stop to all that noise…and to give us gay boys a little something to look at.
Hell, once the masked killer starts taking care of business, even that goes quickly from a whodunit to a “what the frick is going on”?
However, I was sucked in by the unconventional elements and the clever pokes at slasher clichés. Even the reaction to the unexpected twist made me laugh.
THE FARM (2018)
This is one of those movies I went into sort of dreading, simply because there’s never any telling how much torture these human harvesting films are going to subject us to.
The premise is typical. A couple is driving through the country. They get to an area where everyone they meet is fucking weird—stranded driver, locals at a diner, gas station attendant, hotel clerk.
How many movies have to be made before these dumb asses learn that if everyone you meet on a road trip is a weirdo, it’s a given that they’re all related and planning to make you dinner?
The Farm doesn’t even bother with too much character development. We get just enough talk between the couple before they find themselves in cages being brutalized by hillbillies in overalls and animal masks while other caged humans around them are being slaughtered.
There’s some good gore and there are a few fucked up scenes, but beyond the shock value scenes, this film is basically the farm animal version of Planet of the Apes. This is what we put the piggies, cows, sheep, and even baby lambs through, and it makes you realize how detached from humanity you need to be to treat living creatures this way. It’s the very reason I try my best not to use products that require animal parts (which is virtually impossible) and rarely eat meat anymore. Hell, these days I practically live on fruits, veggies, soymilk, (chocolate covered) nuts, and eggs (or as my vegan friend calls them…chicken abortions). Just the other day I corrected my hubby when he almost didn’t grab the cage-free eggs in the grocery store. Then I pointed to the much more depleted stack of cheaper, non-cage-free eggs and sadly said, “Like I’m making any difference when everyone else is just going for those anyway.”
Although this is what haters will probably call a “liberal propaganda film”, if the message goes right over your head (hard to imagine it would once you see the in-your-face still shot at the end), there’s actually some good stuff to enjoy here from a horror perspective. In particular, the long cat and mouse in the final act is one of the most suspenseful and satisfying chases I’ve seen in a horror flick in a while.