Slaughter (2009)

Kicking off with a well directed title dragging sequence, you would be forgiven for expecting good things from this After Dark release. Unfortunately this film fails to deliver on almost all of its promise. Apparently based on true events, the story follows a young girl named Faith who, having moved to escape her obsessive ex boyfriend, befriends a slutty farm girl named Lola. All of Lola’s conquests seem to vanish in mysterious circumstances, could it be that her father is hacking them up and feeding them to the pigs?

First things first, this is a competently directed first feature. The whole thing is shot with a keen eye and, although the image sometimes looks rinsed of colour, the cinematography borders on excellent. Slaughter was clearly shot on a tight budget in one of the Eastern Bloc countries but doesn’t suffer for it like others have in the past; the exterior shots look as great as any in recent blockbuster history. However, Slaughter ambles forward like a drunk, occasionally moving in the right direction but taking its sweet time to get there. A couple of butt-clenchingly tense scenes piqued my interest, but it wasn’t really enough to maintain it. Also these scenes seemed oddly out of place in such a run-of-the-mill flick, like the director poured all his efforts into a handful of choice scenes and let the rest just run their course. There wasn’t an awful lot of gore on display, a few smatterings of cheap looking severed arms and a healthy bit of the red stuffs towards the end. Fans of torture porn may be interested in the teeth pulling scene but, chances are, you have seen it done better before.

The acting isn’t shocking, the two leads do a fairly mediocre job hampered by the slipping accents of the two non-American leads including former model Lucy Holt and relative unknown Amy Shiels. Although both actresses are easily outshined by the uber-cute Maxim Knight who should soon be cashing a child star paycheck and getting smashed with the likes of Dakota Fanning and Haley Joel Osment. His cute-little-kid shtick does wear a bit thin, but is eons away from the Kid From Jerry Maguire.

Beyond its interchangeable characters and a fairly lacklustre script, Slaughter’s biggest problem stems from it not really knowing what it wants to be. Is it another Hostel-esque torture porn? Is it a backwoods slasher flick? Is it a mystery thriller in the vein of Se7en? It’s none of these, just another dull thriller with nothing interesting to add to the already overflowing pool.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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