What I'm Watching: Slasher
It's been forever since I've talked tv, and I was super excited for Chiller's first original series, Slasher, so let's take a look at that!
Now, I haven't talked about the attempt at a Scream tv series, but I mostly enjoyed that, although it definitely had an overly polished, stylish look to it, thanks to being well SCREAM and on MTV. They excel at shiny and stylish. I might get to reviewing the first season at some point, but it's worth at least mentioning my feelings on it because it does reflect slightly upon Slasher.
Both series were on television at roughly the same time, or close enough that people would go, "Well, why watch this, when there's Scream right there??" and that's fair enough. A slasher themed plot can wear thin pretty quickly on just one show, let alone two.
I'd heard about Slasher awhile back, populated with actors I quite enjoy, and more importantly, an original idea. Derivative maybe, since it's slashers and horror, but it wasn't a tv adaptation of a movie or book, which are EVERYWHERE now. So I was excited by the idea, at least.
So of course, I missed the first few episodes, because where I check for new programs never lists Chiller. But I digress. I caught them on a marathon Chiller ran, and got the rest later. It took me awhile to finally sit down and watch them, but watch them I have done.
And let me just tell you, I REALLY REALLY enjoyed Slasher.
Now, that's not to say this is the next big thing on tv, the next greatest thing every written. it's not. But it was thoroughly entertaining, it was well made enough, and while you can tell they were struggling with budget issues at times, and it is indeed very Canadian in production, it managed to still come out very well done. And we all know I don't care how cheap something looks, or how flawed it may be, if I have *fun*.
The story centers around Sarah Bennett, whose parents were brutally murdered on Halloween night in 1988, before she was born. (The killer then did a machete c-section to save the child before anyone goes, "...Wait what?")
She's returning home after many years away, moving into the home her parents were killed in, bringing her husband with her, and stumbling head first into the secrets of the town, her parents murders, and a new series of murders by someone in the same costume as the man who killed them.
It's actually an intriguing mystery, even though I guessed the killer waaay before I probably should have. I rarely hold that against a show though. If they're playing fair and telling a proper mystery, some people SHOULD figure it out, as I always say. But even knowing the who, there's still the question of whys, and how all these stories and murders all weave in and out of each other unfolded very well over the course of the eight episodes.
Yeeah, it's only eight episodes. And part of me hates this trend of really short seasons overtaking American television these days, but at the same time, it makes for a very lean show with very little fluff to it, so I can't complain on getting a solid story.
Now, like I said, this show doesn't reinvent the wheel. The town full of secrets, the killer with secret ties to the heroine, the dark secrets from the past coming back to haunt the present...this is all familiar, well trodden ground, but it was still very enjoyable to watch, and part of that is the cast, and part of that is just good writing.
Katie McGrath as Sarah is always a treat, and while she does a very good American accent, I nearly lost it at one point when she was getting SO VERY ANGRY at someone, and her natural Scottish broke through SO bad. Still, aside from those tiny moments (And the one very big one), she plays vulnerable yet capable of kicking ass very well. Sarah is competent, and very proactive in finding out what's going on.
The characters are all well written, and while the gay couple veers dangerously close to those kinda campy gay guys a bit too much, they skirt that line on the right side just enough.
The other strong point for this show is the violence. I wasn't expecting much from a program on commercial tv, but right in the very first few minutes, when someone was killed in a very brutal, very bloody way, my attention was grabbed, and the show never really lets up, giving you at least one moment similar to it in every episode. It grabbed me RIGHT away, and never let go. It made it clear that this show was not to be underestimated, and I love that.
Also, the show is CLEARLY made by horror fans. I remember at *least* three homages to classic horror movie moments, like Jason bursting up out of the lake, and of COURSE there's a through the mask PoV shot. And while part of you thinks "Oh, we've seen all this before" and that's true, the elements are all smartly used, and they're almost in on the joke with us, and just having FUN. It's a horror show. It's called Slasher, for Corman's sake. Of *course* there's gonna be homages to the greats.
It becomes formulaic at times, because it is using such well worn tropes, but something about this show really worked for me, and I couldn't wait to get to the next episode.
It's almost a shame that this show got overshadowed by Scream, both for just being Scream, for being on a well known, and widely distributed network like MTV, and being far more stylish and flashy. It recently turned up on Netflix, and is being released on DVD/Blu soon, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to fans of horror. But remember; it may not be the most original thing out there, or do too much new, but it does what it does *well* and is just entertaining.
Definitely worth checking out.