The Slayer

The Slayer ★★

A film that looks as if it should be positioned alongside all of the other early 80s slasher films, but really doesn't quite belong alongside them. Rather than going for cheap thrills at every opportunity, it attempts to be carefully paced narrative, choosing a steady build and release of tension. Which, despite rarely being effective, is a welcome change within the slasher sub-genre.

It's not really doing anything that different, in terms of narrative at least, to every other slasher of this era. But it pushes towards a direction that few slasher films really did, the line between the real and the imagined. Obviously thats a staple of the horror genre, but perhaps not so much the slasher film. Here some kind of unconscious trauma seems to be working its way through Kay's dreams and into the world of the living. Why it is doing this, or how, or what it means... isn't ever really clarified. It's all left as open and ambiguous as can be, unfortunately to the point that it begins to feel a little blunt.

Theres a limited number of characters to begin with, so the film was never going to be able to operate with a extravagant death scene every ten minutes, so it quickly begins to feel unnecessarily stretched out. Scene after scene of characters not believing that the threat is real do nothing to encourage our engagement and really only make us feel disconnected to both the situation and the characters present. That disconnection made even pronounced through the muted performance of the lead actress, which really doesn't gel well with the rest of the film. When the kill scenes do arrive they're by and large pretty well done, slimy special effects that don't feel half as plastic as the acting does. But these moments are too few and far between to keep any real interest.

There is an interesting premise there but a lacklustre execution. Long passages of nothing much and fleeting moments of interesting enough, unfortunately makes for a disappointing and forgettable film.

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