Sometimes you just gotta know when to cut your losses.
Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath, Jurassic World), returns to her hometown of Waterbury, 28 years after her parent’s brutal murder. And as luck would have it, a copycat begins wreaking havoc on the town, even before Sarah finishes unpacking. With the help of Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow, RoboCop), the man who killed her mother and father, Sarah begins uncovering the dark secrets of a town, now being terrorized by a killer seeking divine retribution.
Slasher is a Canadian horror anthology, that follows the latest trend of shows where each season is a self-contained miniseries. This is Slasher’s inaugural run, so we’ll have to wait and see if there’s more to come.
It opens on Halloween, 1988, when Sarah’s father and pregnant mother are brutally murdered by a killer called “The Executioner.”
Fast forward 28 years, and Sarah is not just moving back to town, but into the very house where her parents were killed when she was just a baby —yeah I know, seems like a dumb idea to me too. And as soon as she’s back, “The Executioner” strikes again. But how can that be when the original murderer is still in prison? Hmm…this gets curiouser and curiouser.
Waterbury is a beautiful little town full of deplorable people. Some are being specifically targeted by The New and improved Executioner, who is using the Seven Deadly Sins as his criteria for their death. Creator Aaron Martin manages to draw you in despite the deplorable nature of the majority of Waterbury residents, and that my friends is a difficult task indeed.
Martin’s script is very clever, and for most of the eight episodes, he avoids the usual horror movie tropes. However, the plot does retreat into those typical horror story safe places near the end. However, I was still quite satisfied when the credits started rolling.
Irish actress Katie McGrath holds her own as Sarah Bennett, a woman looking to make sense of her parent’s brutal murders. She’s a hot head, often jumping head first into danger, even when those close to her try and stop her. Some of her actions might make you want to scream at the TV, but what would a horror show be without someone making a bone headed decision or two.
Sarah’s husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil), is a journalist with the local paper, who seems to be using his wife’s past misfortunes, to advance his career. McLaren does a great job of walking the line between loving husband, and shady reporter. So much so, that we are never quite sure about his trustworthiness.
Some other stand out performances include Patrick Garrow as Tom Winston, the first Executioner; Steve Byers (Immortals), as Cam Henry, Sarah’s childhood friend and Waterbury police officer; Dean McDermott (Open Range), these days best known as Tori Spelling’s husband. But in Slasher he is quite good as the crotchety Chief of Police, Iain Vaughn. Then there’s Christopher Jacot (Eureka) as Robin Turner, Sarah’s good friend, and one of the few likeable people in town.
I do love the current trend of shows goin’ all anthology on us, and Slasher is one that I hope gets another shot at it. With the use of practical special effects, and a thoroughly frightening antagonist in The Executioner, Oh Canada, you have one helluva series here. And I for one am looking forward to season 2 (fingers crossed).
Slasher (Blu-ray) is a nice 1.78:1/1080p transfer. It does a great job of using the horror movie shadows as an effective scare technique, while still retaining visual clarity. The DTS HD Master Audio could be too much at times, thanks to an overly intrusive soundtrack, but the dialogue doesn’t suffer because of it. Extras include a behind the scenes featurette.
Kudos to Slasher for being more than just your typical horror story. There are lots of surprising twists and turns that take you in a whole different direction than expected. So get a giant bowl of poutine, and strap yourself in my friend, because Slasher is one wild ride.
2016, Shout! Factory, 400 minutes, NR (2016)
VIDEO: 1.78:1(1080p) AUDIO: DTS-HD MA 5.1 (English) Dolby Digital 5.1 (English) SUBTITLES: English SDH
EXTRAS: Featurettes ACCOMPLICES: IMDB