June 9, 2008

Slaughter Night (aka SL8N8) (2006)

Over the years there have been some truly cracking horror flicks come out of Europe, some have given us a few good laughs, some were gory, some scary and on more than one occasion some have been truly bizarre. Not until watching Slaughter Night though have any of them been so damned predictably unoriginal. This flick may have been painted up to look great, and it does, but strewth it is a riddled mass of cliches and by the numbers plot. That's not to say that it didn't have it moments, unfortunately though the good was outweighed by the bad.

In Slaughter Night we follow Kristel and her friends as they visit an old mine that her father was based at while he was writing a book about a child murderer from the 1800's. We get a short intro to the killer in a quite effective opening scene, what we don't know until later on was the killer's fate. It seems that apparently convicted murderers were put to use in mines detecting gas leaks, and blowing themselves to pieces if they were succesful in finding one. Or, if they survive they were set free. Dodgy odds, but not so bad if you survive I suppose.

Anyhoo, Kristel and her chums decide to take a tour of the mine and its tunnels, remembering to pack the neccessary Tarots cards and Ouija board that is required for this sort of thing. One thing leads to another, the friends get trapped in the mine, spirits are let loose, demonic possesion ensues and bodies turn up in all manner of gory glory. Demons meets My Bloody Valentine anyone? Maybe, although both those movies are far better than this.

On the plus side this movie does look very good, there is some nice camerawork (except when the director feels the need to use Shake-O-Vision during the action scenes; ie quite frequently), it is fairly atmospheric in places, the cast on the whole are quite decent and there is plenty of quality blood and gore.

However, these plus points do not make up for the lazy script and convenient way in which things happen; anyone would think using a Ouija board was like making a phone-call it is that easy. Nothing surprised me in Slaughter Night whatsoever, in fact it came across to me as another generic glossy modern day US slasher, albeit in Dutch. Also, what's with the title? Slaughter Night is just fine, we don't need numbers thrown in. Se7en did it just fine, let's leave it alone ok. Granted there are points in the movie that could be classed as relating to the use of letters and numbers together in that manner, but to me it just weakens the movie. As although it does seem that I am ripping it a new ass, it was fun to watch for the most part. I like dumb just as much as I like a smart movie, and this was dumb.

Slaughter Night breaks no new ground and is thoroughly unoriginal and highly predictable. If you can live with this though you may have some fun with it as it is very well made and nice to look at; but then again that makes it sound like it came off an assembly line...

Rating 2 Stars (out of 4)

Review by Jude Felton

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