Slasher House (2013)
Written and directed by MJ Dixon
Slasher House opens with a familiar scene. A naked woman who looks a lot like Lady Gaga in a bright red wig awakens in a prison cell with no memory of how she got there. Okay, maybe not that familiar of a scene, but ever since the original Saw became such a huge hit we've seen more and more films open with victims trapped in mysterious surroundings (usually with walls made of drab looking concrete).
And the similarity to the beginning Saw is not the only thing you'll find reminding you of other movies. The theme song that opens the film sounds like a melding of the themes to Halloween and Tubular Bells, The Exorcist theme. But that is where Slasher House takes a sharp turn and this British shocker becomes quite a unique experience.
Brought to us by Mycho Pictures, the premise of the film is this: Felissa, our red-headed main character (who has conveniently lost her memory) discovers that she is not alone in this asylum/prison. In fact, not only are there other people in some of the cells, but they just happen to be homicidal maniacs. We quickly meet 'Cleaver,' a psychotic clown that normally dabbles with the slaying of little children, but finding himself in his new surroundings, he follows the old 'any port in a storm' adage and begins to hunt Felissa. And the action is hot and heavy from there on out.
Slasher House was made on a very low budget, and it certainly does have its share of shortcomings. Much of the acting is stiff and wooden and many of the scenes of violence use cutaways instead of getting us right down and dirty with the gore. However, after seeing a bit of the F/X work, one would think that maybe cutaways were the best way to go as there were some hokey effects. But even with these things stacked against it, Slasher House does have some really redeeming qualities about it and they begin with the concept of the film.
Here we have a victim, completely out of her element, forced to deal with not one psychotic killer, but several. And although some of the baddies are exterminated in a much easier fashion than you'd hope for, it does give this film, which has a running time of under 90 minutes, a chance to showcase the colorful characters created by writer/director MJ Dixon. And not only did Dixon create a load of intriguing baddies for this film, he also did a great job with the look of Slasher House. We are continuously treated to creative camera angles and unique shots that make the movie fun to watch.
Upon viewing Slasher House, if you're anything like me, you'll be sitting there (quite smugly, I might add) knowing that you've already got the "surprise" ending figured out. And once the surprise was revealed, I was thoroughly proud of myself for being one step ahead of the film before the reveal. That is before the next plot twist was revealed, and this was one you'll never see coming. As you come to the end of the film, you may find it starting to drag a bit. However, considering you're dealing with a very small cast stuck inside a setting that is, in essence, nothing more than a huge cage for them, it holds together okay. But as the hidden mysteries of the movie begin to be revealed you'll find yourself quickly sucked right back into the picture.
For a film, Slasher House is the equivalent of an axe murder. It's a bit sloppy, but there are some interesting things to look at and, in the end, the point gets made. Felissa, along with her cast of colorful killers, may not be nominated for an Academy Award any time soon, but they're entertaining as Hell. If you can get by shortcomings of the film, you're going to find a cool story played out by an entertaining cast. For a low-budget indie, you can do worse than Slasher House.
2 1/2 out of 5