The Series (3/5)
On Halloween night 1988, Bryan and Rachel Bennett are brutally murdered by a serial killer named “The Executioner”. Rachel is pregnant and while dying has her baby cut out of her. The baby survives and the killer is caught and thrown in jail. Now in the present day, the baby has grown up and is named Sarah (Katie McGrath). Her Husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren) and herself have decided to move back to the house her parents were murdered in. Once arriving, they soon discover there’s a copycat serial killer now on the loose.
Sarah is determined to solve the crimes herself and discover why her parents were killed. While searching for answers, she turns to Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow) who was the original killer. The more she digs the more secrets she uncovers.
SLASHER is the first original TV series for the popular Chiller cable channel. And for what it is, they did a decent job. Created by Aaron Martin, SLASHER is more in line with modern slashers of the post-SCREAM with it’s odd twists and troubled characters. The good part is unlike SCREAM none of the characters are too “hip” or annoying. But the first issue with the series is its name. SLASHER is more inspired by TWIN PEAKS and serial thrillers like SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and SEVEN, then any of the FRIDAY THE 13TH films. The elements of LAMBS and SEVEN are a little too flat not to ignore.
The relationship between Sarah and Tom is so close to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, that I was expecting him to be a cannibal. It’s so cartoonish that it ultimately shoots the series in the foot. The SEVEN elements deal with the victims being chosen by a deadly sin they committed. Which just makes the kills and plot developments boring. The TWIN PEAKS feel is the only inspired by element that actually works. The town is an underbelly of vice and regret and it fits with Twin Peaks template, expect her the show just seems too by the numbers. The characters are all too terrible. There’s no good people in the town for you to have as an audience stand in.
On subplot involves the Sheriff and his twisted secret. He picked up a 15-year-old girl and raped her. Now 5 years later, the girl and the baby that was born from said rape, are kept in his basement. This comes out of left field and just continued to alienate me as a viewer. It gets a good payoff, but having to sit through the domestic violence was just disgusting after the series finally found its footing.
The cast is pretty solid all around. Katie McGrath (the assistant in JURASSIC WORLD) is decent and never feels like a wet blanket. Here she looks like a PASSENGER 57 era Elizabeth Hurley and stays pretty even in the worst of situations. She is limited by the at times wooden dialogue and plot twists. But she is tough in the action scenes. Brandon Jay McLaren is grounded and realist as Dylan and Patrick Garrow is fine as Tom. The issue with Tom is he is just too generic a bad guy to really strike menace into everyone.
The pacing of the series stays fast. There’s no real jump scares and there’s practical effects which are really refreshing. So there’s nothing really wrong with SLASHER. The series is just too middle of the road to love. The kills are fine and the killer has a stylish look, but it’s all too uneven.
The series comes with two different audio tracks. First off is the English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The track is really well balanced and there’s no noticeable drop off between sound effects and dialogue. The score is clean of background noise and never drowns out the rest of the track. The second track is the English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track/ Stereo. It’s a little softer around the edges but sounded overall fine on my TV. Easy to read white subtitles are included.
The series has a 1080p HD transfer and for the most part looks really good. The black levels are smooth and don’t look too dark. The contrast between the night scenes are well executed. The problems are in the day time scenes. Many of the day time scenes are a bit too bright. There’s a little bit of haze that keeps it from being perfect. But over all a damn fine transfer for the series.
The only extra is a behind the Scenes featurette on the series (14 minutes and 59 seconds). It’s located on Disc 2. The making of covers a lot of aspects of the series and the influences behind it. It was nice to hear a shout out to Brian De Palma and Dario Argento.
SLASHER Season 1 is a bit rough around the edges. 75% of the series is pretty entertaining but since the series is only eight episodes long, when it drags it drags hard. On the plus side the characters are not annoying, but the debt owed to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is too great. Also not having more likable characters, makes the series more of a chore. So It’s really uneven. For fans or newcomers Shout! / Scream Factory’s release is pretty good looking. Cautiously Recommended.