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“L.A. SLASHER” (Movie Review)

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Reality television and the assorted “stars” spawned from such fodder have been a scourge on our society for longer than viewers seeking intelligent entertainment can tolerate. But like superheroes taking criminals off the streets, the title character of L.A. SLASHER rids Hollywood of its new wave of celebrities, in the process distorting archetypes and asking: Who are the real heroes and who are the real villains?

British director Martin Owen helmed this biting romp (opening exclusively at select AMC theaters this Friday), which focuses on an impeccably dressed antihero with an acerbic tongue (heard in voiceovers by Andy Dick) and a heart full of vitriol, whose attentions are directed at the vacuous and talentless of young Hollywood. A group of superficial reality stars who appear to have nothing of any true worth to contribute become the objects of the Twitter-savvy Slasher’s attention in this unique and humorous and unique take on the stalk-and-kill genre. In an ironic twist, the Slasher’s Twitter followers soar as he tweets about his unsuspecting victims’ futures as well as offering glimpses into his torturous ways via on-line videos. He in turn becomes the subject of entertainment news and a celebrity himself, while making reality TV and its merits (or lack thereof) into subjects of public discussion and debate.

LASLASHERREVOne by one, we are introduced to the usual subjects without given names: The Socialite (Korrina Rico), the Teen Mom (Tori Black), The Stripper (Marisa Lauren) and more of the familiar reality-TV types, all with a thirst for acquiring fame by way of minimal integrity. As they flit from one social engagement to the next, spouting sadly believable and often amusingly shallow dialogue, they fall prey to the Slasher, whose venomous vocal jabs are bitingly cynical. Genre regular Danny Trejo and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’s Dave Bautista provide additional humor with their amusing rapport as a couple of bumbling drug dealers; Eric Roberts makes an appearance as a corrupt mayor and Mischa Barton demonstrates some humility in her portrayal of an actress whose star is on the wane. But it is Elizabeth Morris who shines brightest as a British heiress, playing the role with gusto and more than a few similarities to reality-TV spawn Kelly Osbourne. Giving L.A. SLASHER an additional horror pedigree are cameos by the likes of HUMAN CENTIPEDE’s Ashlynn Yennie and HOSTEL’s Barbara Nedeljakova; former Fango writer Sean Decker was part of the producing team, and there are a number of genre references scattered throughout.

Fans of 1980s-style animated title sequences will get a kick out of the Pander Brothers’ bright and visually pleasing opening credits, accompanied by ABC’s ’82 anthem “The Look of Love.” The songs and sounds of the decade adorn the film throughout, in fact, nicely complementing its stylistic and colorful feast for the eyes. With late-night Hollywood as the frequent backdrop, the action pulses to composer Mac Quayle’s synth score against a neon-pink visual aesthetic. Chase Bowman’s cinematography contrasts Tinseltown’s vibrant color palette against its seedy underbelly, and the kinetic, non-linear editing would not feel out of place at times in a high-octane music video.

Although this approach to the narrative is one of the elements that sets L.A. SLASHER apart, it also lets the movie down at certain points, making some of the story development feel haphazard. And because the film deals with such well-known small-screen archetypes, the characters inevitably come off as somewhat one-dimensional and predictable. However, this angle may have been a conscious decision by Owen and his collaborators, to highlight the superficiality of the aspiring fame-chasers. Certainly, the juggernaut that is reality television is ripe for a bit of bloody satire, and Owen succeeds in shining a light on the ridiculousness of this pop-culture steamroller, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Anyone whose sick of the omnipresence of these famous-for-being-famous types will get a kick out of watching these pop-culture personalities receive their comeuppance in such an entertaining manner.

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About the author
Camilla Jackson
Camilla is an actress, writer, film-maker, musician, and horror junkie. She is new to FANGORIA and has a healthy knowledge of all things horror, particularly 70's - 90's films where she interviews writers, directors and actors for Australian cinephile group CINEMANIACS. In her spare time, Camilla writes screenplays, walks dogs, and scours the internet for bargains. She also had a small part in the remake of Australian telekinetic chiller, PATRICK. Currently she is training at The Groundlings and moonlights playing ethereal guitar in a cape.
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