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First Look Review - The Slashening

Affectionate parody of the sleepover slasher genre.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Brandon Bassham

Starring: Anna Callegari, Samantha Reece Schecter, Elyse Brandau




The Slashening is the latest horror parody from the team who brought us Fear Town U.S.A, a film which we had a particular affection for late last year, praising the parody for its ‘silly energy’. It gives us guilty pleasure to report that The Slashening features more of the same; a madcap alchemy of goofy giggles and heartfelt homage.
In The Slashening, the ambitious breadth of Fear Town U.S.A.’s multi-plot is pared down; here the story centres on not a house party, but a genre-staple sleepover, and, unlike its predecessor’s cast of plenty, here we focus on only six characters; five female archetypes and the villain stalking them. This more intimate approach allows more room for comic interplay between the five leads, who play their stereotypes off each other with a confidence that belies the film’s micro budget. The Slashening also features the careful and considered assembly of jokes that its forerunner enjoyed, and the representation of slasher tropes and scenarios is similarly painstaking, but, unlike the dreaded Scary Movie franchise, the recreation of such scenes as, say, the closet section in Halloween isn’t meant to be in and of itself amusing, but the inspired backdrop for the filmmaker’s (maniac Brandon Bassham) idiosyncratic brand of funny; where running jokes (such as the endless deaths of pizza delivery boys) are stretched to absurdist lengths, and then twanged back to your funny bone with a surly sharp snap (the film’s final punch line- zing!).
Senses of humour are, of course, highly personalised: The Slashening’s enthused idiocy may not be for everyone. The key is viewing circumstances: a few cans of lemonade, a late night, and a bunch of similarly minded genre fans should ensure that this film will go down a treat. There is more to The Slashening than a series of (superior) sketches after all: there is also an abiding sweetness that enhances the film’s more sour tones (like Fear Town, this film is gloriously, unapologetically rude). There is genuine sentiment when Lucy finds out which of her friends slept with her recent ex (spoiler alert: almost all of them), and the girls are such a likeable, funny bunch that when they start to get offed I actually felt the loss (!). Ultimately, who couldn’t like a film that expounds the line, ‘BFs come and go, but BFFs are forever’, and actually seems to mean it?
In a season where parody films such as Kingsman: The Secret Service feature clanging sexist wannabe jokes about sodomy, it’s again refreshing to see Bassham mine humour out of subverting gender stereotypes. The girls in The Slashening are imperfect, and behave just as silly and selfishly as their male counterparts; a COD gamer sweetly plays to patch up his fallen online comrades; and a final spin on the ‘sluts must die’ ideologies of certain horrors is given the sort of murderous rejoinder we’ve always hoped it would. The film’s creativity and energy is also evident in the soundtrack, which is simply perfect. There’s an inspired mockery of the great Taylor Swift that introduces final girl Lucy and her singleton status (‘you’re a bastard and I hate you… for realsies’!) and which gives Fear Town USA’s Magnolia take off a run for its money, while the rest of the score is a beautifully appropriate blend of synth and soft rock (all original music by Faith Fosset and Geoff Garlock).
The Slashening has been picked up for distribution by Troma. See it, ‘for realsies’!




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