From Press Release Summary: A biting, social satire of reality TV and the glorification of those who are “famous for being famous,” L.A. SLASHER takes aim at the current state of the entertainment industry, where it is acceptable (and even admirable) to gain influence and wealth without merit or talent – but instead through shameful behavior, and the notoriety that comes from it.
Driven to rage over the tawdry excess of reality television, a self-appointed cultural crusader kidnaps several famous nobodies to make his point – but his crimes only generate more tabloid frenzy.
LA Slasher is a movie with many good ideas. The problem is, good ideas do not a good movie make.
As someone who has a love/hate relationship with reality television and a genuine love of horror films, I went into this film very optimistic. However, by the end of the film, I was left feeling more frustrated than satisfied.
The characters within the movie–both the reality stars/victims and the killer are relatively flat, one-dimensional characters. Which in itself isn’t a large issue. Most horror movies deal in archetypes. They are there to be the blank slates that we find catharsis in during their attacks and deaths. But I found myself sympathizing with most of the reality stars. Yes, they may be a bit vapid, and famous for ‘nothing,’ but reality television is a two-way street. Clearly they were providing the public with something they wanted to see. During the film, the LA Slasher broadcasts the torture and killing of these reality stars. The public within the film clamors for more, turning the Slasher into his own sort of reality star. And yes, their tortures/deaths also gave film’s public something they wanted to see…but I found myself feeling that none of the stars were truly so terrible as to deserve their fate.
We never see the face of the killer (voiced by Andy Dick) , as he is always behind a mask. While I originally found this interesting, the voiceover work is forced. Much of the dialogue seems awkward; it would have been more interesting to have an entirely silent killer. One who provided the victims none of the attention that they so desired, except when killing them.
Instead, he taunts them, mocks them, and again builds sympathy for them. In particular, the death scene with ‘the stripper’ (who happens to be a young black woman, dressed in what appears to be an old-fashioned maid costume) had some serious racial implications that I feel the filmmakers failed to recognize.
There were other ideas that I enjoyed, but that were quickly dropped for other plots. For example, at one point the LA Slasher goes to a support group for killers. The scene is incredibly short, but I desperately wanted to know more about the characters involved in that scene. A movie about that support group is one that I would definitely love to watch. But as a minor scene within this film, it didn’t fit. Like many scenes in Slasher, it seems to be there only to create a ‘cool’ moment, only to disappear later with no relevance to the plot.
There are some positives in the film, however–and these come from the performances. The standouts are Mischa Barton as “The Actress” and Elizabeth Morris as “The Heiress.” Ms. Morris especially gave a compelling performance as a spoiled brat of a teenager, infusing the character with a likability that made me root for her. The same goes for Ms. Barton; while the movie does not go into her backstory, she does an excellent job of portraying a woman whose star is on the wane, and, despite battling demons in her past, is willing to risk herself to save her friend.
I do think the movie has merit. While problematic and ultimately a letdown, I do think it is worth a watch, at least on VOD, if you enjoy slasher films.
But if someone ever makes a movie about the serial killer support group, I’m in.
Many thanks to Theresa Karasek for her editorial work on this piece.