For anyone needing to lower their blood pressure from their horror movie binge this spooky season, ‘Slayers’ is the unserious horror-comedy that’ll provide you some respite. Directed by K. Asher Levin, who has producer credits on ‘Cougars Inc.’ and ‘Dig’, ‘Slayers’ entertains with its exaggerated interpretation of how the media-obsessed today would handle a spontaneous battle for their lives against a vampire syndicate. Although the film’s humor strikes as a long-running “dad-joke” attempting a little too hard to blend with gen-z culture, the film offers some amusing beats and a talented cast that were notably having fun with their roles. My suggestion in digesting this film would be to grab some friends, maybe some drinks, and go into this expecting a witty slasher.
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‘Slayers’ illustrates the scenario of popular social media influencers needing the heroism of a vampire hunter after having RSVP’d a party hosted by vampires. Coincidentally, the vampires that are hosting this influencer party are the same ones that are responsible for the death of the vampire hunter’s daughter, giving us the objective of the protagonist: avenge his daughter and eradicate the vampires. The film stays true to this mission and the characters and it keeps to its promise of being a vampire slasher flick featuring social media influencers. Frequently playing off the modern illness of needing to vlog tragedies for views and socialmedialites’ naivete to real-world threats, these themes are comical the first couple of times but become bland after lots of repetition.
Horror Star, Thomas Jane, Plays the Kickass Vampire Hunter Protagonist Who Takes a Twitch Streamer as his Protégé
With his work on ‘Deep Blue Sea’, ‘The Mist’, and ‘The Predator’, Thomas Jane has solidified himself as a familiar face in the horror scene. Given ‘Deep Blue Sea’ has a release date in 1999, it is great to see him lively and active in a modern slasher. Thomas plays his role as a hellbent vengeful hunter splendidly. Even in a campy B-movie, Thomas is able to bring believability to his line delivery on a heartwarming scene.
Thomas shares the action and dialogue with his opposite lead, Kara Hayward, who is best known for her role in the Wes Anderson film, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, as Suzy. Kara plays the self-empowered lesbian gaming super streamer, Flynn. Proving to be the most useful of the influencers, having learned her survival skills from her consumption of first-person shooters, Flynn is a beam of hope that gives the influencers a chance to figure a way out of the hellhole they got themselves into. Kara effectively plays the hard-headed woman with the intelligence to pay attention to the suspicious things going on around them. In the film, we see Kara taking the stakes with Thomas and taking down some vampires, granting the screen with the pleasant action duo of gamer and hunter.
Along with Kara, Abigail Breslin, known for ‘Zombieland’, ‘The Call’, and ‘Scream Queens’ joins the cast in a similar role as hers on ‘Scream Queens’. Abigail plays Jules Jay, the ditzy blonde with lots of social media power, who brings lots of comedy to the screen with her take on how being chronically online will ruin your common sense abilities in real life. Additionally, the film adds a horror star to the antagonist group of the film, Malin Ackerman, who is featured on ‘The Final Girls’, ‘Chick Fight’, and ‘The Circle’. Malin plays the deceptive and evil syndicate underboss, Beverly Rektor. Malin performed the role frighteningly well. Delivering in her task to play the sketchy secretary relative to the billionaire vampire host, it is evident that Beverly has had a long history (over 300 years) of orchestrating these events to gather powerful humans for the reclusive syndicate.
‘Slayers’ Adds Itself to the Growing Subgenre of Influencer Horror | What Does it Do Differently?
Influencer horror has been a subgenre that has a seemingly exponential growth in productions. As seen recently with the latest ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ reboot on Netflix and the critically acclaimed ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ by A24, it is suspected that screenwriters now are trying to create a reflection to generation-z on how screen time is one of the true horrors today. With Netflix’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ receiving a grade of 31% on Rotten Tomatoes while ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ ended its theatrical run with an 86%, it proves that the influencer horror genre is a difficult genre to create for but not impossible. Movies created for this genre have to be careful in falling for the common tropes that everyone has already seen on screen (e.g., Leatherface shows up to a party and the teenagers pull their cameras out instead of running, etc.). Unfortunately, ‘Slayers’ does fall victim to portraying lots of these unoriginal ideas, but it does serve some new ones and has a pretty unique style from its editorial team.
The directorial style of the film is different from the films typical of the vampire slasher genre. It incorporates the idea that the characters are indeed influencers throughout every aspect of the film. With its composition of b-roll, memes, and frequent screen images, ‘Slayers’ did, at times, feel like it was a documentary narrated by Elliot Jones and was edited by the “dank meme” or “YouTube crack” creators, but perhaps that was the intention of the team. Fortunately, these short moments throughout do play a crucial part in world-building and storytelling, and these provide us with the entertaining historical alterations that Levin created in his world that add vampires to the world’s lifetime canon. Levin definitely had his own language and color that he brought into this film and it doesn’t lose that throughout the film. In the way the film was constructed, Levin did accurately create his film in a manner that mimics one of the most consumed media types today, YouTube videos, which is a great way to get a horror film about influencers to its target audience (theoretically).
‘Slayers’ is now available to rent or buy on YouTube, Google Play, Redbox, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV.
Actors: Thomas Jane, Kara Hayward, Abigail Breslin, Malin Ackerman, Jack Donnelly, Lydia Hearst
Director: K. Asher Levin | Writers: Zack Imbrogno, K. Asher Levin
Producers: Jason Armstrong, Abigail Breslin, Rob Goodrich, K. Asher Levin
Cinematographer: Owen Levelle
By Nino Vongphachanh
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