If ‘The Slaughterhouse Slumber Party’ appears on a festival bill near you then rest assured, you are in for a treat. In a film whose content is as zany as its title, director Dustin Mills offers up well-natured slice of provocative horror goodness, where all the ingredients of drive-in horrors are added to into mixture in huge, unapologetic dollops.
Take gratuitous female nudity, gore, more nudity, compromising situations and as many genre references as possible, and then use all of the above with tact replaced by even more gratuity, then you would just about be in the ball park of where ‘Slaughter House Slumber Party’ sits in the scheme of things.
The film opens with a faux trailer of the latest Rocket Ribcage movie – the latest in a franchise apparently, where ass-kicking titular character fights the powers of evil completely in the buff spouting one-liners where-ever possible, combatting some cartoonish CGI monsters; this sets the scene perfectly for the feature we are about to witness. Once the trailer is over we are introduced to the main characters in the ‘real’ world; each deliver a short monologue about themselves and give a brief introduction to the rules of their slumber party, which, as you might imagine involves no boys, no judgement and the usual wild shit which obviously happens in real life, kicking off with the most obvious of all activities – the naked pillow fight.
It appears, however, no tradition is sacred, and the pillow fight goes awry when the new girl of the group (and oddball) Gretchen is killed by a rogue blow; that said, unbeknownst to the others Gretch is a witch, and so for her death is just the beginning and her night is just getting started. Resurrected by her own magic she vows to devour the souls of each of them before sunrise.
The plot is pretty much a cat and mouse affair with the girls running for their lives, hunted by a witch who can transcend three plains of existence. As a plot device, it basically means anything goes – and go it does.
The characters in the film are developed just enough to give them identity, and although their personas are pretty much just one dimensional, they all have just enough function within the plot so that each has their time to shine. The writing in the film is great, with just enough self-awareness and tongue in cheek to make the film’s blatant overuse of nudity, toilet humour and stolen one-liners work to keep the films pitch and tone sit just the right side of ‘laugh along with’ as opposed to at it.
The acting is ‘horror film passible’, but one thing that the cast cannot be criticised of is their lack of commitment. Whether they be shooting caustic liquid from their vagina’s, throwing up into the crotch of their urinating friend, or running away from a spectral shark, each member of the cast is in for 100%.
The film dishes up set-piece after set piece, each as crazy as the last. Naturally, there’s little cohesion between scenes and the film’s plot ultimately plays out as an ‘its-your-turn-to-die-now’ linear thrill-ride, but when things are as entertaining as they are, it’s hard to care for story, subplots and twists and turns.
The film is violent, but much of it is comic violence. There’s liberal use of some stylised cartoon CGI as well as some nice-looking gooey effects. Trust me here, I’m not being forgiving because this film is obviously a small-teamed indie labour of love, this film is jam packed with slasher/gore highlights, and should be lauded because of this fact; give it time there will be internet GIF’s a plenty once this film hits the shelves. I’ve been sold short on this before, films which go nuts on the nudity, but skimp on the violence, not here, the ‘Slaughterhouse Slumber Party’ more than lives up to its namesake.
Whilst the quality of the effects vary I loved the thought that had clearly gone into making the different kill scenes stand out, from gun-shots, to ghost-shark attacks the film manages to show all of it in the most budget appropriate method , and even though there is a lot of CGI, its stylised in such a way so as to keep its use in character with the rest of the film, rather than looking like a cheap bolt on in post-production.
Overall, ‘Slaughterhouse Slumber Party’ is exactly what you hope it is. Clearly made by fans of the genre, for fans of the genre, it goes all in on delivering what it needs to. It doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the table, but it just brings a lot of what you would expect from it. If this is on at a festival near you, make sure you check it out, it will most definitely be one you remember. I can definitely see this movie enduring on recommended lists for time to come.