Japan’s number one extreme reality show is having it’s first all-American special! Six lucky contestants, chosen from thousands of applicants, will have the chance to win millions of dollars, and all they have to do is stay alive.
Welcome back for another pulse pounding night of suspense, thrills and chills on the number one extreme TV game show in Japan… Slashers!
Slashers by most standards would just be viewed for what it is. That is a low budget reality TV campy horror film. It was my first impression and rightly so it’s created to be represented with just that perspective. Though the film does have a little history to it and strangely I find some likable affinity with it. The film which was directed by Maurice Devereaux who is more known for his more successful and better budgeted “End of Line”. Slashers came out in 2001 right around the time when things were beginning to change in the horror industry. Reality TV was pretty much on its upward climb and Fangoria was debuting their new line of films in which they had the perfect format to promote them. I remember the full page spread on this from a magazine who should actually know better than to promote a film that was not too stellar.
And it isn’t….. by any ones standards. The line was called “Fangoria Films” in which this and a forgotten handful of others were starting to show up on various rental shelves. With 3 cool looking villains on the front, it seemed to be enough to indulge a viewer to rent. Though I think what was expected and what was delivered were 2 different things. In the same vein as the reality fight-to-death-Arnold film “Running Man”, Slashers comes of a more of a cheap knock off. In fact it looks like the set was just a converted paintball warehouse. Though as a viewer I love to see a challenge, a game and some cool monster faces who despite being quirky, you tend to root for in a sinister way. The characters are what works for this film and are actually quite unique as far as villain bad boys go. The name of the game is camp, which is greatly supported by a flock of dancers, cheesy announcements and some amateur TV style filming.
The characters in this game were self named: Dr Ripper, The Preacherman and Chainsaw Charley. Though most viewers probably didn’t know that Chainsaw Charlie and Preacher man were played by the same actor Neil Napier. As it is announced, the 3 killers are there to do exactly that, while the contestants try and stay alive. If they make it out and stay the course of time, the final winner/s get 12 million dollars. The only problem here is that there are no rules and the killers are paid to make sure that doesnt happen. A selected group of varying personalities have volunteered with the cash prize as a major incentive. We have a ex marine, a computer nerd, a hottie, a political activist, a female wrestler and rough neck who all are here for the same reason….to win.
The film starts with the contestants taking cover while the political activist Megan Lowry tries to make a statement on TV about violence. This is reduced to humiliation very quickly as one of the killers cuts her shirt off and leaves her exposed. Kind of a worthy punishment that compliments her character in a deserving way.The funny thing is, is that she keeps getting her shirt cut off through out the film
Ok, so there is probably no need to run thru too many details as the premise is pretty clear in which you can expect alot of killing and dramatics. The movie survives on a hide and go seek approach that switches set pieces as they try and stay alive and avoid the killers. Segments are filled with drama about staying alive, personal confessions and a tangle or 2 with the killers. Since this is a live TV show, often moments are prolonged to keep the viewer interest high despite what is going on in the film.
When all is said and done here, I still find myself kind of liking this movie. I know that the expected thing to do is say this is crap, don’t bother, and what a waste of time however I have to say I find myself returning to this movie every now and then for just entertainment reasons. The villains are very convincing but I will say I was extremely disappointed in the last act when Dr. Ripper actually reveals his true face and discards the mask. For me, it killed his mystery and reduced him to just a insane killer than a deformed mangled freak. Bad mistake…… don’t kill the believability of your characters, as it changes perspectives. There is also a few other mistakes that contribute to this idea that probably should have been left on the cutting room floor
In the closing on this, make sure you approach with low expectations and consume it in the way it is delivered. You might find yourself a unassuming fan like me who enjoys the offbeat quirks of a micro budget release.