Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Death To Reality TV: L.A. Slasher (2015)

L.A. Slasher (2015)
Rating: ***
Starring: Mischa Barton, Dave Bautista, Andy Dick

I guess just because a movie is titled "L.A. Slasher", featuring a masked maniac with a machete, and have a trailer showcasing it as your typical bodycounter, it does not necessarily meant it is a slasher?

Beautiful to look at and listen to, but slightly shallow and weird, L.A. Slasher follows a masked maniac who plots of ridding the world of Reality TV by torturing and/or murdering the talentless hacks making up this cultural disease. One by one, he kidnaps various, literally nameless victims, streaming their torment and demise to a crowd who are either appeased or appealed to what he is doing for the name of decency.

With a measly (and questionable) kill count and a rather high survivor count, the film is an odd duck that seems to be more focused on sending out the message of how dumb and pointless celebrity pop culture is getting, rather than the fatal slashing as the title and marketing might suggest. This being said, L.A. Slasher is not entirely a slasher film but a melting pot of tropes found not only within the horror sub-genre, but also of crime thrillers, satires, art house, and even a bit of torture porn.

Not a complete loss of an approach but I do see some problems with it; since the film starts and spends a good mass of its time building around our would-be victims (and I mean a really good mass of time and pacing), I was expecting more from these nameless characters than being throwaway casts to be tortured and/or killed a couple of scenes later but alas, as satires themselves, they're not necessarily the likable bunch in a sense that they're shallow caricatures of the reality TV stereotypes we see everyday, with little to no character depth to ground ourselves to.

This apparently made way for the equally nameless slasher to do his nasty business with them and, thankfully, most of the scenes involving him and his victims were worthwhile, such as forcing a girl to masturbate in front of her family before murdering her, to giving another victim a chance to escape only to hunt her down in the barren desert. It may lack the grue, death count and bloodletting, but thse scenes were okay enough to watch and obviously the main attraction of the film, next to the slasher himself.

As a villain, the L.A. Slasher himself is a hybrid of your silent boogeyman and your wise-cracking rambler, an odd combination made odder once the intriguing elements in the world he operates in starts popping up, such as therapy groups of serial killers, a salon giving him a haircut while in full slasher attire (white suit, mask and all) in public, and all the fans he is getting both in public and in cyberspace that seems to be getting less and less fazed by his crimes. It kinda questions whether this is just how this world is or if everything we see here is actually through the perspective of the killer, especially with the flashy editing and dabbles on social media, but whichever one it is, the movie still ends up a trippy ride and a very gimmicky experience all through out.

It's hardly the conventional hack-and-slash with all of this and some scenes did felt like it could have done more if they were played straight but, as an arthouse flick, L.A. Slasher might satisfy those who are into the otherworldly. Throw in some cool soundtrack and a few darkly comic bits, this horrific and satirical stab at reality entertainment and modern pop crash that may or may not still be strong today, but it does run quite okay as a modern thriller. Whether you agree with the Slasher's hatred or not, I say give his misadventures a try just for the sake of satisfying any curiosity you have.

1 female axed on the groin
1 female stabbed on the back with a machete
1 male ran through with a machete
1 male shot on the head
Total: 4
(Note: I left out some of the slasher's victims due to the nature of the film and the ambiguity of their injuries)

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