When failed filmmaker Doug Stevenson leaves his video camera in the local park overnight he accidentally records something horrific. With the help of his bumbling teacher buddies, Doug goes on a wild ride to save himself, his friends, his ex-wife, and the entire neighborhood! Featuring a killer throwback soundtrack and splattery practical FX find out who will stay alive on Slaughter Drive!
Doug (Ben Dietels) is a failed filmmaker. Home from the west coast he lumbers through the airport upon his return home. With a weighty look of failure on his face, he enters his home where he finds his “soon-to-be” ex-wife banging a guy in their old room. Not even the sound of the shower, going full blast can shield poor Doug from the hell he has come home to. But those noises are nothing compared to the nightmare in store for Doug and his pals in the new slasher pic Slaughter Drive. Now, do NOT get your hopes up. This is no CarousHELL. In fact, Slaughter Drive, despite its Hitchcockian premise, lands with a thud. It’s not all bad though.
Todd (Vincent Bombara) literally wakes Doug the next morning from a dead sleep with a scream. I mean what are friends for, right? Welcoming their filmmaker buddy back home Todd and Chris (Chris Crighton) are two teachers on the precipice of a summer vacation break. With the three buds back together they assure each other that they will have the best summer ever. That is until mopey Doug decides to leave his camera and tripod, at a local park to record the sunset. Upon review, Doug sees that he has captured a neighborhood murderer killing his latest victim. The hunt is now on as the murder soon finds Doug and his pals.
“Doug sees that he has captured a neighborhood murderer killing his latest victim…”
There are the usual moments of “who’s the killer?” Then the conceit gets thrown right out the window, and the three seasonal gumshoes immediately find their suspect, his accomplice, their home, and even begin to play some cat and mouse. I will give Dietels kudos for attempting to toy with the normal conventions of a horror comedy thriller, but if Slaughter Drive could have benefited from one thing, it would have been clear story beats. The action seems to meander and play, which, in a comedy can be gold, but we do need a framework. One third act bit stretches on for far too long, giving a Family Guy cutaway a run for its money.
What DOES work are the practical effects by Cody Ruch. Each kill scene is a ruby-red gem that would make Tom Savini proud. Between the random close-up shots of garage doors closing and Dietel’s penchant for heaving, we are treated to delightful if not sensical slaughters of screaming victims.
“…nothing but earnest effort and the desire to entertain.”
Should you see Slaughter Drive? If you are looking to hire nascent movie talent the YES! Jump on to Ruch for his makeup and Dietels for his screen presence. The camera loves him. As for the rest, well, they are obviously a wildly supportive group of friends that recognize talent when they see it.
Making a movie is, without question, a tremendously difficult thing to do. It takes vast amounts of money, a ridiculous amount of thankless work, and will most likely result in a poor review like this one. But as one that reviews these films, I see plenty of movies (I know, big deal). The thing that bothers me the most is when a filmmaker doesn’t try. Here on Slaughter Drive, I see nothing but earnest effort and the desire to entertain. So, to quote one of the film’s Detective characters in a conversation with the perplexed Doug, “Don’t tell me how to do my job, I won’t tell you how to do shitty movies.” Mr. Dietels, my advice to you, keep creating.
Slaughter Drive (2018) Written and directed by Ben Dietels. Starring Ben Dietels, Vincent Bombara, Chris Crighton, Danielle Dietels, Seth Gontkovic, Steve Rudzinski.
3 out of 10 stars