If you’ve seen Mystery Team, then you’ll instantly understand the tone Daniel C. Davis is aiming for with his second feature-length directorial effort and third screenwriting credit, Slaughter Beach. Of course, such a comparison is not a bad thing, as “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” or so they say. That Derrick Comedy title is brilliantly funny and heartfelt, so anything skewing close to that is at least ambitious in the right way.
Barry (Ethan Han) and his best friend, Ralph (Jon McKoy), are two wayward young adults with zero ambition to do anything. Their utter lack of responsibility drives Barry’s father (Oscar Aguilar) up the wall, so he throws them out of his house until they find jobs. The duo’s search for employment leads them all throughout town, causing them to wind up in the middle of a crime scene.
“…search for employment leads them all throughout town, causing them to wind up in the middle of a crime scene.”
Barry and Ralph notice all the store closings and missing people, so they figure out what their job should be — crimefighters for hire at only 25 cents per case. Unfortunately, the two are not very bright nor athletic, so their crime-busting spree constantly ends in failure. But, by following all the killings, they ran afoul of the killer, Fish Man Sam (Jim Cannatelli). Can these two likable doofuses get their act together long enough to survive until morning, or are they dead and just don’t know it yet?
There’s a certain charm within Slaughter Beach that carries the film to the finish line, despite a handful of problems. For starters, Barry and Ralph are simply too dumb for the story to work properly. They see an officer roping off an area with the yellow caution tape, clearly indicting something terrible had happened. They are unfazed by this entirely, which is great for the ongoing gag about their powers of observation being piss poor. But it begs the question of why they think they’d be good at crimefighting in the first place.
See, the other issue with Barry and Ralph is that they’re flat. They like board games a lot, and that’s about all there is to them. As such, it is hard to identify their inspiration to become superheroes, going so far as to don the monikers of Awesome Boy and Bludgeon Man, respectively. This disconnect between what is shown and how the leads act hurts the production overall.
"…the effects easily rival many big studio slasher productions."