THE SLAUGHTER HOUSE RULES Image

When I see a short like this I feel depressed at the wasted skill. The cast knows how to act well; they’re naturalistic and have good chemistry. The director knows his way around a camera and shoots everything as professionally as he can. The dialogue sounds realistic. I see so much potential, and then I see it squandered on a story that just doesn’t cut it.

Two guys are driving down a road when they notice two cute girls whose car has broken down. Being good Samaritans they pick them up; and then of course get some booze and drive over to the local abandoned slaughter house. Their merriment is interrupted (and soon ended permanently) by the arrival of the local masked maniac.

The problem here isn’t that there’s anything wrong with the cast or crew. The problem is that there is no freakin’ way to tell if they’re good or bad because they’ve picked a dead horse to bet all their chips on. The “killer hacking up teenagers” storyline is so well worn by now that it’s starting to look like a 121 year hooker’s hootch. There is no way to make it fresh with no budget and less than 15 minutes of runtime. To even attempt it is folly.

I realize that filming a short with no money isn’t easy and that your options are limited, but sometimes it might be better to wait until you come up with something less cliché or accumulate a few extra bucks and give yourself a little bit more to work with.

See those 2.5 stars up there? I’m giving those to the DVD package with the “How to make a movie for 20$ and gas money” featurette and deleted scenes and commentary and trailer because in that context it’s deserved. The extras really surpass the short in entertainment value.

The short itself though, meh… And unfortunately that’s what the festivals are going to show and because of that no one will ever know that the people who made this have potential. It’s a shame. If they’d aimed a little higher they could have had something great. Oh well, maybe next time.

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