Review: Slaughter Creek

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Slaughter Creek: Who wrote the score?

In thousands of years, when the earth is a charred and lifeless wasteland, there will be a single copy of Slaughter Creek spinning in a mysteriously powered DVD player. I’m not sure if there are DVD copies of Slaughter Creek available. I’m not sure what my intention was when I started this review the way I just did.

Slaughter Creek is about a small crew of human tropes setting out to make a documentary “About porn.” It’s mostly found footage flashbacks. So, in other words, it’s a movie that is actually made of thousands of tiny little horror cliches all mashed together into a no-budget golem.

That’s all the kids ever say about their project. It’s a porn documentary and they’re making it. There’s no clear cut goal. Even when there are moments where the topic might come up for discussion, the characters just sort of awkwardly trail off.

So, there they are, out on the road making “porn documentary”. The gang meets a lovely lady, Alyssa, who has never worked in the industry. The director, Matt, is immediately smitten, and the project shifts gears to follow her on her journey to potential stardom. His on-again off-again girlfriend, Mya, is mad about it. His camera guy is..there. Alyssa winds up being offered a job that reeks of shadiness. Matt doesn’t trust it. Mya is jealous. The camera guy is there. Intercut through the found footage elements is an investigation. Matt is suspected of killing Mya and Camera Guy. Matt is kind of a dick. Remember that time he blew $500 of production budget to give to Alyssa? What a fucking jerk.

The absolute most important thing in creating a successful found footage piece is that it is convincingly real. Sadly, the decision to spin Slaughter Creek into a found footage flick seems to have come after it was made. There are countless questions. How did these kids access all this security camera footage? Who took the time to edit all of this and put in the score? The first thing we see in this movie is the obligatory title cards establishing its reality. Matt was found seven days after the key events, in the middle of nowhere, soaked in blood. He was then taken into police custody. Who edited this? Who added the dissolves and freeze frames? WHO DID THE SCORE?? Why are we being told this is taking place in 1994, and yet there are hundreds of shots of cameras and cell phones that wouldn’t exist for another decade? Slaughter Creek is unfortunately inundated with little details like this, all over the place, that damage its reality all too thoroughly.

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It’s hard to detach, sometimes, from the lowered expectations one might have when watching a no-budget. At first, Matt is annoyingly protective of his female companions. It would be easy to knee-jerk decide that Matt is yet another big, strong hero man trying to save the helpless damsel. Truly, there is a grim darkness lurking behind Matt’s intent with his documentary, and his relationships. I would have loved to see this become more apparent, but it is certainly there, and serves as a bit of depth, if not a small saving grace for Slaughter Creek.

If I gave stars, I would give Slaughter Creek two of them. It has its incredible moments (notably, the brief scene where the crew crosses a sun-drenched field into a dreary barn. Gorgeous) but its weaknesses might be to much to overcome.

By the way, Camera Guy’s name is Robbie. He’s played by Ray Rosales and he seems like a really cool guy.

Review by: Ian Sutherland

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