Film Review: Slaughterhouse Rulez

I had high hopes for this movie going in because of the presence of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Michael Sheen and the fact that I love horror comedies. The problem is that this film, despite a few nice touches, is a big old mess.

slaughterhouserulez

The plot is simple, working class lad Don (Finn Cole), starts at the exclusive public school Slaughterhouse, renowned for producing leaders and famous figures. When he gets there he has to deal with rigid social hierarchies which keep him from being able to talk to Clemsie (Hermione Corfield), the object of his affection, and the sadistic prefect Clegg (Tom Rhys-Harries). His guide into this world is sarky misfit Willoughby (Asa Butterfield), who is an outsider at the school, bullied by Clegg and his goons, and still grieving the suicide of his former roommate.

The headmaster, nicknamed The Bat (Sheen) has done a deal with a fracking company to mine in the woods, and this drilling soon unleashes long dormant creatures. Can Don and Willoughby survive? Will Don get his girl?

Here’s the thing about this movie, there are a few good laughs along the way. There are some choice insults thrown around, a bit of slapstick, some ghoulishly gory deaths and some genuinely funny lines. The problem is that the film doesn’t quite get the horror part right, the creatures aren’t that scary when we see them and the film delays their arrival a bit too long. Perhaps having them pick off one or two minor players in the early stages would have worked better. As it is, the whole pacing of the movie is off and it could have done with an extra death near the end.

This death would have been easily slotted into the film as there are a couple of characters who contribute very little. Our heroic band near the end numbers seven, but they are far from magnificent. Finn Cole’s Don is our entrance into the world and rather likeable as the fish out of water and props to the film for making it’s female lead, Clemsie, confident and useful. The star amongst the kids is Butterfield, who injects genuine pathos into the character of Willoughby, and imbues the character with a louche charm.

The others however, are rather underdone, Clemsie’s best friend Kay, played by Isabella Laughland, is introduced as the clever character and is likeable enough, but doesn’t bring much to the table. Even villainous Clegg, despite being highly detestable feels like the actor doing an impression of Draco Malfoy crossed with Patrick Bateman.

That’s one issue, but there’s also the fact that several plot points are easy to spot from a mile away, and there are no real surprises along the way. This is a major problem for a horror comedy, as you despite the comedy aspect you still need a bit of suspense, and this doesn’t really build that well enough, preferring to go for gory gags instead. It does these rather well, but with the poorly rendered characters there’s not much to really hook you in.

The adult performers are far from their best, and while Sheen and Pegg deliver quite a few laughs along the way, Frost’s anti-fracking character is rather poorly done. It’s the actor, rather than the role that carries it off. There’s also a subplot about Pegg’s cricket obsessed teacher and his lover (Margot Robbie), which has no weight and goes nowhere.

Basically, this is a bit of a mediocre movie. There are just about enough laughs and OTT gory moments to carry it off, but it lacks a real cutting edge and goes for lazy gags far too often. Decidedly average.

Verdict: Butterfield is the standout amongst the kids, but doesn’t get much competition. The script has a few nice lines, but the plot is formulaic and some of the gags are a bit easy. It passes the time, but won’t stay with you. 6/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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