At a posh boarding school, new boy Don finds himself in a battle for survival when a nearby Fracking operation opens a fissure, that unleashes deadly monsters….
Horror comedies are tricky things to get right. For every Shaun Of The Dead, or Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, you get a film like Lesbian Vampire Killers. Balancing the comedy and horror aspects isn’t easy. Sadly, Slaughterhouse Rulez is an example of this.
The film is written by Crispian Mills (who also directs) and Henry Fitzherbert, from a story by Mills, Fitzherbert and Luke Passmore. However, it’s the story and script that are the film’s main weakness.
In a very early scene, the character of Willoughby fires an air rifle pellet into a picture of Malcolm McDowell that looks like it was taking from the film If… You can see that film part of the inspiration for Slaughterhouse Rulez, with the setting, the idea of them having their own military cadets and the bullying of younger or newer students by those with power. But that’s where any similarities end. Because as well as that aspect of the story, we have the monster story, new boy Don falling for Clemsie on of the female seniors. Add into the mix too a subplot about one of the teachers, Meredith trying to contact his ex-girlfriend (a very surprising cameo!) who has gone to work overseas. The film has a lot of details to juggle and it doesn’t do them all justice. I think had it focused its story more, the film would work better.
But the film’s worst problem is the humour. A lot of it doesn’t work. Considering the actors in the film, Michael Sheen, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, you expect good, funny performances. Sadly however, all three are rather poor, which was a surprise and most of that is down to their roles not being well enough written and certainly not funny enough. All three are much better than this usually.
The teen actors fare better, but again the roles are underwritten. Asa Butterfield as Willoughby, Finn Cole as Don and Hermione Corfield as Clemsie aren’t bad as are the other young cast members.
However, while this film may fail with the comedy side of the writing, it fares a bit better when the monsters turn up. Crispian Mills handles that side of the story very well indeed. The monster’s look good onscreen, there is a good amount of blood and gore and the film does build up….to, well sadly the ending is not as tense as you want it to be. Also, while the film does manage a couple of good jump moments, it’s never as scary as you want either.
The production design and effects are well done, the music okay, and the film never outstays its welcome. Slaughterhouse Rulez is the first film from Stolen Picture, a production company owned by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. As their debut release it has flaws, but there is promise there.
Not a terrible film by any means, but I was expecting something more.
Rating: **1/2 out of 5