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Midlands Feature Review - The Slayers

By midlandsmovies, Nov 4 2016 11:49AM

The Slayers (2016) Dir. John Williams

New Midlands comedy horror The Slayers opens with a Jesus-looking cult figure who promises escape from the “clutches of Satan” to an audience full of Cuckoo’s Nest followers. Two “survivors” decide to fill up two weeks of waiting time before joining their fellow members in heaven and with a Grindhouse style title sequence The Slayers promises to mix dark humour with genre inspirations from the outset.

Brother Job (Matthew Sandland) and Nigel (Darren McAree) decide to engage in a bucket list of things to do whilst waiting for the symbolic comet to signify their departure and their first stop is Blackpool as they swear, steal, give their dog away in an orgy of pleasure before their final calling.

With amazing animation (by Oliver Jones) and musical montages, the filmmaker uses cinematic tricks to keep the audience interest up with different types of visual and verbal laughs. Also, a great soundtrack of quirky songs from Sherry Counsellors channels aspects of Tito and the Tarantulas at times and together with Kate Thomson provide a brilliant musical accompaniment to the proceedings. I also revelled in the cast of weird characters from a camping couple to a tattooed neighbour (played by Britain’s Strongest Man 2014, Eddie Hall).

A Scottish landlord later in the film provides some of the best laughs reminiscent of Withnail and I’s holiday encounters. And never have the ingredients of an English fry-up been delivered so erotically by Sophie Elsby as Jess.

As the duo head to the countryside, a great selection of Midlands locations from Burslem in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Moorlands showcase the region’s fine vistas shot well by the director with drones and from vehicles. Doubling up as Scotland exteriors they preface a more sinister side as the arrival of vampires descend upon the wooded forests.

There’s very little to criticise in the film so I will keep this short but some of the scenes play out in slightly flat medium shots which could have benefited with a few different angles but this is such a minor point it doesn’t detract from the film. A few CGI special FX shots would have worked better with practical make-up and prosthetics but again, shows the diverse range of styles in the film as well as the filmmaker’s high technical aspirations.

Although starting out a little annoying I soon warmed massively to the naive innocence of the two central characters and the humour comes from their childlike wonder of the world before the film darkens with the arrival of strangers and mysterious monsters.

Fans of distasteful comedy will be ROFL-ing and the giggles are balanced well with the more threatening and evil themes. Spooky barns meet lashes of rural violence building to a final act of vampire slaying from Reg (played by a gruff George Newton). Gruesome slashing and fiery explosions are added yet the comedy quips are never too far behind. The Slayers even manages to squeeze in a celebrity cameo with Big Brother contestant Pete Bennett in a great but brief role as a vampire.

The film is a superbly shot funny feature showcasing the talents of the cast and crew to full effect and it stands along An American Werewolf in London and Shaun of the Dead as a hugely entertaining adventure with shocks and sniggers keeping viewers thoroughly amused. Catch this must-see on the festival circuit soon.


MIdlands Movies Mike

Find out more about The Slayers here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5095552/

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