REVIEW: Night of the Slasher [2016]

Score: 7/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: NR| Runtime: 12 minutes | Release Date: 2016 (USA)
Director(s): Shant Hamassian
Writer(s): Shant Hamassian

“I can wait until you’re dressed”

You’re the sole survivor of a horror movie incident that has literally left you speechless with an ear-to-ear scar across your throat. Do you continue your life with straight-edged celibacy to ensure you never commit the genre sins that got you cut in the first place? Or do you do whatever is necessary to bring your assailant back to wreak some revenge? Well, if you’re like Jenelle (Lily Berlina) the answer is always going to be the latter. So you work out what it was you did that fateful night and repeat everything. You dance half-naked, drink some beer, smoke some hash, and screw whoever is willing and available. You make it so the killer (Adam Lesar) cannot resist a return appearance and then you pounce.

This is the fun genre flip that is Shant Hamassian‘s Night of the Slasher, a twelve-minute short in one-take mocking horror conventions as much as utilizing them. There’s a lot of humor whether subtle (the killer wears a Leonard Nimoy mask as homage to Halloween‘s Michael Myers donning William Shatner) or tired (Jenelle’s sex partner played by Scott Javore is a nerdy virgin going above and beyond the stereotype’s failings) and plenty of blood as the writer/director keeps his supernatural villain as immortal and willing to “die” as the cinematic greats before him. We get knives scratching counter tiles, orgasms turning to screams of agony, and a heroine ready to go one-on-one no matter the stakes. It’s high time the victim willingly hunted the predator.

Written as a full-length feature at a time when Hamassian was disenfranchised with the industry, this cathartic look at payback and facing one’s demons rekindled the fire of his art. Unable to produce it as originally conceived (yet), he decided to pare it down to what’s become a festival favorite. We don’t need exposition about what happened to Jenelle because her neck tells everything without words. This is a character on a mission, a woman who won’t stop until discovering this monster’s Achilles heel. So sit back and ready yourself for a familiar yet wholly original take on horror that’s shot with as much love for the past as vision for the future. The technical achievement is worth a look itself, the entertainment a cherry on top.

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