A cute busty blonde gyrates around her home half naked, chugs a pack of beer, sparks up a joint and screws a random guy on the sofa. With such carefree and irresponsible behaviour, it seems like she’s intentionally doing everything that slasher movie tradition dictates will get you killed. And she is.
With 1996’s Scream, Wes Craven mercilessly deconstructed the subgenre he in part helped to create, highlighting the tropes and clichés that had become predictably consistent during the 20 years or so they were developed and subsequently driven into the ground. Almost another two decades later and people are still finding new and interesting ways to invoke them.
Night of the Slasher blurs the line between traditional throwback and postmodern irony, taking place in a world where these movies exist but simultaneously adheres to their rules. Jenelle is the Final Girl from an encounter with a slasher movie killer and is likely still coming to terms with the deaths of several of her closest friends. Now she is deliberately committing Horror Movie Sins (she even has a checklist of them) to draw the ire of the masked killer and allow her to finish him off.
That this character history can be inferred with nothing more than a raw scar across her throat (Jenelle never even speaks a word throughout the encounter) is a statement of the extent that these films have become familiar, but is also an indication of how well Hamassian understands his audience.
The whole short appears to be filmed in a single shot – if there are any cuts they are deftly hidden within the blur of whip pans – infusing it with a focused intensity that never relents. It invokes slasher traditions with such blunt force audacity that they become part of the humour, such as the masked killer not even being out of Jenelle’s line of sight before inexplicably vanishing like a ninja with the One Ring.
Be honest, have you ever given much thought about the kind of person a young woman would become after surviving such a traumatic attack? Jenelle might have the looks of the ‘sexy one’ who is usually dismissed with an unceremonious early demise in an advanced state of undress, but after previously coming so close to death she also has the resolve to do whatever is necessary to survive regardless of the consequences. She is victim, survivor and avenger rolled into one, and her horrific experience has hardened her against human feeling in order to finish what has been started, pushing her ever closer to becoming that which she hunts. The film cuts through the inherent ridiculousness of slasher movies and submerges itself in the true darkness of human nature.
NIGHT OF THE SLASHER / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: SHANT HAMASSIAN / STARRING: LILY BERLINA, ADAM LESAR, SCOTT JAVORE / RELEASE DATE: TBC