Instead, packing up a crappy mini bus, Nigel and Job head off on a road trip to Scotland planning on a bucket list fortnight of fun, and if at all possible, meeting and touching a girl (two separate items on the list…). They blag a bank loan, stop off in Blackpool, and irritate pretty much everyone they come across. But they also want to do some good in their final days. They’re in luck, because along the way the boys end up falling in with some strange characters who say they’re vampire hunters. Interpreting it as a test from God they decide to help out. Oh, it’s worth mentioning that Nigel and Job really are idiots. Kinda well meaning, but idiots they certainly be.
It’s very, very silly stuff for much of the running time, it definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste, and as a horror, it’s never scary. The humour is broad, with some scenes coming on more sketch show than a feature film, and the acting is sometimes rough around the edges, with an occasional ensuing awkwardness.
Considering it was made on the brutal cheap, though, there’s a lot to like in The Slayers. Darren McAree and Matthew Sandland manage to make Nigel and Job on the likeable enough side given that their stupidity could be annoying. Williams has ambitions and doesn’t let his budget get in the way of a subtle effect or two, and he’s generally clever enough to be sparing with them so they don’t distract. Rural Scotland is a natural film set and there’s good use of the locations throughout, helping to give this scrappy, low-budget flick a feel of bigger scale.
The gags are often pretty cheesy but the cast sell it with such charm and enthusiasm you can’t help but let out a chuckle (the Scottish pub name reminding us of a sight gag in The League of Gentlemen). Williams and his cast and crew set out to make a good-natured, goofy, gory horror comedy and that they, for the most part, achieved it is heartening. Take it for what it’s intended to be and it’s a good time.
It’s easier to support our homegrown talent when they produce something confident like The Slayers. Hopefully, Williams will be able to build on what he has managed here and it’ll be interesting to find out what’s next for him.
THE SLAYERS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JOHN WILLIAMS / STARRING: DARREN MCAREE, MATTHEW SANDLAND, GEORGE NEWTON / RELEASE DATE: TBC