John Williams (The Mothertown, 2014) brings back the ‘feel good horror movie’ in a Brit Flick with real bite, The Slayers (2015).
Williams’s second feature film tells the tale of two hapless brothers, Job (Matthew Sandland) and Nigel (Darren McAree) who break away from a religious cult, known as the ‘BSCC- Big Scary Comet Cult’ to make the most out of their final two weeks on earth before supposedly ascending to heaven. The brothers devise a bucket list consisting of all the things they have never gotten to do then head off in a Campervan travelling around some of the UK’s most prolific locations from Blackpool to the Lake District and then on to Scotland.
Job and Nigel don’t anticipate that their fun-filled journey is set to be plagued by evil vampires! The two begin to play the heroic card and team up with veteran vampire slayer Reg (George Newton) to take down the bloodsuckers. Hilarity ensues throughout this fun, well-paced, enjoyable Horror-Com that proves itself to be a must-see for fans of low budget independent horror.
The script which was also written by Williams, contains naturalistic, funny dialogue which aids the likeability of the unassuming main characters. When it comes down to balancing horror and comedy, British genre films tend to this well, incorporating light relief amongst outlandish and macabre moments. Williams certainly achieves this. The narrative itself is traditional horror with the notion of ‘the outsider’ coming in, in this case the brothers unintentionally discovering the existence of the vampires. Instead of turning back, with nothing left to lose and a believed fortnight of life left to live, Job and Nigel take matters into their own hands and fight their fanged opponents alongside a selection of quirky characters.
Williams also adds little nuances into the script that remain consistent throughout the film. One of Job’s items to tick off the bucket list is calling his nearest and dearest and hilariously telling them exactly what he thinks, no holds barred!
The Slayers isn’t a ‘scary horror film’ as it generates more laughs than terror which makes it more accessible for audiences who are generally more sensitive to horror. That said, there are some great gory moments in store, including a skull impalement which sees the victim’s blood running through the object like a tap! The impressive special effects courtesy of Graham Taylor who has worked on Inbred (2011) and The Herd (2014) are creatively done returning to the old-school style of FX that horror fans are familiar with and appreciate.
The Slayers contains an infectious soundtrack with punk and ska tones that accompanies the film’s essence of fun and upbeatness. However, the main theme composed by Kate Cubely features enchanting female vocals and an ethereal mood about it. It’s an excellent horror movie theme in its own right.
Shot in both Staffordshire, England and Scotland, The Slayers has some breath-taking location cinematography filmed by Will Price. There’s that isolating, middle of nowhere feel present as Job and Nigel drive down endless roads and settle in mountainous areas. There’s an aimless quality as the locations allow plenty of scope for a threatening entity to reveal itself at any given point. Williams also uses imaginative animated transitions to progress the story along while the opening credits have a stylistic edge to them.
The Slayers is layered with fun pop culture references from Back to the Future to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Krankies of all things which demonstrates Williams’s appreciation for his film/TV influences and sets the tone for the self-awareness the film encompasses. The Slayers is pure fun; it doesn’t restrict itself to a specific vampire lore and looks like a film that all involved had a real blast making.
John Williams has a promising future ahead of him in genre cinema with his next feature Crispy’s Curse centering on a cold-blooded clown currently in post-production. With The Slayers, he has proved he has the talent for creating horror that echoes back to traditional monster movies and slashers that fans can eat up.
The Slayers Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Slayers-1555861784666895/
John Williams on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6071536/?ref_=tt_ov_dr