When it comes to low budget, independent film production in the UK a new face has just appeared on the horizon. It is that of the Mycho Entertainment Group who, along with feature length film production, have also been busy dipping their toes into the waters of music videos, digital artwork design and music recording services. The statement on their website�s homepage by Managing Director M J Dixon enthusiastically speaks of the company�s desire to develop "...energetic and engaging work..." along with a commitment that the fruits of their labours be a "more creative visual experience".

So when it came to a full length motion picture written, directed, edited and photographed by the individual making these intriguing assertions, we simply had to have a sneaky peak.

The film in question is SLASHER HOUSE and with a tagline reading "Four Killers. One Girl" my key was snugly in the front door ready to turn�

Starting in an abandoned prison, an unfortunate young lady (we later find out to be Felissa (Eleanor James)) awakes from a seemingly forced slumber into a treacherous scenario. It seems her memory has been abandoned along with her clothes meaning naked, weary and disorientated she tries to fathom where and indeed who she is.

The web of mystery increases as crudely painted signs entice her into playing a game. Initially she is willing to engage. A striking red dress, that matches her equally salient crimson tresses, is positioned next to a daubed instruction simply saying "WEAR ME". The next directive is not so comforting however as the words "USE ME" accompanies a heavy duty axe!

Confused, she explores her incarceration further and soon discovers that not only is she not alone, but her fellow inmates are all sinisterly united by death� Cleaver (Andrew M Greenwood), Corben (Wellington Grosvenor), Thorn (Alex Grimshaw) and Nathan (Adam Williams) all have shadowy pasts ridden with the evil of their murderous ways. Seemingly perplexed as to why she is entangled with such a malevolent group, she enters a race against time. Will her memory drip back in time for the truth to be revealed or has her mind blocked her real origins for a reason...?

When accessing the movie online, the facilitators made a real point about the fact that the stream was a �standard� version while going on to emphasize the retail DVD and Blu-ray will be in HD. It was an interesting point to make as a lot of the time low budget movies can indeed benefit from a rougher looking production as superior clarity often exposes the pictures financial restrictions. But in the very opening scenes of SH, I could understand why such a proclamation was made about the screeners� slighter quality.

The distinct lighting which graced the movie was captivating from the very off. As Felissa awakes from her kidnapped slumber, her environment is bathed in lime tinted illumination. In stark contrast to this was the red of Felissa�s dress, hair, lips and nail polish along with a heart shaped balloon and even a few cans of Budweiser. The conspicuous decoration set against the emerald milieu made for a wonderfully divergent landscape. This defined luminosity was a notable trait throughout the movie with some latter outdoor scenes plainly draped in steely blue.

Staying with the movies aesthetic, the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio also conveyed an arresting cinematic panorama. Some stirring camera angles utilised the broad vista by choosing curious positions in which to shoot the tale.

The movies appearance also had an injection authenticity with the chosen setting. Rusting window frames, bars and pipes along with botched up plastered repairs on decaying walls gave the movie sturdy surroundings for the mystery to play out. I have seen a few �prison based� horror movies where the whole narrative is derailed due to a glamorous building. I have even seen prison bars CG-ed into the picture! But SH at least had a good blend of surreal lighting and camera work contrasting with the aforementioned ragged structure to make this a watchable 90 minutes.

Unfortunately it wasn�t all positives. Some rather lame dialogue complete with inane one liners only served to cheapen the whole production in my view. Humorous retorts are one thing but feeble lines such as "You�re a man.. kick the door in!" from our main female protagonist actually made me cringe a little. Then there was an extraneous �near kiss� moment that was completely out of context of the developing atmosphere. It is of course possible that such palpable female vulnerabilities were telegraphed in order to enhance the twist at the movies climax. Even so, I couldn�t help but feel that shrewder more subtle methods could have been employed to achieve this.

Considering the movie had such a forthright title, I deemed the gore aspect of the movie to be a little restrained. The standout violent highlight was when one of Thorns� custom made machete blades unexpectedly jutted through a victim�s chest after spearing their back. Dixon got this one spot on as it was staged brilliantly and featured a suitable splurge of blood. Thorns� blades were again put to good use, lopping off a couple of arms in his own little back story sequence, though the scene did lose points for the rather glaring use of CG.

All too often though, the actual �slashing� was just a tad bland. A head-saw sequence was frustratingly obvious that the circular spinning blade was nowhere near the skull while a �human drilling� sequence was portrayed with a mere few spots of blood being flicked against a wall. I am not saying that every movie has to have lashings of blood (though it would be nice!) I am just making the point that for a movie called SLASHER HOUSE there just didn�t seem to be anything overly graphic about it.

For me the undeniable strong point of the movie was its unique style. Maybe Mycho�s MD simply took on just a little too much by undertaking a quad of tasks. With a sharper script and more inventive narrative I would be very interested to see what Mycho are capable of conjuring in the future.

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by Safecracker Pictures
Region 2
Rated 18
Extras :
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