I love slasher films and am not ashamed to admit it, as much maligned as the genre is, I have a soft spot for the giallo’s less stylish sibling. I also hate reality tv to an equal degree, it’s a freakshow with little to do with reality and less with entertainment. So a film about a killer targeting reality show stars should be a natural for me, right? It should, but it’ll have be a lot better than L.A. Slasher to get my approval.
The film starts with the star of one such show being found wandering in the hills outside LA suffering from multiple stab wounds. Video of it is posted online by somebody claiming responsibility and quickly goes viral. We are then introduced to assorted reality show stars, or rather way over the top caricatures of what we see on reality tv. They’re so overblown that there’s no real connection between them and what we see on our tv. Given the likes of the Duggars, (19 Kids and Counting), Paris Hilton or any of the gold diggers on The Bachelor/Bachelorette there really wasn’t any need to exaggerate this characters, or at least not by much. The idea is to make them so obnoxious you want them to die, but instead they’re so obnoxious you can’t stand to watch them or the film. None of them even have names they’re introduced by on screen titles as The Pop Star, The Teen mom, The Stripper, etc.
The killer hides himself behind a Micheal Jackson mask and has a thing for 80s style pop music. The film’s theme song is a genuine 80s gem ABC’s Look of Love, (though I would think Poison Arrow would have been a better choice). He also gives us long monologues about his hatred of the shallowness of LA and all it’s wanna be stars. Having him voiced by Andy Dick gives it a layer of irony that’s one of the most amusing things about the film.
Indeed, the cast has a lot of familiar names, Mischa Barton, Eric Roberts, Danny Trejo, Brooke Hogan and even a pre Guardians of the Galaxy Dave Bautista. The problem is the script gives them nothing to work with. It’s never as witty as it thinks it is or even close. The killer’s rants are even more annoying than his victim’s actions, and the irony of him seeking his own fame by posting videos of his actions and choosing his title LA Slasher from a list is handled in such a heavy handed fashion it’s effect is lost.
Possibly it’s due to the fact the script is credited to five people, three main writers and two others for “additional writing”. With so many people involved and what looks like rewrites to try to fix problems it’s quite possible the original focus was lost. I do give them credit for deviating from the cliché killing on the set of a reality show plot and using a sleazy TMZ/Perez Hilton type show as a source of updates is a fun touch, but overall it’s a mess.
The gore and kills are weak and uninspired for this kind of film, director Martin Owen seems more concerned with fancy camera work than the staples of the genre. It seems to have impressed somebody though as he’s already shot another film, Let’s Be Evil, and about to start on yet another. Pretty good payoff for what I would say was a close second to Green Inferno as the year’s worst film. L.A. Slasher has a great idea, but the execution fails on every level.