The Lashman (2014) – By Kirsten Walsh

There have been rumblings around the horror community for quite a while about “The Lashman”, and it is worth every whisper about it. The film is a hilarious throw back to its predecessors of slasher films, keeping the tongue in cheek humor, the over the top splatters, and the easy to follow storyline intact for the viewer. In a brief synopsis of the film, it follows a group of 5 teens heading off to a cabin for a “romantic” weekend. Of course, they are hunted down by The Lashman for being unruly teens and disturbing his peace. It follows the traditional structure of a (somewhat supernatural) slasher film.

Writer/ director Cameron McCasland really does show his love for the horror genre. His dialogue throughout the film is true to form with its witty humor and biting retorts. Also, in a blatant homage to the classics, female nudity occurs within the first two minutes of the film. Most of the characters come across as traditional stereotypes: the jock, the whore, the virgin, the nerd, etc. but the writing carries a unique quality to each one. Some of the lines are also borrowed from films that definitely inspired McCasland, including “Halloween” (1978). The overall storyline is standard and simplistic with only the plot lines of the teens and then of the cops tracking down the killer. The pacing of the film moves along more so with development of the main group taking up the majority of the first and second acts. With the relaxed pace, the film is once again harkening back to the golden era of horror films, where splash and splatter wasn’t needed in every moment of the film.

While the film is entertaining and fun, there are a few factors that give away the budget of the film. Sound is super important when it comes to exposition, and with this film, it sounds like all of the dialogue was recorded live onsite, and not touched up too much in post production. In some takes, the nature noises in the background cover up the lines and make it more difficult to understand what the characters are saying, and the sound switches with the camera angles. The actors do an excellent job with their characters, and cover most of the sound issues with their talent. The nature sounds definitely work for the film though, and do an excellent job bringing the audience into the campfire with the characters. Most notable would be Billy Prescott (David Vaughn), which is also an homage to “Scream” (1996) characters Sydney Prescott and Billy, one would assume.

One of the highlights of the film is definitely the “flashback” scene, which is reminiscent of “Hatchet” (2006). It serves to tell the story of The Lashman, and is set in the old west. The locations are awesome, and the production design is excellent as the audience watches how The Lashman was borne of blood and magic. During this sequence, director McCasland, in a Hitchcock like moment, also makes a quick cameo as the saloon bartender. With the cause of The Lashman told, more deaths are sure to come, but McCasland makes the audience wait, and makes it worth the while.

So talking special effects, the kill methods are quite interesting. The aspect of a whip or lash being able to penetrate the skin is exaggerated, which fits in with the tone of the film. It would have been nice to see an actual whip crack or some fancy moves from The Lashman, but without gives him more mystique. Director McCasland finds some truly innovating ways of revealing just the right amount of gore to entice the viewers, but not to oversaturate the film with blood.

Would I watch this film again? Yeehaw and heck yeah! With a fresh take of a classic idea, “The Lashman” is a spooky fun film that inspires me to watch all of the “Friday the 13th“ films- right after I finish this one again!

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