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Overall Rating

Awesome: 38.24%
Worth A Look41.18%
Average: 20.59%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 22 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"Yet another documentary that raises no questions that need answering."
3 stars

John Landis has made plenty of movies that merit praise. This is the guy that gave us Animal House, Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London and more, so when you hear he's done a documentary, you can't help but be compelled to line up for a ticket. Landis' new foray into the documentary world, Slasher, however, seems to indicate that he's forgotten more about comedy than he knows about documentary filmmaking.

I always thought a slasher was a genre of film where chainsaws and heads meet a little more often than you'd hope. Little did I know that a slasher is also a gun for hire in the used car sales world. He'll be called upon to hold a 'slasher sale', where he'll show up with a posse of sales people, a DJ, and scantily clad women, with a view to filling a car lot with potential buyers and having them each walk away with a cheap car.

At least that's the plan. Michael Bennett is one such slasher, and when he's not boozing it up at home, he's on the road, paid five figures to roll into town and orchestrate sales that he claims bring in anywhere between 30 and 150 sales over a weekend. As Landis' camera watches, Bennet goes about his business in a bizarrely organized way. The flyers go out, the street signs are posted, and the word hits the streets that the car lot will be selling cars for as low as $88 - yes, $88.

Benett's view is that a price like that will bring in hundreds of potential buyers, who he can convince to buy something that costs a little more. Good in theory, but how dos it go in practice?

That's the meat of Slasher - the process that goes into the sale. For all Bennett's faults as a person (and even he would agree he has plenty), he sure as heck knows how to throw himself into his work. His customers aren't so keen, and seem to fit into two categories; reluctant buyers and people who won't pay a cent more than $88, no matter how big a bargain sits in front of them.

The meat is there, but what's missing from Slasher is the guts. What does the owner fo the car yard think of all this? What do the fulltime sales staff think of having a mercenary in their ranks? What do the customers think of all this? why do they keep walking away?

Certainly there's something to be said for slice of life documentaries where it's up to the viewer to decide ona topic, but what exactly is here for us to decide? It seems to be a case of pointing a camera at a subject and hoping he does the rest, and Slasher's Michael Bennett doesn't do enough to help Landis get away with that. Granted, the subject matter isn't the Vietnam War, but Errol Figgis' The Fog of War gets so far into the head of its subject that you feel crowded in there alongside the rest of the audience. With Slasher... not so much.

Which isn't to say that Slasher isn't prefectly watchable. It's very definitely worth a little of your time. But only a little.

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originally posted: 03/15/04 08:35:38
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/11/06 Joseph P. Hughes Mr. Bennett has a difficult job and it is wearing him down. Good soundtrack. 4 stars
5/01/06 Dani Scott Hes my F@**king hero 5 stars
4/09/06 Jammer This flick is a diamond in the rough! My fav indie film of all time! 5 stars
8/18/05 the actual mudd movie was great,cause I am in it.thanx again mr landis. 5 stars
1/23/05 Jeff Anderson Now this the John Landis film I've been waiting for. GREAT DOCUMENTARY AND BLUES SOUNDTRACK 5 stars
8/04/04 Jean check it out, it's entertaining. Also great score 4 stars
7/23/04 john pratt it was a good film cause the acting was great. i might go see it again. 4 stars
6/30/04 Dealer I give it an A+ for Authentic view of the business! 5 stars
6/26/04 Larry Hultberg EXit Realty What a great look behind the scenes of a used car co. very well done 4 stars
6/25/04 HOlly VanScoy Interesting. 4 stars
6/22/04 Stuart Good Movie Wish the sale was more successful 4 stars
6/21/04 Jay Absolutely brillliant! Superb soundtrack! 5 stars
6/21/04 Ron Evensen A slice of life indeed. Just proves why the Framers didn't trust democracy. 4 stars
6/20/04 sandra Interesting glimpse of this man and his life. Wish we could have see him after the sale. 4 stars
6/20/04 Embo Terrific little movie! Fascinating, funny -- and oddly even a little moving. 4 stars
5/21/04 The Grinch Similar to American Movie...brash yet endearing protaganist, the baldheaded dj guy ruled 4 stars
4/09/04 The Slasher thought it was good but we missed alot, U-cant bottle lighting at one sale. Memphis great 4 stars
3/17/04 The Slasher thought it was good but we missed alot, U-cant bottle lighting at one sale. Memphis great 4 stars
3/17/04 Rachel Joseph I really enjoyed SLASHER. I thought it was very real, sad, and insightful. 4 stars
3/15/04 Boombah Baby It was aight. A little long. 3 stars
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  19-Jun-2004 (NR)
  DVD: 13-Jul-2004



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