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Slasher – Season One (Blu-ray Review)

SlasherThis summer, venture into the town of Waterbury with Sarah, a young woman who returns to where she was born, only to find herself the centerpiece in a series of horrifying copycat murders based on the grisly killings of her parents. As the murders escalate, long-buried secrets are revealed, making everyone around her a suspect…or a victim. The thrilling first season of Chiller’s original hit series SLASHER – which recently concluded its run on-air this Spring – stars Katie McGrath (Jurassic World, Dracula,Merlin), Brandon Jay McLaren (Chicago Fire, Graceland, The Killing), Steve Byers (The Man in the High Castle, Alphas, Smallville), Dean McDermott (Ecstasy, CSI) and Wendy Crewson (Saving Hope, Revenge). On July 12, 2016, SCREAM FACTORY™ will release SLASHER: SEASON ONE on Blu-ray andDVD.  A must-have for horror enthusiasts, this eerily terrifying series features a generous dose of suspense and blood-curdling violence. Both the Blu-ray and DVD will include a behind-the-scenes featurette.  

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Season 

Thirty years ago, in the sleepy community of Waterbury, a killer known as “The Executioner” murdered Sarah Bennett’s parents. Now Sarah and her husband Dylan have returned to town, only to find herself the centerpiece in a series of horrifying murders centered around the seven deadly sins. It seems “The Executioner” is back. But if Tom Winston – the original Executioner – is behind bars, who is the new person behind the mask? As the murders escalate, long-buried secrets are revealed, making everyone around Sarah a suspect…or a victim.

Horror has been carving out a new chapter for the genre on TV for the last few years.  Original shows and new adaptations of horror classics have been taking over the premium networks with acclaim and popularity.  It was only time before the slasher genre got a stab at it.  Previously, Scream found a new life on MTV and Scream Queens played on Fox.  I rather liked Scream and thought it was better than it had any business being.  Scream Queens, well, I gave up because I couldn’t take it any more, despite my respect and admiration and fandom of Jamie Lee Curtis.  In comes Slasher, on the horror network Chiller TV.  How would this one make its way through a multi episode stalk and slash?

A big difference between Slasher and its fellow colleagues, is that this one is far less jokey and colorful than those.  This one is much more grim and dour.  And that’s really to its detriment.  Everyone here is super serious and plays things like each word on the page as biblical scripture.  It does become problematic because the show does hit a lot of ridiculous territory with some odd and very soap opera-like twists.  Not helping matters is some awkward and silly dialogue in big important moments.  Had the characters been a little more fun instead of super serious and the series kinda took a step back on itself to realize what’s going on, this show may have seen a pretty significant improvement.

This cast is full of people you kinda have seen, but maybe not.  Katie McGrath leads the way as Sarah, who returns to the town she was born, moving into the house her parents were murdered in.  McGrath, you will remember as the assistant who had the insanely over the top, wicked death in Jurassic World last summer.  She’s pretty solid, even if her accents slips through here and there each episode.  There aren’t any real standouts here aside from Patrick Garrow who plays Tom Winston, the man who murdered Sarah’s parents.  Acting really isn’t the strength of this series, but its passable enough.  There are some weak links, but enough decent to average it out.

Season One weaves itself a pretty wild whodunit mystery mixed with some elaborate kill sequences.  There are some cool deaths and gore effects on display for sure.  Our killer’s path is pretty clear and straightforward once all is said and done.  Its the red herrings that really convolute this whole thing up.  There are wild, crazy and some laughable connections, twists and turns in this to make people a suspect and then turn around have it all be something completely off.  But, like I said, this thing can tend to have a very soap opera aspect to it, so if you are able to see that, then its kind of fitting.

Of the three slasher series that have aired, this one probably falls in the middle.  At a quick eight episodes, the show is kind of a trudge.  Each episode has some good hooks and decent intrigue, its just full of an unfun, super serious attitude that keeps some enjoyment.  Plus all the characters in this are far older than your typical venture in this genre.  Scream: The Series is the best jaunt in this, but Slasher took a decent stab at it.  Its far more tolerable than the unbearable Scream Queens.

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Episodes

01 An Eye For An Eye

02 Digging Your Grave With Your Teeth

03 Like As Fire Eatheth and Burneth Wood

04 As Water Is Corrupted Unless It Moves

05 Ill-Gotten Gains

06 The One Who Sows His Own Flesh

07 In The Pride Of His Face

08 Soon Your Own Eyes Will See

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Slasher’s inaugural season debuts on Blu-ray with a transfer that is an uptick from what I compared it to on Netflix.  The image is crisp, sharp and features plenty of grisly details.  Wood grains, dirt/dried blood on knives, wallpaper, clothing textures and patterns and hair follicles all show some good clean detail.  Its a modern show, shot digitally and looks just as good as should and is expected.

Depth:  Decent work.  Movements are smooth with minimal blurring.  Spacing between objects, people and environment is fine and natural.

Black Levels:  Shading levels on the blacks look pretty rich and still hang on to detail in hair follicles, surfaces and clothing textures and patterns.

Color Reproduction:  Colors hang a kind of muted, naturalistic tone to them.  Blood does gush vibrantly red. There is also a very golden-like filter on other scenes.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout.  Makeup, wrinkles, stubble, scuffs, scrapes and such all show plenty of detail and definition on faces from most all distances.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA 

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  As expected, Slasher gets a pretty solid and above average performance with its 5.1 audio mix.  Sound effects are a highlight as the mix has fun embellishing in many of the attacks and kill sequences.  Splatters and impalements are well rounded and a thing of beauty.

Low Frequency Extension:  Music stings for jump scares, characters bumping into things and some extra oompf on the stabbings all come from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The 5 channel presentation accurately portrays all movements and characters/sounds relative to where they are on screen.  Rear channels are primarily there for ambiance and lighter scoring moments.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clean.

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Extras 

Slasher – Season One is a 2-disc set. The bonus feature is on Disc 2.

Behind-The-Scenes (HD, 14:59) – Seemingly a basic set of cast and crew interviews that were done during shooting with a lot of fluff and set up on the characters and story.

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Summary 

I had big expectations for Slasher’s first season.  It was a show I wanted to love, but its tone kept it from being completely enjoyable.  The show has its moments, but ultimately falls in the more average/mediocre range.  Scream Factory’s Blu-ray presentation is far better than average/mediocre as its quite terrific.  There’s not much in the way of bonus, but its something.  For the collector’s and fans of the show only, as those curious can check out the show on Netflix currently.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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