A biting, social satire about reality TV and the glorification of people who are famous for simply being famous, “L.A. Slasher” explores why it has become acceptable and even admirable for people to become influential and wealthy based on no merit or talent – purely through notoriety achieved through shameful behavior. Disgusted by the tabloid culture which celebrates it, The L.A. Slasher publicly abducts a series of reality TV stars, while the media and general public in turn begin to question if society is better off without them. Written and directed by Martin Owen
A review by Christopher M. Jimenez
What is reality? What is fame? Who deserves it? All valid questions in today’s society. Hell, I lived through the era of excess and looking back, I have to say that as plastic as it was, at least it was tangible. Everything now has become virtual and no one is real. This is the cancer of our generation. But what if there was a cure? A magic blade that could cut the black from our souls and save us as a people? Would we rally behind this or stamp it out for attempting to take away the beating heart that drives the blood of modern living? All these ideas are present in the film L.A. Slasher, a film that dares you to look in the mirror and interpret the events you have witnessed.
L.A. Slasher operates on a heightened reality. It introduces us to its “stars” at a breakneck pace. You have the reality star, the heiress, the teen mom, and so on… We jump from party to party, tweet to tweet, as we are thrown into the world that is our own, both alien and shockingly familiar. The L.A. Slasher has an agenda. To hold a mirror up to society’s face and force it to confront its true ugliness. One by one, “celebrities” disappear, but no one seems to care on a personal level. Instead of worry and fear, we are confronted with indifference and opportunism. Things escalate and blood is spilled, but where it is heading is up to interpretation, even as the final curtain falls.
There are no real characters in the film, only archetypes, and it is not hard to spot the thinly-disguised personalities on which they are based. No one is off limits in this film. From the Mayor to a couple of drug dealers, the L.A. Slasher is out to touch the lives of the corrupted or unlucky.
As for the talent, the film is filled to the rim. Whereas Mischa Barton and Marisa Lauren are at the center, it is the surrounding cast that really shines. Elizabeth Morris as The Heiress is particularly great and her dinner party scene while drugged up is a highlight. William Nicol as the CBuzz host who chimes in with news flashes reminds me why I don’t watch entertainment television. Abigail Wright as the reporter is perhaps the most grounded as the voice of reason and window into morality for most viewers (I hope). With all that going on, the scene-stealers of the film turn out to be Dave Bautista and Danny Trejo as two drug dealers on a mission, but not on the same page. As with most characters in the film, they are both funny and surprisingly authentic.
Which brings us to the L.A. Slasher himself. We don’t learn much about him, but his ravings are that of someone who thinks he is right and knows that his actions are insane. He lives in a world of constant stimulation and blends into the chaos of the narrative. That being said, there are moments of realism that sent a chill down my spine. After a blood-soaked encounter, we see the slasher’s hand shaking uncontrollably as he attempts to pour a cup of coffee. It’s a blink and you miss it moment that adds a sense of reality to his actions (no pun intended). Andy Dick is the voice of the Slasher and plays him with a restrained madness that is both hilarious in pitch and creepy in tone.
L.A. Slasher is at its best, an odyssey through modern Los Angeles with strong echoes of Brett Easton Ellis. It is not about a linear plot, but the experience of living in these times and the morality of the people who populate it. Every action has multiple interpretations and the line between reality and fantasy is blurred as to create a lucid dream like state that is in effect like sleep walking through an acid trip. This is helped by the excellent 1980’s soundtrack featuring ABC’s “Look of Love”, Go West’s “King of Wishful Thinking” and Divine’s “I’m so Beautiful” among others.
There is a lot of comedy in the film. Not the kind that invokes belly laughs, but that knowing smirk because you’ve been there. At its heart, if L.A. Slasher disturbs for any reason, it should be because it really isn’t heightened at all. The Twitter-fueled world of high priced living and low empathy is our own, a world in which I live and interact daily. You can call it “Meta” or “self-aware”, but really, the film is just “current”. These are the times we live in.
Is the film for everyone? No. But good art shouldn’t be. It should be interpreted by the individual and value applied accordingly. The film is creepy at times, surreal, funny, and thought-provoking. It is bloody and bloodless and never gives you a clear line of life and death. This is a film that wants you to think. Is that a bad thing? Well, we live in a society where people don’t attend the school of thought on a regular basis. So again I say, you must see it and judge for yourself. But take the time to absorb it, because if you are only looking for surface thrills, you may end up the subject of the sequel.