STUDIO: Lions Gate
MSRP: $112.99


The Pitch

The annual independent horror festival returns for 2009 with a new octet of films.

Reviewed in the second installment: Voices and Slaughter.

Korean speakers – help a reviewer out. Is this or is this not the title card?
There are five of them. Maybe they help explain this pointless movie.


The Humans

Cast: Jin-seo Yun, Gi-woong Park, Ki-woo Lee

Director: Ki-hwan Oh

The Nutshell

After Ga-in’s sister hurls her aunt from a balcony, the teenager finds herself unraveling the mystery of what seems like a malevolent family curse. When they’re not being murdered or turning on each other, Ga-in’s family members have a persistent habit of getting killed. Dozens of corpses and an ocean of blood stand in the way of Ga-in from learning the truth about her family and the cause of the murders.

From the “What Billy Mays is Pitching in Hell Right Now” file:
Nikkatsu’s Splatter Knife Rack

The Lowdown

Voices isn’t a notable member of this year’s Horrorfest flock. Its lockstep adherence to Asian horror tropes – a deadly curse, the school setting, murderous ghosts – will seem all too familiar to anyone who’s seen DarkJuOnRinguEyeMissedCall. There’s a surprisingly similar film (Voice) about a killer ghost in a Korean prep school that not only resembles Voices, but even shares its title.

Voices’ premise, which turns Ga-in’s family violently against her as they’re possessed by a curse, has some merit; if a knife-wielding psycho is unnerving, it’s even more so if that knife wielding psycho is your own Mother. Voices also has a clean and polished look, which really helps
when wading through the sea of worn-out horror cliches and groaner jump scares peppered throughout the film. There’s also a ton of blood, so if you’re looking for a mess, there’s that.

Noriko forgot to tell her visiting sister that the tub in the guest bathroom had a bad
habit of Poltergeisting.

Unfortunately, Voices‘ bloody and often pretty pieces never come together as part of an interesting or unique package. Ga-in is a stand-in for every J or K-horror hero girl you’ve ever seen, and she’s probably the most interesting out of all of the film’s characters. As a result, it’s hard to care about the curse, which makes most of the move drag.  Voices is fucking glacial. I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored in front of so much blood.

There’s a twist ending that’s sure to leave you scratching your head, and while it’s a surprise, it’s not enough to mitigate the bland, indistinguishable pile that came before.

The Package

Bonus Features include a short featurette and the theatrical trailer. A decent Dolby 3/2.1 track and better than average video make the experience a little more palatable.

Would this have made for a better 30 minute Tales From the Crypt episode:

No. This wouldn’t have made a better 30 minute anything.

2 out of 10


The Humans

Lucy Holt, Amy Shiels, David Sterne

Director: Stewart Hopewell

The Nutshell

After an abusive relationship implodes, leaving her homeless and terrified, Faith (Amy Shiels) flees to the countryside where she befriends Lola (Lucy Holt), a playful farm girl with an unusual appetite for rich men. When Lola invites Faith to move in, she accepts, only to find out that the slaughterhouse down by the pond might be used for more than just pigs. When Lola’s one night stands start disappearing, Faith starts to suspect murder. Lola’s reclusive and creepy Dad, pictured below, fails to assuage her suspicions.

“Wouldn’t you know it, the pigs are playin’ games up on the shed again.
That roof ain’t meant for them pointy pig hooves!


The Lowdown

They say you can’t spell it without laughter, but Slaughter is no laughing matter.

It’s a much more coherent experience than Voices, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Slaughter‘s an odd duck, if only because it takes so long for it to reveal itself as a horror film. From the point where the mysterious (and potentially violent) Lola meets Faith to the bloody final twenty minutes, it’s all character setup. Those who complained about Hostel having a slow lead-up to violence will loathe Slaughter.


But they’d be missing the point, because Slaughter‘s one of the more interesting films in the pack. It doesn’t try to ape a common horror template, as nearly every other film in Horrorfest III does; it might feel like a little like a melodrama for the majority of its running time, but patience and attention are more or less rewarded with a brutal and shocking finish.

Lucy Holt and Amy Shiels are believable enough as Slaughter‘s leads, and David Sterne exudes a sick unpleasantness as Lola’s father. Like most of the other films in the set, there’s an underlying cheapness to Slaughter, evident especially in its grating score and not-always successful supporting cast. As a standalone film, there might not be enough to recommend seeking this out, but if you’ve already taken the plunge and purchased this horrorfest set, you’ll do far worse that Slaughter. Far, far worse.

Roommate Death Prank #327: Shotgun Alarm Clock

The Package

Bonus Features include trailers and a short featurette. There’s nothing much more here worth nothing beyond a standard 3/2.1 audio and a reasonably good SD video presentation.

Would this have made for a better 30 minute Tales From the Crypt episode:

A judicious edit of Slaughter might have made for a good TFTC episode.

6 out of 10