Judge Daryl Loomis wonders if Slaughter Daughter worries about Stranger Danger.
Terrible daughter. Perfect killer.
I am extremely glad for digital cinema, in that it allows filmmakers to see their dreams to reality in a way they never before could have afforded. This is especially true in the horror genre, and I have seen a number of solid movies that otherwise would never have been made. The downside to this is that it also allows misguided vanity projects to just as easily reach the shelves and the viewer is forced to wade through a whole mess of this garbage to find those gems. Now, I don't know that I would call Slaughter Daughter a gem, per se, but it's a worthy entry that indie horror fans will appreciate.
After being stood up on her wedding day, the mental state of Farrah Adjani (Nicola Fiore, Bloodbath in the House of Knives) begins to deteriorate. At the same time, she opens communication with convicted serial killer Jackson Miles (Tim Dax, The Incredible Eric), and cuts off her own pinky and sends it to him to prove her devotion. After some time at the asylum, she comes home just in time to see her mother (Leesa Rowland, Class of Nuke 'Em High Part II) marry a rich man for his money. Seething with rage and insanity, Farrah finally visits Jackson in prison, who guides her on her new path to get the ultimate revenge.
Slaughter Daughter is an interesting, if not a great horror film. Director Travis Campbell (Mr. Bricks: A Heavy Metal Murder Musical) has created a far more character-based movie than most horror directors are willing to risk and, as a result, it has a better impact than many of its ilk that I've seen. Now, in order to build the characters of Farrah and her mother, gore and body count get sacrificed, but while that might turn off the bloodhounds out there, it's okay by me. Still, it takes nearly fifty minutes before there's a body, and the intervening time has something of a soap opera feel to it, I felt the weight of the characters far more than just a series of onscreen murders.
Almost all of the credit for this goes to Nicola Fiore, who is excellent in the lead role. Far smoother than your average indie horror star, she comes across as a real actress, not just somebody to strip and scream for the camera. The rest of the performances are nondescript at best and poor at worst, but Fiore makes up for all of it by carrying the entire weight of the movie.
The blood effects, when they finally arrive, aren't anything special, but they're effective enough and Campbell doesn't dwell on them, letting the imagination do most of the work. Between that relative subtlety and Fiore's performance, there is enough of value here to mildly recommend to indie horror fans, though maybe not to those obsessed with gore, who will find the first hour of them movie boring and pointless. I'd rather have more stuff like this, so I come away happy, looking forward to the next project that features Nicola Fiore.
Slaughter Daughter comes to DVD from Brain Damage Films in a better-than-expected edition. The 1.78:1 anamorphic image definitely reflects its budget, but it looks fine for what it is. It's clear enough, with no blocking or digital artifacts, though it does have an overall flat look with colors that certainly aren't as bright or saturated as you'd want. The sound is average, at best, but the dialog is clear enough and there's no noise. It's a little tinny, though certainly not as bad as some that I've seen.
Brain Damage has included an interesting set of supplements to the film, more than normally show up on a movie of this level. The blooper reel is worthless, as outtakes almost always are, while two deleted scenes add little to the film. The promo video serves as something of an unconnected teaser, setting up the mood of the story without giving anything away. The interesting part is the eight webisodes that appeared online in 2011. These deal with Farrah during her time in the asylum, as she speaks to a therapist about various issues regarding her confinement. These, while not particularly exciting, reinforce the excellent work of Nicola Fiore, as she's believable and compelling sitting at a table talking to the camera. We rarely get much from independent horror DVDs, but this is a solid slate of extras.
Slaughter Daughter isn't going to set the indie horror afire, but it's an interesting, if slow, look at the mental breakdown of a woman and the family that caused it. It's a little light on the gore and there's a long setup before any of it comes, but for horror fans with a little patience, there is plenty to appreciate here.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Brain Damage Films
• Deleted Scenes
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