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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Review: The Slaughterhouse Killer

Director: Sam Curtain

Screenplay: Benjamin Clarke and Sam Curtain

Year: 2021

Box has been working in the same slaughterhouse for decades, but he has never gotten a promotion to a position higher than his current one as a slaughterer. Maybe because his boss and workmates don’t like him or because he is too good at what he does, but Box doesn’t care that much; he enjoys his work. Nathan, a young man out on parole, is hired at the slaughterhouse and, because of his experience, Box is put in charge of showing him around.

Box (Craig Ingham; “Aiyai: Wrathful Soul”) takes protecting and educating his new protege very seriously, and he ends up killing one of his workmates, who had been pulling bad-taste pranks on Nathan (James Mason; “The Grand Scheme”). To his surprise, Box discovers that no only him enjoys killing, but that Nathan shares the same fondness. Both men start killing people together until an event takes Nathan to his limit, and he decides he no longer wants to take part in the killings, something that doesn’t sit well with Box.

It shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who has seen the poster or the trailer for this Australian film that it was produced with an extremely tight budget. It should neither come out as a surprise that this is one of its limitations. What is surprising is that the budget, to a certain extent, forces the attention to be put on the characters and their development, which helps the movie be better than expected.

The director Sam Curtain (“Blood Hunt”), who also cowrites the script with Benjamin Clarke (“H+”), takes the idea of presenting a dirty and nasty image from the start seriously. Just by seeing the conditions of Box’s house makes it clear that there is something wrong with this man, and this aspect continues to be developed in the other scenarios. Considering the clear differences in quality, this constantly grim look is reminiscent of the style used in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or “The Devil’s Rejects”, where you can almost smell the surroundings shown on screen.

With a name like “The Slaughterhouse Killer”, a few deaths in the movie are to be expected. This is another aspect that is limited by the low budget, but that is positively influenced by the protagonists’ work and their characters. Box is a massive and intimidating man, and the actor knows how to use these characteristics to his favor. In every scene where we see Box doing what he enjoys the most, we see a brutally aggressive man without remorse, which can only be described as frightening, and things get worse you think about that this is something that might actually happen.

“The Slaughterhouse Killer” has many limitations because of its modest budget, but these same limitations force it to direct the attention to the character development and to benefit in the process. The movie doesn’t offer much gore, but how the deaths are filmed and Craig Ingham’s acting are nothing far from brutal. With a larger budget and a better-polished script, we would be discussing a movie in a completely different category.

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