By Nick Kokoropoulos
The Slaughterhouse Killer depicts what happens when an isolated psychopath, Box, and a parolee, Nathan, bond over butchering pigs. With their friendship and advanced access to instruments of torture, the terrible twosome wreak havoc on their rural Australian community.
While this film has almost all the makings of a solid horror experience: a clear antagonist, realistic gore, and relevant societal critique, it lacks the most important: suspense, the adrenaline hit that comes from feeling of out of control, the “Don’t open that door!” factor.
The most successful aspect of the movie is the development of Box. Box is truly a vile human being, and director/co-writer Sam Curtain does a tremendous job of outlining that throughout the movie. Played by Craig Ingham, Box has one true love and it’s taking life, whether animal or human. He showers with a bucket and sponge, stalks attractive women, and fetishizes the humiliation of others. His outcast status and punching bag persona exacerbate his murderous tendencies but do little to draw any pity from the viewer. He is a wonderful person to oppose.
In contrast to the fleshing out of Box, the film fails to foster a deeper connection (good or bad) between every other character and the viewer. Consequently, it is in this underdevelopment that the movie fails to develop any suspense. Nathan, Box’s sidekick and protégé, is a troubled man, but he is entirely impersonal. Very little is let on about his background or personal life. Details of his past are vague, and his girlfriend, Tracey, who plays a significant role, does not appear, nor is she mentioned, until the halfway point of the movie. With little to no attachment to his character, (minor spoiler alert) the tragedy surrounding him falls flat.
The film further fails to build suspense by the lack of acknowledgement toward any community hysteria. People are disappearing for ostensibly no reason (Box and Nathan do a good job of cleaning up); yet, aside from one brief appearance of the police at the slaughterhouse, no one seems to be unsettled, let alone afraid. Even when Box sees the cops arrive at his and Nathan’s place of work, he easily dismisses them and any consequence they may bring. With no consequence, there is no thrill.
In the case of The Slaughterhouse Killer, less is not more. The movie only lasts 75 minutes. A little more dialogue, a little more background detail would have done wonders for the viewing experience by entrenching the audience into the rural Australian town and into lives of the characters not named Box. Just 15 minutes longer in the oven to enliven the setting and to establish the underlying severity would turn this decent movie into a re-watchable movie.
Final Review: Undercooked.