L.A. Slasher
R
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -2

Mischa Barton, Abigail Wright. Comedy/crime/fantasy. Directed by Martin Owen.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A biting, social satire of reality TV and the glorification of those who are “famous for being famous,” L.A. Slasher takes aim at the current state of the entertainment industry, where it is acceptable (and even admirable) to gain influence and wealth without merit or talent – but instead through shameful behavior, and the notoriety that comes from it. Driven to rage over the tawdry excess of reality television, a self-appointed cultural crusader kidnaps several famous nobodies to make his point - but his crimes only generate more tabloid frenzy.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I agreed to see this R-rated film because the subjects of reality TV and the glorification of instant celebrity are worthy of exploration and even mocking. Meant as “biting social satire” concerning how one comes to fame these days, the film lacks a Chayefsky-like punch. Writer Paddy Chayefsky brilliantly sent up TV and the medical profession in Network and The Hospital clear back in the 1970s. Stanley Kubrick made a solid argument for the futility of war in his comic Dr. Strangelove, and Jason Reitman was still able to conjure up satire for his Thank You For Smoking in 2005. Today, however, there’s a different process to filmmaking and a different mindset to comedy, so even the well-intentioned find it difficult to bring parody and revelation to moviegoers. It’s not that this younger generation is stupid. Far from it. But they have digested so much crudity that’s meant to pass as humor, and sarcasm passing for insight that thoughtful wit just doesn’t connect with today’s media slaves. (If you eat nothing but hamburger all your life, your taste buds are suspicious of the first bite of filet mignon.)

Again, before you young people think I’m putting you down, I’m not. You’ll know much more than I do. And you’re better looking. Well, most of you…But you’ve daily been subjected to entertainment outlets that wrongly pass for teacher, guru and caring friend. They feed you want they want. They aim at your baser instincts. And they aggressively redefine right and wrong – and make it seem logical. For examples of how I feel about today’s court jesters, go here.

L.A. Slasher strikes me as too close to being an exploitation film, much like those seen in drive-ins during the 1980s. But in defense of the filmmaker, I don’t think that was the intent. He could have included Saw-like brutality, but he avoids excess. He has the villainous nutjob wearing a white suit, surgical gloves and a see-through mask wherever he goes. (No one on Hollywood Blvd gives him a second glance.) I guess he resents the spoiled, mean girls and the pimps that give them a stage, so he kidnaps and tortures them, releasing some, evidently to spread the word – don’t be a user.

Here’s my main problem with this production. It does a weird physiological job on the viewers. We are taught in the film to dislike the plasticness of these characters and their views to the degree that subconsciously we are glad to see them suffer for their misdeeds. What’s more, we seem fascinated by how the nutcase harms them. (We’re repulsed but can’t look away.) The digital camera focusing in on the victims reminds us that nowadays we can watch someone tortured on line – for real. People seem fascinated by watching horrific acts done to their fellow planeteers. It may disturb even the most moral of us to view such acts, but we soon go our way without much regard for those whose lives have just been altered against their will.

The characters are one dimensional, lacking any substance, and it’s difficult to care about them. We just get to watch the nasty girls get frightened, and/or murdered.

Not sure I’d call that entertainment. Also, not sure L.A. Slasher will get anyone to rethink the value of reality TV.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: JWright Productions

Summary
Crude Language: Several crude sex jokes
Obscene Language: The f-word is used around 40 times, with several uses of the s-word.
Profanity: “Oh my God” is used a couple of times, but I caught no other profanity.
Violence: While people are harmed, kidnapped or threatened, the filmmaker cuts away before it all becomes excessive; that said, it’s all disturbing.
Sexual Intercourse: Sexual situations, but nothing graphic
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Brief drug use
Other: None
Running Time: 86 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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