Killers in a Santa suit. As far back as 1972 the film version of Tales from the Crypt had a segment featuring one. To All A Goodnight and Christmas Evil came out practically unnoticed in 1980. They were however considered shocking enough to picket in 1984 when Silent Night Deadly Night came out.
But now it’s 2020 and there are more killer Santas than the real Santa has elves. How do you make a film Like Slayed stand out? Well, if you’re writer Jim Klock (Massacre on Aisle 12, Red Letters) and his co-director Mike Capozzi you set it in a sewage treatment plant.
Five years ago a killer dressed as Santa Claus abducted several women and killed them in Harris County’s water treatment plant. It was dubbed The Harris County Massacre and the killer was never caught.
Officer Jordan (Jim Klock) is a security guard sent to watch over the plant on the anniversary of the killings. He has no clue about its history, but he’s already had a long day thanks to the plant manager Nicole (Coel Mahal) and her violent tempered husband Dale (Delton Goodrum). It’s about to get a lot worse as he and Crandle (Mike Capozzi), the only survivor of the massacre, find Heather (Kyra Kennedy) bound in plastic and dumped on the grounds. And a severed arm floating nearby.
At first, I thought a sewage treatment plant was an odd place to set a killer Santa film. But by halfway through Slayed’s 74 minute running time it made perfect sense. This film is one of the biggest pieces of shit I’ve seen in a long time. It even makes The Nights Before Christmas look good.
It starts promisingly enough with a flashback to the original killings. But then we get seemingly endless scenes with very unlikable characters being unlikable to each other. Nicole is an obnoxious bitch and Crandle just creeps around glares and snarls. There’s a long sequence when he checks on weapons he’s stashed all through the plant. Weapons that, with one exception, never get used.
Ninety percent of Slayed is characters running around in the dark, hearing a scream, then running someplace else and making incredibly stupid decisions. Or in the case of the killer, incredibly obvious ones. If you’ve seen more than a couple of slashers you’ll figure the killer’s identity very early in the going. Yes, there’s a twist, but we’ve seen it before and it’s fairly obvious as well.
Of the remaining time, another large piece is taken up by two extremely long and excruciatingly awful monologues from the killer. They’re obvious padding to help the film reach feature-length. Actually, if you took them and most of the pointless running around out, Slayed could be a segment of an anthology film. Just not a very good one.
To its credit, it does look good for a film shot in ten days. And despite its low body count, Slayed does have a couple of good effects. But that’s it, the rest of the film borders on unwatchable.