Slayers, not to be confused with another recent vampire comedy The Slayers, opens with a voiceover by Elliot Jones (Thomas Jane, Murder at Yellowstone City, Vendetta) telling us about the covert war between humans and vampires as a montage of images flashes by. He’s soon introduced as a slayer and our badass narrator.
He then proceeds to introduce The Stream Team, or as he calls them, “these fucking idiots”. Jules (Abigail Breslin, Final Girl, Zombieland: Double Tap), Liz (Lydia Hearst, The Haunting of Sharon Tate, Titanic 666), her fiance Jack (Jack Donnelly, Atlantis, Friendsgiving), and his sister Flynn (Kara Hayward, Manchester by the Sea, The Sisterhood of Night ) and their manager David (Ash T, It Wants Blood!, Caralique)
They’re a group of influencers who have been invited by biotech billionaires Steven (Adam Ambruso, Blind Ghost, Atomic Shark) and Beverly Rector (Malin Akerman, The Numbers Station, Final Girls) to visit their mansion to discuss a sponsorship deal. The Rectors are, of course, vampires. That’s not a spoiler, our badass narrator tells us it and even adds red eyes and fangs to their pictures.
Director K. Asher Levin (Dig, Alexander IRL) and co-writer Zack Imbrogno (Save Me, The Shadow Diaries) managed to have me hating everyone in Slayers by the ten-minute mark. The Stream Team is even more bland and annoying than real life most real-life YouTubers and Instagram/TikTok influencers. That’s intentional. Jones, however, the viewer is supposed to take to, like Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China. Burton annoyed me, Jones is downright obnoxious. His tough guy narration is grating rather than funny as is his almost obsessive need to shit on everything modern.
Equally obnoxious is the film’s frequent use of rapid-fire editing and gimmicks like the “Humans vs Vampires” scoreboard that keeps popping up. It even shows up when Jones is recounting the death of his daughter, which was one scene that probably should have been played straight. It still isn’t funny with it, but it ruins any impact he scene might have had in regard to making us care about him.
With the number of targets Slayers aims at the film shouldn’t have needed gimmicks. It sets its sights on horror films, social media, environmentalists, billionaires, and conspiracy theories among others. Unfortunately, almost none of its jokes are actually funny.
Granted it might be a while before I find killer vaccine jokes funny, but nothing else works either. Especially not the comments during the live streamed vampire hunt. That stopped being funny years ago. Genre fans may get a laugh out of the filmmakers using footage from Horror Express repurposed as historical footage of vampiric activity, and the recycling of a really bad idea from Near Dark, however.
Ironically a couple of scenes actually manage to build up a bit of tension, making Slayers more successful as a serious film than it is as a comedy. Not that that would be difficult, Levin and Imbrogno keep trying to push buttons and be edgy but much of their material feels as old as the Batman-style pop-ups during the final fight scene. And compared to what I see float past on social media, the film’s conspiracies are very unimaginative.
Maybe if the script had kept its focus on vampires it could have worked up some scenes that were as funny as Levin and Imbrogno think they are. Instead, Slayers tries too hard to make fun of too many aspects of modern life and ends up being no fun. You’re better off watching Fanged Up or Vamp if you want a vampire comedy, even Dracula: Dead and Loving It is better than this.
The Avenue Entertainment released Slayer to theatres as well as VOD and Digital platforms today, October 21st. You can check out their website for more information and a director’s statement that’s so pretentious it’s funnier than anything in the movie.