It isn’t that I dislike them because – in all honesty – I have a fondness for damn near any kind of artistic bloodletting. My issue with them so far as SciFiHistory.Net’s Horror coverage is that many of them are a bit too conventional, essentially bringing nothing fresh, new, or innovative to the table that merits a written discussion (or dissection). Though I will pen articles for older releases finding new life on home video or streaming if there’s something to offer fans of genre entertainment, that list tends to be few and far between. Naturally, I prefer leaving space available for things I enjoy, meaning that I hope you’ll share in my delight by checking these more unique titles out.
But I’m thrilled to say I spent the last eighty minutes chuckling my way through a little something something called Slashening: The Final Beginning (2020).
Little did I know going into it that it’s a sequel – curse you, cinema gods! – but I can assure you that I had absolutely no knowledge of the first installment and caught onto this one’s action very quickly. In fact, I’d argue that approaching this one with little to no awareness of the original may’ve caused this review to tap into the storyline and these characters with a bit more appreciation than others; I did a quick scan of reviews online, and – as par for the course – I enjoyed this indie comedy probably far more than others who blog. Such is life.
So sue me.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last few paragraphs for the final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From the film’s IMDB.com citation:
“Five years after ‘The Slashening,’ 22-year-old Madison Santangeli moves to Brooklyn to start a new life in the wake of her father’s suicide.”
Full disclosure: it helps going into The Final Beginning with full awareness that this is a micro-budgeted independent film comedy. Not a lot of money was spent on this flick – for some of us who appreciate smaller films, that only increases its charm – and that means the cast and crew were required to put in a lot of extra sweat, blood, tears, and elbow grease to make it come to life.
I thought this one was near genius.
Yes, we’ve seen them all before, either in life or on film; and because we can go into whatever circumstances the script deems necessary we almost know how they’re going to react. Some of the humor is entirely predictable – other instances it’s gleefully demented – but that doesn’t make it any less funny. Much like the films of Christopher Guest wherein backwater everyday types get their chance to bask in the limelight if only briefly, each of Bassham’s crew gets a moment uniquely his or her own … even if it’s to go out in a singular blaze of glory at the end of a knife … or a chainsaw … or a cleverly-placed bong.
In some ways, this is the kind of humor the Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, and David Zucker brought to films in the 1980’s when their seminal Airplane literally destroyed its competition with laughs. Part satire and part sheer lunacy, Airplane worked because audiences didn’t quite know what to expect, but they were willing to go back time-and-time again because – simply put – it was just so damn funny. The Final Beginning mines similar territory but lampoons the slasher picture and its tropes much like the Scary Movies did in their better days (well, before they got a bit tired and started throwing anything at the screen). Smart and prescient, the script manages to turn the tables (in more ways than one) on its characters – and maybe even its audience – in a last reel surprise that needs to be seen to be appreciated.
Now I’ll need to go back and check out the original just to see what I may’ve missed in the first outing. Here’s hoping it doesn’t dampen my appreciation of the follow-up.
Slashening: The Final Beginning (2020) was produced by Annum Films and Troma. The film is available for streaming via the Troma website. As for the technical specifications? I believe this one was shot on high-definition digital, and it looks and sounds fantastic from start-to-finish.
Highly recommended. At 80 minutes, this lean and mean indie comedy might not be a crowd-pleaser, per se, but I found plenty to appreciate in its offbeat sensibilities. While there were a sequence or two I’d suggest were a bit ‘beneath’ it stylistically (gross-out humor never was my thing), I was able to grin-and-bear my way through, and I’m glad I did. While others may’ve been disappointed in its ending, I thought it all came to closure with exactly the same tone it began.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Troma Entertainment provided me with a complimentary streaming link of Slashening: The Final Beginning (2020) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.