Slasher films are usually extremely straightforward. Guy meets girl, guy attempts to murder said girl, and girl usually survives after facing off with her assailant, who’s left a bloody trail of bodies behind him. With a simple plot like this, many bargain bin slasher flicks end up having tons of filler scenes in between the necessary slashing, just to hit a feature film runtime. Shant Hamassian, however, does the opposite with his short film Night of the Slasher, an extremely condensed but coherent horror movie that doesn’t miss a beat.
The short begins by introducing us to Lily Berlina as Jenelle, a scarred young woman nonsensically dancing in her underwear, waiting for her date, played by Scott Javore. As the night goes on, she slowly checks off her Horror Movie Sins list, until the eponymous slasher (Adam Lesar) shows up at her house, wearing what I can only assume is a deformed Leonard Nimoy mask. A horrific battle for survival ensues, as Jenelle must confront the familiar killer one more time.
Hamassian is obviously a fan of the genre, and though the film excessively pokes fun at old clichés, it’s done with a certain respect. Of course, making fun of slasher movies isn’t a new idea, so the film does lack in the originality department. In any case, the execution makes up for any lack of depth, not to mention the amazingly-directed action sequences as Jenelle faces the murdering maniac, which are the highlight of the film.
Berlina does a great job at portraying both innocence and cunning in her role as Night of the Slasher’s final girl, and though she works well with Javore, her interaction with Adam Lesar’s faceless and voiceless killer completely steals the show. It feels like she’d be at home in an actual 80s horror movie, and it’s clear that this is what the director is going for with the corny yet thrilling atmosphere that horror buffs know and love.
Night of the Slasher isn’t quite groundbreaking cinema, but the brief yet charming characters and story make up for any of the minor faults present in the film. The ending is also unique in its use of dark humor and subversion of expectations, though it doesn’t explain much of the movie’s bizarre events. With this film, Shant has concocted a ten minute love-letter to slasher films, complete with cheesy 80s music over the end credits. Although not everyone might appreciate the effort, I recommend this movie to any fan of the slashers of yore.