REVIEW: The Quacky Slasher
– By Kriss Pickering
Do you know, as I’ve got older, I have really developed a taste for short films by the star directors of tomorrow. I have really started to appreciate the love and attention that goes into what is usually a passion project for the writers/directors, and they usually reek of originality that many of today’s features sadly lack.
“The Quacky Slasher”, the latest short film that I saw was from talented English writer/director Peter Mckeirnon, is a classic example of that originality. Mckeirnon has packed the film’s 35 minute runtime with absolutely loads of laughs and has a great retro atmosphere. To say he has managed it all with a budget around a grand(£), the lad should be brimming with pride.
But what is it about? Well, the film follows a guy called Michael Quackers (Andrew Butterworth). Michael has just spent 20 years locked in a mental facility after being traumatised as a kid. After he breaks out, he takes it upon himself to rid the town of its seedy underbelly, by taking out the criminals that frequent it. To protect his identity, Michael dons the duck suit, and his quest leads him into battle with everyone from hitmen to sex shop owners! But will our feathered hero succeed? You will have to give it a watch to find out!
I’ve got to be honest, I loved this film. It’s Monty Python like humour and over the top acting suits my sense of humour down to the ground. It’s also a testament to the writer that none of the humour feels forced. International viewers should be warned though, it’s humour is VERY British, and may not translate well to an American audience (for example).
While the film is essentially a horror comedy, the script is heavily weighted towards the comedy element. Much of this humour comes from the interactions of the two “TV style” detectives investigating the crimes. It’s a real lampooning of the many detective shows that has littered British TV over the years, and is very reminiscent of the brilliant “A Touch Of Cloth”. As well as the nods to detective shows, there are subtle nods to some of the slasher classics, like Halloween or Friday the 13th (the directors take on the latter’s KiKiKi, MaMaMa iconic sound effect drew a chuckle from me).
I also got a bit of a kick out of the acting too. It’s hard to really rate it, as the dialogue was deliberately delivered in an over the top fashion, but everyone on screen was entertaining. The stand out performer though, was Neil Gallagher (who also featured in Mckeirnon’s previous short, “Swings & Roundabouts”) who played three parts in the film, with his best performance coming in the form of a concerned cockney mother. He (or she) also has some of the best one liners in the film too…
Technically, Mckeirnon has done a brilliant job. Being a very low budget production, you obviously don’t expect any fancy long tracking shots, but it is reasonable to expect the framing to be on point and you won’t be disappointed here. The film is also well lit and the sound quality is perfect (which is something that seems to be an issue with a lot of low budget films).
But while I loved the majority of the film, there were one or two things that had a negative effect. Firstly, I would have liked more emphasis on the “slasher” element of the film as the script is heavily tilted in the comedic direction. I know it may just be my personal preference, and obviously the budget has an effect, but more slasher shots would have helped make the comedy stand out more.
The other thing that I found a bit of a letdown, was the lack of gore. Barring a bit of blood splatter here or there, it was almost none existent. Personally, when I choose to watch something with the word “Slasher” in the title, plenty of blood is a prerequisite, in my opinion of course.
But overall, I am a big fan of this film and can overlook the niggles I’ve mentioned. At 35 minutes, it’s a bit longer than a lot of shorts, but I thought it worked well. If you are into the comedy of Monty Python or The League of Gentleman, then this is right up your alley! This film, along with Swings & Roundabouts has shown enough of Peter Mckeirnon’s talents that I for one will be looking out for more of his work in the future…