'L.A. Slasher': Film Review

L.A. Slasher Still - H 2015

L.A. Slasher Still - H 2015

A genre time-filler that isn't nearly as smart as it thinks

A masked man hopes to rid Hollywood of shallow fame-seekers. (Good luck with that.)

Only slightly fresher than a retiree's typed-on-onionskin screed to the local paper about the state of pop culture, Martin Owen's L.A. Slasher sets a masked doofus loose on a town he cleverly dubs "Hollyweird" and its fame-obsessed, talent-free denizens. Completely lacking the wit — not to mention suspenseful pacing or interesting gore FX — that might sell this effort to horror buffs, it has only a few B-list names in the cast to give it commercial hope once it segues from theaters to VOD.

Owen's debut film revolves around characters so clichéd he doesn't bother naming them: "The Socialite," "The Heiress" and "The Teen Mom" are some of the grating young women targeted by the eponymous slasher, who instead of killing them puts taunting videos of them online. The always-masked man is voiced by Andy Dick, who sounds like he's imagining what Iggy Pop would sound like imitating Jack Nicholson playing Travis Bickle. As he picks off his victims (easy enough, since they're always alerting the Twitterverse to their whereabouts), the Slasher decries their vapidity and pathological need for attention. It's a cultural critique that is no less tiresome for being correct. While Owen's film is every bit as hollow and thinly scripted as the TV shows he hates, one gets the feeling near the end that, God bless him, he really thinks he's teaching us something.

Performances are generally lousy in a cast including Mischa Barton and Danny Trejo, but then, Owen's script gives his actors awfully little to work with. While some questionable musical choices indicate a desire to evoke the '80s, little else in the look or feel of the picture supports that goal.

Production company: JWright Productions

Cast: Mischa Barton, Dave Bautista, Drake Bell, Brooke Hogan, Abigail Wright, Tori Black, Frank Collison, Marisa Lauren, Danny Trejo, Andy Dick, Eric Roberts

Director-Screenwriter: Martin Owen

Producers: Martin Owen, Jeffrey Wright, Daniel Sollinger

Director of photography: Chase Bowman

Production designer: Cassandra Surina

Costume designer: Brittany Ann Cormack

Editors: Keith Croket, Emanuele Giraldo

Music: Mac Quayle

Casting director: Neely Gurman

R, 84 minutes