Slaughterhouse Rulez Review
You’ll get more than lines if you misbehave at Slaughterhouse!
Providing a surprise reunion for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Slaughterhouse Rulez has a slow start, but when it gets going, it’s all good fun.Crispian Mills, frontman of Britpop band, Kula Shaker, has teamed up with Simon Pegg once more for his second directorial debut, Slaughterhouse Rulez. This film also marks the first release for production company Stolen Picture, set up by Pegg and Nick Frost back in 2016. With nods to British cult classics throughout and some social commentary thrown in for good measure, Slaughterhouse Rulez may have more going for it that it seems.
It’s like a strange mash up of Harry Potter, If…, Tremors and maybe an air of The Breakfast Club.
Don ‘Duckie’ Wallace (Finn Cole) is about to start a two year stint at Slaughterhouse public school, a place where the privileged upper classes send their offspring in preparation for inevitably becoming the world’s future leaders. But for Don, a humble northerner, he doesn’t quite fit in. So, it makes perfect sense that he’s bunking with Willoughby Blake (Asa Butterfield), an outsider of equal proportions with a moody disposition and a personal vendetta against one of the older prefects.
If the name of the school wasn’t enough to put you off, the school’s mythological roots combined with the bizarre greek inspired sexual goings on of the sixth formers, just might be enough. But to make matters worse, the fracking that’s taking place within the woods on the school grounds is a means to generate more funding, claims the Headmaster, played brilliantly by Michael Sheen. But this quick and easy money maker comes at a much higher price.
When the frackers unwittingly cause a gigantic sinkhole to emerge they also accidentally release a long forgotten and buried menace that starts to wreak havoc amongst the student body. A group of students, headed up by Don and Willoughby, are forced into survival mode as a number of their peers fall victim to this seemingly unstoppable force of nature.
There’s a lot going on in Slaughterhouse Rulez and this could be both its downfall and saviour. It seems adamant to tick all the boxes and try its hand at a variety of genres such as comedy, drama and horror, which it does manage to pull off for the most part. There is definitely a lot of influence taken from other films with more than a couple of nods to Pegg and Frost’s previous works together, but it doesn’t feel too in your face and could easily be overlooked.
It’s a bit slow to get going and the first third could almost seem like the first part of the latest teen soap-opera on E4. But once it gains momentum and the blood starts gushing it quickly becomes very enjoyable and makes up for the slow start. There are a few more serious notes that are mentioned which don’t bring the mood of the film down but equally aren’t really given enough depth to be anything more than a passing conversation. Visually, it is quite a slick film, definitely reading from Edgar Wright’s playbook in places and the latter half of the film is drenched in slapstick comedy horror, which always makes for good viewing.
Once it gains momentum and the blood starts gushing it quickly becomes very enjoyable and makes up for the slow start.
Cole’s Don is enjoyable to watch as he tries to find his feet amongst the hordes of rich kids who live by the rules of Slaughterhouse, while he isn’t afraid to step out of line and attempt to do his own thing. Butterfield plays Willoughby down to a tee - a definite archetype of a British public boarding school and fixture in many other films. His dry sense of humour plays out well alongside Sheen’s stiff upper lip Headmaster who has some brilliant moments, albeit brief. Simon Pegg plays Meredith Houseman in a very Pegg role, only this time with a posh accent. There are a few narrative threads that seem thrown in for good measure without any purpose or reason; such as Nick Frost’s character who is given a backstory that doesn’t go anywhere and Houseman’s love interest, played by Margot Robbie, that only consists of a few Facetime phone calls but is made out to be a significant part of the story.
Slaughterhouse Rulez is far more enjoyable than it looks with some genuinely funny moments and some great comedy/horror gore. It’s like a strange mash up of Harry Potter, If…, Tremors and maybe an air of The Breakfast Club - but only towards the end. Despite the slow start, once it gets going, it’s a fun watch that doesn’t require any brain power and with a fairly concise running time, it’s an easy way to spend an evening.
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