Halloween Highway: Sl8n8 (Slaughter Night)

For more than a decade noone wanted to make a horror movie in Holland. All of a sudden two appeared out of nowhere. The first was Sl8n8, the second Dood Eind. Whereas the former took pride in a star-studded cast (read: four people you already knew from other movies), the latter went for the special effects. More about Dood Eind (Dead End) later in the year, tonight we focus on the movie with the crappy title. The Dutch word for Slaughter Night (the film’s international title) is “slachtnacht” and – wouldn’t you know 8 is spelled “acht” in Dutch. Hence the clever Sl8n8. It’s enough to make one skip the movie. Well, of course they thought it would draw the mobile phone generation to the theatres, being all wicked with its use of numbers.

Next up: the cast. This is led by Russian-Dutch icequeen Victoria Koblenko and Kurt Rogiers, who’s Belgian and excels in appearing in terminally hip Dutch shows and crappy movies. Now that’s promising! The rest of the cast are unknowns, which – combined with the knowledge that the movie includes the word ‘slaughter’ in its title – enables you to guess just which two characters will survive the night.

Whereas Dood Eind has the advantage of my having seen an interview with the creators (where they expressed their love of horror movies), Sl8n8 has me puzzled: I’m still not sure whether this was an attempt to make a genuine horror movie (for the love of the genre) or an attempt to mix as many horror clichés together and make the mix look like a movie.

Bear with me as we’ll dissect the plot: Kris, a young girl (Koblenko), is in having a row with her father when their car is hit by a truck. As the trucker tries to get her dad out of the vehicle while Kris is calling the emergency line, the car explodes. After his death Kris imagines hearing her father’s footsteps and finds out about his work when the window suddenly blows open in the middle of the night. Also, the tv set suddenly starts playing, but this is apparently normal and the only electronic device to behave abnormal in the entire movie. Anyway, Kris volunteers to get her dad’s stuff from his office in Belgium. It turns out that dad was writing a book about an alleged devilish person. Anyway, Kris heads to Belgium with her bunch of annoying friends and, judging by everyone’s reactions, the Dutch mourn the dead for just about 38 hours. Her father’s boss sort of forces her to visit a tour down the mine shaft, claiming her dad couldn’t stay out of the mine himself, and so down Kris and her friends go, together with a Belgian guy (Rogiers) who’s taking a disfunctional brother and sister down the mine for therapeutic reasons. Therapy is apparently quite different in Belgium.

Anyway, despite the guided tour being there on regular hours, someone forgot about this tour group and closed off the electricity which helps the elevator go up. So what does one do while the tour guide is going to climb up an alternative way up (a ladder, conveniantly located somewhere completely different)… oh, why not a lovely session with the ouija board? Anyway, the ghost of the devilish person (who, after killing seven – sorry, se7en – people was forced to work down the mine) enters one of the Belgians in need of therapy, the possessed Belgian hits a Dutch girl on the head (massive head wound) and runs away from the group. Not really wicked, eh?

And that’s when the shit really hits the fan: both in the movie and for the viewers. In the movie the eight – sorry, 8 – find out that, according to the legend, it would take the devilish man exactly eight people to get out of hell. Oops! Eerily enough, whenever a person is possessed by the demon their teeth deteriorate. I kid you not, they suddenly have bad teeth. It is probably the first movie where demonic spirits are linked to tooth decay. And if you thought that still made sense… how about the elevator that seems to work only when the characters need to get up? Or the demonic entity also taking the elevator up to chase some victims, thus completely ignoring the demon was allegedly trapped in the mine?

But all this is not even as bad the most awful thing about the movie: in order to look cool the directors wanted to shake the image during the action scenes. To do this, they must’ve hired a cameraman suffering from the worst case of Parkinson’s disease, strapped in a wheelchair with uneven wheels. I swear, the only way you can sort of see what’s happening in Sl8n8 is by furiously headbanging in the opposite direction. After five minutes of this movie you’re exhausted!

Anyway, in case you become too tired to watch the climax of the movie: it’s quite predictable and you’re not missing much. To be fair, Victoria Koblenko is a good lead, but there’s nothing for her to lead: not the rest of the cast you can’t warm up to, not the cliché-ridden plot, not the awful camerawork. One can only hope Dood Eind will prove to be a bit more fulfilling. If you wait more than a decade for a homegrown horror movie (provided you’re Dutch) and are treated to a bag of clichés any Hollywood movie could’ve given you, you can only feel disappointed.

3.5/10

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One thought on “Halloween Highway: Sl8n8 (Slaughter Night)

  1. Kashuba May 12, 2009 / 11:49

    Sweet! I feel like I just dug up gold 😉

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