First of all, I have to say a massive thankyou to Kristian Hanson and John B Sovie who are the writers and directors of this low-budget slasher flick called “Sledge”. Kristian was kind enough to send me a screener of the film a few months ago. I haven’t watched it a second time as I have been busy watching other films, so I apologise if I make any mistakes in this review. I think I remember the film pretty well so I should be right (haha). The film stars mostly friends of John’s that include Dustin Bowman, Travis Hanson, Stephanie Tupper, Tina Faygo and of course the writer Kristian as “Adam Lynch”. This tale tells the story of “Adam Lynch” who is a crazy horror movie fan who has lost his grip on reality. He believes he’s in a video game of sorts. A young group of teens go camping in the woods only to discover Adam is stalking them and looking to do what he knows best, kill.
I know what your thinking, this sounds like the plot description for every other slasher film over the last 30 years. You’re right this is! It knows exactly what it is and doesn’t shy away from letting you know that. After talking with Kristian for the last few months I have gained more of an insight into what he was aiming for when he wrote this. For example this slasher is made on a shoestring budget. 800 dollars for actually shooting the film and approximately $1,200 in flights around the US. A total of $2,000 was spent on this film. Have you ever tried to purchase a motor vehicle for that type of money? You know what you get? Rubbish, I’m happy to say that’s not the case with Sledge.
We get a funny little introduction to the movie through a tv program called “Assly’s True American Horror” which shows your slasher movie of the week type of deal. A young woman sits back and watches the events that occur to our group of teens in the woods as they unfold. This is a clever little nod to the movie within a movie concept, I liked it. The entire cast does a very solid job, keep in mind these are people who have little to no acting experience and did it for the love of the genre. The audio for the most part is pretty good, it always seems to be an issue with low-budget horror films. Though several times it’s difficult to hear the one liners and banter from our killer, due to the mask muffling the clarity of the dialogue. It’s also shot very professionally, nice still shots and close personal camera work. Nothing ever appeared to be shaky. However, the editing was a little ugly in a few places and could just use a bit of smoothing out.
Some of the comedy throughout the film was solid too. I thought the references to some of our favourite films from years past (not necessarily horror either) were pretty funny. Adam Lynch’s one liners like ” I’ll just go around the other way and get you” were great. A few jokes pushed the boundary of political correctness and fell a little flat. A few issues with the lighting in the night scenes needed some work too, but the daytime shots looked glorious. Most of the film actually takes place in the day, that was a really nice change of pace for the horror genre. I think we needed to see a higher body count and more action. This isn’t a reflection of the script or the ideas Kristian may have had. I think it mostly comes down to the budget, there were probably just to many limitations with what could be achieved with such a small amount of money.
I spoke to Kristian several times about the kill sequences. They all take place off-screen and it’s just the aftermath that appears in the frame. I’ve seen low-budget films with amazing blood/gore and prosthetic effects but you still need money and a team of people with the know how to accomplish it. All the small issues aside, this film is just good fun. It’s production value is outstanding, the acting is solid and the humour in the character of Adam Lynch was something we don’t see in horror films these days. Kristian and John made the absolute most of what they had to work with.
If you’re a hardcore slasher fan and you like a few good laughs, you should check this out. Don’t expect a million dollar movie or critique it with that mindset, because you will be sorely disappointed. I would say that this is the best teen in the woods slasher film that could possibly be made for $2,000. You won’t see anything better. If you’re in LA check out the film festival premiere and if your elsewhere in the world, I guess you will just have to wait for Adam Lynch to come and get you!
My rating for “Sledge” is 5.5/10