Combustible Celluloid Review - Slayers (2022), K. Asher Levin, Zack Imbrogno, K. Asher Levin, Thomas Jane, Kara Hayward, Jack Donnelly, Lydia Hearst, Malin Akerman, Abigail Breslin, Adam Ambruso, Ash T
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With: Thomas Jane, Kara Hayward, Jack Donnelly, Lydia Hearst, Malin Akerman, Abigail Breslin, Adam Ambruso, Ash T
Written by: K. Asher Levin, Zack Imbrogno
Directed by: K. Asher Levin
MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, and language throughout
Running Time: 88
Date: 10/21/2022

Slayers (2022)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Undead End Job

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Though it's fairly shallow and exceedingly busy, the spiffy horror-comedy Slayers uses an old-style movie hero to cheerfully skewer social media and all its foibles, with vampires thrown in for good measure.

Elliot Jones (Thomas Jane) became a vampire hunter after losing his teen daughter to a bloodsucker. Now he's on the trail of a dark lord, a powerful, centuries-old vampire illuminati called Steven Rektor (Adam Ambruso). He gets his big chance when Rektor and his wife Beverly (Malin Akerman) invite an immensely popular group of social media influencers, known as the Stream Team, to his spacious compound.

Elliot tries to warn the streamers — who include Jack (Jack Donnelly), Jack's fiancee Liz (Lydia Hearst), Jack's gamer sister Flynn (Kara Hayward), and good-time girl Jules (Abigail Breslin) — about a potential trap. And indeed, something fishy is going on, involving a new vaccine that promises to make humans immune to all disease. With the others falling under the influence of Rektor's wealth and glamour, Flynn is the only one who believes Elliot. So it's up to the two of them to try to save humanity.

Slayers starts off at full-speed with tons of images and graphics flying at the viewer, explaining the history of vampires and vampire hunters. Fortunately, it's accompanied by the snarling, seen-it-all voice of Jane's Elliot Jones, who is in the same mold as Kurt Russell's Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China. He cuts through the chaos and establishes himself as our rock, an anchor we can trust.

The younger cast members are just as well-played, hyper-focused on image and branding, but still coming across as humans with human concerns. Hayward's Flynn only winds up siding with Elliot because of a natural pessimism (she has a built-in pouty sneer), whereas the others are too easily blinded by money and fame.

The handling of social media itself feels dead-on as well, which is not always so easy to do. (Other influencers, commenting on the vampire chaos, are seen getting distracted by their own advertising.) The vampire stuff isn't terribly fresh or scary, but the movie's real concerns, i.e. digital disengagement, hit home vividly.

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