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Ben Nagy reviews ‘Slaughter Drive’: Intrepid Pennsylvania Trio Defends Their Cul-De-Sac From Sibling Killers

A struggling filmmaker and his two teacher buddies square off against a couple of bloodthirsty killers over the fate of the people living on a Pennsylvania cul-de-sac in "Slaughter Drive."

More a buddy comedy than slasher, there’s some good gore effects and a smirk or two for good measure

Death comes to a western Pennsylvania cul-de-sac in the form of a murderous brother and sister and it is up to a struggling filmmaker and his two schoolteacher pals to fight back in Slaughter Drive.

Ben Dietels is the mastermind writer/director and star of this independent feature produced by BPO Films. He and the two other main protagonists in this one developed Slaughter Drive over a number of years in western Pennsylvania.

Doug (Ben Dietels), at right, receives a homecoming he didn’t quite expect after returning from a failed film festival junket in “Slaughter Drive.” (Screen capture from DVD by reviewer Ben Nagy).

Ben plays filmmaker Doug, who is devastated after a poor experience at a film festival and then slightly less devastated when he gets home and finds his pretty-much-ex-wife Gina moaning and mounted upon some other guy in his bed in his house.

Completely defeated, Doug lets em finish, grabs a guitar, sings a song, crashes out, gets served breakfast by his pal Rob (Blake O’Donnell), skateboards around his neighborhood, visits a park and has a slushie to try to find inspiration in what has been a pretty sucky homecoming for him.

Oh, yeah — I forgot to mention — this whole thing started with a husband and wife in the neighborhood getting killed when someone hid in the trunk oftheir car while the wife was bringing home food. The food didn’t get eaten, and they get killed, showcasing the first of a number of great practical effects done by Cody Ruch.

Doug, though, doesn’t know about any of that, which is why he doesn’t get the hell out of there when he runs into Mark Flowers (Seth Contkovic), the guy with the really big hedging shears who says he “bought the place with his sister” while Doug was away.

From left, Gene (Ryan Lintner), Doug (Ben Dietels) and Rob (Blake O’Donnell) discuss snacking protocols as they plan their stakeout for the killers who live on Slaughter Drive. (Screen capture from DVD by reviewer Ben Nagy).

After his introduction to Mark, Doug finally is able to get some of his inspiration back thanks to Rob and Gene (Ryan Lintner), who alternately mess with him and lift his spirits as longtime bros can. But a planned video shoot in the local park catches evidence of the cul-de-sac killers’ presence, and the three pals find their plans for a happy-go-lucky summer just hanging out instead morphed into a fight for their lives.

The cover to the DVD makes Slaughter Drive look like a haunted-house flick a little bit. This is far from the case. Instead, you get some nods to Rear Window, some clueless buddy comedy setpieces (Rob’s special pie revenge on Dylan Peacock, a guy he has a grudge against, is pretty disgusting and rhymes with “huge fry”), throat slicings, ear licking, on-cue vomiting (three times by Mr. Dietels, which has gotta be some kind of record for a lead-actor-writer-director), severed body parts, a vampire-werewolf-zombie dream sequence and unique tips for discerning landscapers — “That’s Polynesian sod, great for pores.”

Slaughter Drive’s one-liners and the goofy chemistry between Doug, Rob and Gene makes you root for them against the killers, even if they can’t successfully perform a high-five. It’s not a slasher and not quite a mystery — more of a buddy comedy with some decent gore as these three dudes try to satisfactorily resolve the problem of some killers in their midst even as they show no mercy to one another in video-game hockey…

  • Best Words of Encouragement After a Possible Homicide: When Gene says, “You shot her in the f—–g chest! Way to go, man!”
A partygoer gets a power drill to the eyeball, one of the highlight gore effects by Cody Ruch in Slaughter Drive. (Screen capture from DVD by reviewer Ben Nagy).
  • Best Use of Power Tools: The killer drills a guy in the eyeball, but doesn’t use a cordless. Fortunately the victim had been paralyzed in a previous attack so he wasn’t really going anywhere as the killer took the time to plug his weapon of choice in.
  • Best Use of Mechanical Tools: Poor Dave toked up as a reward after doing a good deed by lending our heroes his van for a stakeout and gets killed with a claw hammer to the eyeball.
An excellent slime glopola effect by Cody Ruch brings Slaughter Drive to a head-melting conclusion. (Screen capture from DVD by reviewer Ben Nagy).
  • Best Unexpected Slime Glopola Effect: A bucket full of a caustic substance gets dumped on a character’s head, prompting a pretty fun Weekend at Bernie’s homage during the end credits as the corpse visits points of interest at and around what appears to be Coraopolis, Pa.
  • Best Excuse for Being a Bit P.O.ed: The killer calls up Douglas after escaping the police and expresses him more-than-mild displeasure at Doug and his pals: “Do you know how many people I’ve had to kill just to stay out of trouble just so I can kill you later?”
  • Best Excuse for Snacks: “Every time there’s a stakeout. Buddies need to hang out and have snacks.” Consisting of a dairy-laden feast of cheese popcorn and nacho cheese, the pals indeed stake out the killers home, leading to the first-ever cinematic pursuit where Rob, the pursuer, is simultaneously trying to eat nachos and drive down his quarry at the same time.

Another case of don’t judge this one by its cover, and you might be pretty surprised by what you see. Gonna give it three stars.

Slaughter Drive is streaming on Amazon Prime, Google Play and Flix Fling and available on DVD directly from BPO Films. Check it out.

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