I love freaks in cinema. A good villain or anti-hero in the form of a freak makes me happy. Hits such as The Hills Have Eyes and Wrong Turn 2 make Daniel a happy boy. The weirder the better I say. Well Slumlord delivers on that and more.
Slumlord’s opening shot is of a freaky looking man staring above the camera. This shot lasts for about a minute and sets the tone for the film – brutal, fun and creepy. This strange man is Gerald, an odd looking landlord who traditionally is what a ‘creepy’ dude would look like (he does have a rockin’ body though). In this opening shot he is buying miniature cameras to put around his new rental. We then meet couple Ryan and Claire who are expecting (a baby that is) as they have a look around Gerald’s rental and decide to take it (even though Claire is freaked out by their new landlord). Gerald returns to his home and begins watching the lives of his new tenant’s (including sexy shower scenes, where we know Gerald is enjoying himself by the mountains of ‘used’ tissues next to him as he watches Claire shower).
The film’s main narrative string is Ryan’s affair with a work colleague and how it affects not only his life but Gerald’s life too. The narrative however isn’t the focal point of the film, what I loved most about Slumlord were the small things. Like Gerald visiting the house when the couple aren’t there and using Claire’s toothbrush and then caressing it against his face. Silly stuff like that really makes the difference and I think the film goes above the average weirdo-horror-film because of actor Neville Archambault who plays Gerald. His characterization is so grotesque and fun that you end up rooting for him by the end of the film (well I did). The characters are all unlikable but it works for Slumlord as we see what a mess everyone makes of their lives. It’s nice to see the protagonists be nearly as bad as the villain, no one is perfect Slumlord seems to say.
The film is impressively shot and had me engaged through out, the climatic end scene I believe did come out of nowhere and felt a bit left of field from the rest of the film but with a fantastic ending shot all was forgiven. Slumlord is weird and gross and you will definitely want to shower after. Yet there is still a lot of fun to be had with such a disgusting landlord.
SLUMLORD is directed by Victor Zarcoff and stars Neville Archambault, Sarah Baldwin, Sean Carrigan, Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe, Brianne Moncrief and Heidi Niedermeyer.