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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Colin Clarke ("Witchfinder") Goes Giallo With Short Erotic Horror "Slit"

"SLIT" (2015)
Genre: Horror
Length- 11:12
Company: Daredevil Films
Website: Official

* "Slit" contains extremely graphic violence, sex and nudity.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Last year, writer/director Colin Clarke blew my mind with his creepy period horror short "Witchfinder" (check out the review right here).  Now, he's back with a graphic new piece of work that's sure to offend -- an erotic horror short titled "Slit".

I really, really love the poster art.  It's simple, retro and brilliant.

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT GIALLO

Clarke took on writing, directing and editing duties for "Slit", and it's that kind of singularity of vision that makes this film feel like something of note.  The days of the auteur horror director may have gone bye bye, but Clarke's "Slit" is a warm homage to the sort of giallo horror produced in Italy during the 1970's.

It's clear that Clarke knows his horror.  In "Witchfinder", there were nods to Mario Bava's Black Sunday.  Italian horror is once again on the menu, but this time Clarke's focusing on Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento.

Fulci is evident by the gratuitousness of the sex and in particular the way the camera almost leers at pretty young bodies being reconfigured at knife's point.  More essential is the influence of surreal horror master Dario Argento.  Featuring a shot taken wholesale from his masterpiece (and one of my favorites) Deep Red, and the wild, Technicolor lighting of Suspiria, it's easy enough to see that Clarke's  goal is to marry the two Italian masters' styles in eleven minutes.

DIRTY DREAMS

Unfortunately, what we end up with feels more like a pastiche than an original work.  His directing features repeated close ups of eyes -- again, reminiscent of Fulci.  The sex scene is drawn out, uncomfortable and feels like a slightly stronger version of something we'd see on USA's TV series, Silk Stalkings, not nearly as explicit as something like Fulci's own New York Ripper. 

Normally, in reviews I give a short breakdown of the plot, but there's not much going on in that department so I've chosen to let you experience "Slit" on your own.  That being said, I would argue that the films of Fulci and Argento weren't story driven, either.

The difference is that those two made feature length movies, and that provides a lot more room for a writer to breathe than what Clarke's afforded here.

There are some really inspiring moments if you sit through the film.  There are strong visuals from Clarke and cinematographer Brent Jepsen, including the music box sequence, which managed to be chilling even though I knew exactly where they were going with it.  The doll bit was also well shot, just as it was in Deep Red.  I love the color palette -- it instantly makes this short film scream Argento.  The gore effects are extremely good, and that shot of the yawning wound was stomach churning.

CONCLUSION

So, when all is said and done, is "Slit" a good film?  Well, that depends on what you think of as good.  If you're a fan of Fulci or Argento, you'll find a lot to like.  If you're looking for much more than a stalk and slash, then you're going to walk away disappointed.

As for me, I enjoyed "Witchfinder" a lot and "Slit" is a huge departure from the more "classic" feel of the former film.  I adore the Italian horror masters, but I couldn't help but miss Clarke's individual style, which kind of gets lost in the mix.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2 / 5.  There's not much going on here.  The finale attempts to tie some loose ends up, but it doesn't feel like much of a payoff.
Directing: 3 / 5.  I love Fulci and Argento's work, and Clarke attempts to fuse the two together here.  "Slit" feels like a visual patchwork quilt of the aforementioned classic directors.  Clarke is a very good director, but he doesn't have much room to make the material his own when he's this deep in homage territory.
Editing: 5 / 5.  The editing and color correction are absolutely dynamite.  I loved the way Clarke played with the color scheme and managed to create some really interesting and moody dynamics that way.
Sound/Music: 2 / 5.  Andrew Kalbfus' score sounded too much like a porn during the erotic parts and too overblown during the action.
Acting: 3 / 5.  Lillian Lamour and Miranda Cox have next to no lines and little to do but get undressed and fight for survival, but they do well with what they're given.  Aley Kreinz and Travis Worthey have small roles, and they do alright as well.

Final Grade: 3 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "Slit" on YouTube right now and follow the film on Facebook!







Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!