The first film to emerge from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s new production company, Stolen Picture, ‘Slaughterhouse Rulez’ begins as a desperately unfunny English public school comedy before mutating into a brutally effective monster movie, earning its two stars for cool creatures and copious carnage. Until then, the film staggers lamely along, as the mother of nouveau riche northerner Dom (Finn Cole) buys his way into the upmarket, elite Slaughterhouse School, and immediately he falls for posh girl Clemsie (Hermione Corfield) and runs afoul of psycho head boy Clegg (Tom Rhys Harries).
Meanwhile, Dom’s morose roommate (Asa Butterfield) snorts snuff, entertains suicidal thoughts, and fires a rifle at a photo of Malcolm McDowell’s character from Lindsay Anderson’s ‘If....’ as if the film’s influences weren’t obvious enough. To make matters even worse, headmaster Michael Sheen has allowed a fracking firm on to school grounds, inadvertently opening up a massive sinkhole in the woods, and unleashing a series of ferocious subterranean critters which proceed to chomp their way through students and staff.
Directed and co-written by Crispian Mills (‘A Fantastic Fear of Everything’, and yes, the guy from Kula Shaker, ’90s indie fans) with a meritorious lack of subtlety, wit or incisive class commentary, this is loud, brash, and almost entirely laugh-free, squandering a talented cast that includes Pegg, Frost, and Margot Robbie in what is, essentially, an extended Skype cameo. Once the creatures show up, however, the film finally finds its feet, and Mills stages the B-movie mayhem with gleeful abandon and geysers of blood.
Byline: Mark Salisbury