Slumlord Movie Review
Written by Sharon Davies
Official Facebook Page
Written and directed by Victor Zarcoff
2015, 87 minutes, Not yet rated
Frightfest European Premiere on 30th August 2015
Neville Archambault as Gerald
Sarah Baldwin as Hannah
Sean Carrigan as Joe Shimmel
Jim Cummings as Paul
PJ McCabe as Ryan
“More than 30 million surveillance cameras have been sold in the last decade. Last year over 8000 people were watched in their homes without their consent” This chilling opening statement to Slumlord accompanies some footage of that very thing and straight away made me suspiciously consider the corners of my walls at home.
Meet Gerald (Neville Archambault), the sickly grotesque landlord who has decked out his home with enough cameras to watch his tentants’ every move. Having just rented his house to young pregnant couple, Claire and Ryan, our Gerald spends his time viewing the inhabitants every waking moment, from supper to sex, and has himself enough material to fill his wank-bank forever.
As the movie plays out we see that not everything is rosy with the young couple as the utter rogue Ryan is cheating on his heavily pregnant wife with his assistant. Added to this is Claire’s neurosis over happenings within the house which leads to a game of cat and mouse between landlord and tenant. As Gerald pours over this couple’s life he starts to invade their home and privacy in other ways and also decides to build a makeshift prison in their house. How you ask? With a secret stairwell of course.
Gerald becomes more and more obsessed with pregnant Claire and sets out on a path to become her guardian angel, but instead becomes the demon that will leave her life and that of her child in jeopardy.
This movie is a pleasant surprise and and I found the chilling tale keeps its pace throughout. Another thing I love is it didn’t descend into the found footage film it could have been. The footage is used sparingly and to highlight Gerald’s view on the couple only. It could have so easily slipped into the lazy found footage movies which are cropping up everywhere, but instead used flavours of it to give it strength.
This works tremendously well coupled with Archambault’s creepy and chilling performance, which I must say had me itching from the off. It has been likened to the Lawrence R Harvey performance in the Human Centipede II and I can totally see where that is coming from (although Slumlord doesn’t sink to some of the depravity of HC2).
Some of the best horror films take a familiar scene and turn it into something to be feared and for anyone who rents a property this certainly makes you consider how safe and private your life really is. Promising work for Victor Zarcoff’s debut directing piece and definitely a movie to leave a bad taste in your mouth (and to prompt a recheck on your own surveillance too.)