Slasher - Season 1, Episode 2: “Digging Your Grave with Your Teeth” TV Episode Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Arron Martin
2016, 43 minutes, Rated TV-MA
Episode premiered on March 4th, 2016
Katie McGrath as Sarah Bennett
Brandon Jay McLaren as Dylan Bennett
Steve Byers as Cam Henry
Patrick Garrow as Tom Winston
The second installment of Slasher opens in a lush forest, where young lovers are discussing the birds and the bees—a classic subgenre nod. After the title screen, viewers are introduced to Sarah’s grandmother, Brenda (Wendy Crewson), who like Sarah has returned to Waterbury. She is just as kooky as the rest of Waterbury’s inhabitants. And she’s packing heat. The townsfolk’s secrets are being unraveled through the seven deadly sins trope the Executioner is personifying. The episode strays from what one would think the show is all about: the slasher element. But this aptly named chapter, “Digging Your Grave with Your Teeth,” is a decent into the horror detective soap opera variety, where Se7en and Soap are obvious influences.
The people who populate Waterbury have a glint in their eyes, but Sarah (played by the admirable Katie McGrath) doesn’t. Even her husband, Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren), is a somber-eyed man who I can almost guarantee has his own fair share of skeletons in his closet. Sarah is determined to find out what is really going on in her bizarre hometown. It doesn’t get much worse than being cut from her dead mother’s womb, being stalked by a copycat of her parents’ murderer and stumbling upon a cardboard box hidden her basement full of VHS cassettes containing mom’s homemade pornos with the murdered neighbor’s husband. After all this, she has visited her parents’ killer in jail multiple times, since he seems to be the only person in Waterbury who is being straight-up honest with her. She must feel real swell inside!
Katie McGrath is comfortable in her role, as she isn’t second guessed in believability portraying this rigid, complex character. The rest of the cast accentuates McGrath’s portrayal of Sarah by carrying themselves with anomalous, heavy-eyed facial expressions. Even through some are caricatures with flat personalities, they feel like deviant zombies with ulterior motives. The actors’ eyes are serious and stone cold, keeping viewers enthralled. This hypnotism keeps people in the loop and wanting to see how the events will play out.
The question of who the present Executioner is reminds me of the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks. Although there is probably no supernatural element to the murderer or the citizens of Waterbury, the question of who and their motive is still unknown. Why is the killer using the seven deadly sins to choose his or her victims? Why is Sarah stumbling around caves? One or two deaths isn’t enough to stop people carrying on about their business and having a party, as if there isn’t a psychopath on the loose in their neighborhood. Why? What do they know that I don’t? These are some of the questions left and hopefully will start to be revealed in the next episode.
Slasher doesn’t crack open the pavement and isn’t really innovative, but it does leave one wanting to continue into the plot’s unknown. What the show successfully strides in is cementing a distinct voice in a horror market where it is difficult to cater to an audience ranging from intense and critical fanatics, to the casual moviegoer, to the significant other who is forced to watch with their partner. There are definitely flaws and clichés, which is necessary for the show to be universal, but this episode is no worse than the pilot—that’s a good sign. “Digging Your Grave with Your Teeth” actually keeps the pace at the same tempo as “Pilot,” treating viewers with an astute story so far. The program is far from a cinematic masterpiece, but the hook is still in this fat fish’s mouth, and the bait (although not as good as the first exposure) still has flavor.
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