Note: this review is not spoiler-free.
Shannon Moyer: Pro
If you’re looking for a fun, slightly-scary romp, then Slaughterhouse Rulez is a good movie for you. With Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as both executive producers and characters in the movie, the film harkens back to the “Cornetto Trilogy” of films featuring the duo.
Slaughterhouse Rulez follows Don Wallace (Finn Cole), a teenage boy sent to the renowned Slaughterhouse boarding school, and his roommate Willoughby (Asa Butterfield) as they navigate the popularity contest that is a UK public school.
Along the way, characters befriend Don and Will, including the brainy Kay (Isabella Laughland) and the stereotypical blonde love-interest Clemsie (Hermione Corfield). While not groundbreaking, this cast of characters are interesting, likeable and push the movie’s plot forward.
The movie touches on important issues, but never stays there too long. Slaughterhouse’s headmaster, played by Michael Sheen, orchestrated for a company to start fracking on the school grounds. That could be the focus, but then a group of protesting hippies appear, and then monsters are introduced—and so on, and so forth.
Some may find this off-putting; on the other hand, I enjoyed the quick pace of the movie. It kept me alert and guessing in a way that many movies don’t.
Slaughterhouse Rulez is also enshrouded in hushed discussion of teenage suicide from the first 10 minutes of the movie. If you want to avoid spoilers, stop here.
Midway through the film, Don stops Will from committing suicide by barging into their dorm room right after Will tried to hang himself. The scene that follows is one of relief, and then this suicide attempt is pretty much ignored for the rest of the movie.
Some might not like how the movie handled this, or call it sloppy writing that the attempt was never circled back to. However, I thought it displayed honesty about how suicide attempts in young adults go—a heartbreaking conversation about life doesn’t always follow. Sometimes, the attempt is foiled and the person just… moves on, like the film does.
Will is alluded to be gay, which isn’t explored in the film—which is okay. I don’t need every film to prove a character’s sexuality to me, especially when it just doesn’t feed into the overall plot. It was just a character point, like him having black hair, and I really liked that.
This movie is fast-paced, a bit chaotic, and full of the clever and subtly humorous writing that is a staple of a Frost/Pegg movie. It made me laugh, kept me on the edge of my seat, and made me genuinely care about whether or not the on-screen cast would survive until the end.
In all honesty, this movie isn’t groundbreaking—and that’s okay. This was 1 hour and 45 minutes of my time that I enjoyed, was glad to see in theatres, and will likely buy when it is released.
It won’t be a blockbuster movie, as indicated by its current 41% on Rotten Tomatoes (as of 7/11/18). But, it’s a campy Pegg and Frost movie that’s entertaining, full of a few laughs and scares, and worth paying the ticket price for.
Cassidy Anthony: Con
If you’re anything like me, then you love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s “Cornetto Trilogy” of films. So, when you heard that the two were executive producing and starring in their new film, Slaughterhouse Rulez, you probably ran to the theatre with dreams of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz floating in your head.
If you subsequently then left the theatre in disappointment and a slight twinge of cinematic anger, you’d still be just like me—because that’s exactly what I did!
I was so excited to love this movie. I came in with extremely high expectations because I love Pegg and Frost’s work. As the movie started, I had the biggest smile on my face, but as it progressed, I could feel it fading quickly.
This film clearly had lots of ambitious ideas. They wanted to make the film fun and exciting, so they absolutely bombarded it with action. From the beginning of the film, we are introduced to characters, settings, events, motivations, and so much that left my head spinning.
This is one of the elements of the film that proves it didn’t know what it wanted to be—rather than intertwining multiple storylines fluidly, it feels like multiple movies were ungracefully mashed together.
Instead of trying to mislead us that clever way that many scary films do, it ended up just leaving us confused.
Slaughterhouse Rulez tried to be clever with its utilisation of constant tropes: the attractive main character, the suicidal best friend, the hot main female character, and so on.
In other parodic films by Pegg and Frost, tropes are usually executed well. However, this film falls victim to these tropes instead of making a commentary about them.
For example, the main female character, Clemsie, has a run in with a weird alien thing (which, by the way, is never really addressed again) which—of course—ends up in her having to take off her button-down shirt and spend the next several scenes in her bra.
This scene adds absolutely nothing to the plot. The “shirtless female” trope is in countless films, and exists only as a wink to the men in the audience.
Had this film not being promoted as a “Simon Pegg film” and I hadn’t gone in expecting Cornetto Trilogy-level cinema, I might have had a different viewing experience. But when a film rides on the coattails of an already incredibly successful trilogy as a way to fill the seats, that film had better deliver—and it simply didn’t.
Have you seen Slaughterhouse Rulez? Let us know what you thought about the film in the comments!