Slaughterhouse Rulez – UK, 2018

‘Bloodius · Hellius · Maximus’

Slaughterhouse Rulez is a 2018 comedy horror feature film directed by Crispian Mills (A Fantastic Fear of Everything) from a screenplay co-written with Henry Fitzherbert. The Stolen Picture production stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead; The World’s EndHot Fuzz), Finn Cole, Asa Butterfield, Hermione Corfield and Michael Sheen.

Plot:

Welcome to Slaughterhouse, an elite boarding school where boys and girls are groomed for power and greatness…and they’re about to meet their match. This ancient and ordered world is about to be shaken to its foundations – literally – when a controversial fracking site on prized school woodland causes seismic tremors, a mysterious sinkhole, and an unspeakable horror to be unleashed.

Soon a new pecking order will be established as the pupils and teachers alike become locked in a bloody battle for survival…

Regarding the plot, Simon Pegg told Digital Trends: “It’s going to be really fun. It’s a sort of a horror comedy. It felt like the right thing for Nick and I to have as our first collaboration with Stolen Picture. It’s about a private school in the UK which sells off parts of its land to a fracking company, and the fracking company then unleashes a subterranean monster that terrorises the school. It’s a big metaphor for the UK privatising things, and it’s mixed up with some ridiculous, sloppy horror. So it’s right up our street.”

Reviews:

” …the monster scare ride is pretty well done. Slaughterhouse Rulez probably sounded a lot more fun at the script-writing stage. But where are the funny jokes in the script? It is made and performed with gleeful enthusiasm, but much of it is amateurish and slapdash.” Derek Winnert

“Michael Sheen and Butterfield play absurd upper-class caricatures as actual people — and the few moments when the film connects emotionally are down to them, though grace notes are always clumsily followed by fart gags. When it comes along, the monster action is surprisingly decent.” Kim Newman, Empire

“Crispian Mills directs with zip, throwing things together with a breathlessness that largely distracts from the fact that, for a horror-comedy, Slaughterhouse Rulez is neither particularly scary nor especially funny. But it does have an amiable sort of charm.” Andrew Pulver, The Guardian

” …may be nothing special but is certainly okay fun with a few things to say along the way and with a bit more individuality than your increasingly bland Hollywood blockbuster. For everything that’s hackneyed or fails to come off, there’s a nice surprise, inspired or even touching moment to make up for this.” Horror Cult Films

“The horror gets in the way of the comedy – and vice versa. The storytelling becomes increasingly bloody and muddled. At least some decent gags are thrown into the mix and there is something appealing about the sheer, goofy inanity of the whole enterprise.” Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent

“Even the creatures which the students ultimately find themselves up against feel generic, like they were thrown into the story as an afterthought. The film sets up all the dominos, but never manages to knock them down, and the result is an underwhelming, unmemorable paint-by-numbers horror-comedy that fails to deliver on either part of that promise.” Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies

“Any promise fades as film gives way to a horror-comedy that simply isn’t scary or funny. Any zippy energy brought to the set-pieces by director Crispian Mills (A Fantastic Fear of Everything) sinks into the mire of a stodgy script which has a stream of set-ups but no real punchlines, while social commentary on educational elitism is simplistic at best.” Ross Mills, The National

“With a script ambitiously taking in the controversies of fracking, the pain of suicide and the pressures of closeted homosexuality as well as a portal to hell, Slaughterhouse Rulez doesn’t always hit the mark and make the most of its subplots. The third act, though, is a blood-soaked, laugh-out-loud thrill-ride which makes amends for the film’s somewhat laborious opening. ” One Room with a View

“The film hints at social commentary, environmental awareness and the general hell that is secondary-school hierarchy. But, at every opportunity for satire, there’s a cheap gag or a CGI monster. It’s a shame the film doesn’t have the bravery of its protagonists.” James Luxford, Radio Times

“Once the creatures are unleashed and the blood starts to flow, there’s a certain visceral kick to be had from the gleeful gross out mess of chewed up public school kids. But ultimately, rather than the beasts from below the earth, the characters seem to be mainly doing battle with a few too many underdeveloped story strands.” Wendy Ide, Screen Daily

“The jokes are lame, laboured and signposted or just not funny, and the meat of the story — the creatures emerging from the sinkhole — takes far too long to arrive to finally kick the film out of its torpor. It’s ultimately rescued by its last half-hour where it gains some momentum, displays a bit of vim and delivers a few frenetic and bloody set pieces… Paul Mount, Starburst

” …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…” Mark Salisbury, Time Out London

“A fracking-related subplot is possibly a step too far in the name of topicality, and the monsters look like the offspring of the dog from Ghostbusters and a blancmange. But it’s good, if not exactly clean, fun.” Ed Potton, The Times

“Things do improve once the creatures show up, but that’s full an hour into the film’s hour and forty five minute run time. The effects are well done, and yes, Pegg gets to wield a cricket bat again. But it’s too late in coming. Slaughterhouse Rulez really needed to lose about thirty minutes at the start, get rid of several subplots and get to the action a lot sooner.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Cast and characters:

  • Simon Pegg … Meredith Houseman – The World’s End; Hot Fuzz; Shaun of the Dead
  • Nick Frost … Anonymous – The World’s End; Hot Fuzz; Shaun of the DeadBoy Eats Girl
  • Finn Cole … Don Wallace
  • Hermione Corfield … Clemsie Lawrence – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Michael Sheen … The Bat – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and Part 2; Doctor WhoUnderworld franchise
  • Asa Butterfield … Willoughby Blake – The Wolfman
  • Jo Hartley … Babs Wallace
  • Jamie Blackley … Caspar De Brunose
  • Jassa Ahluwalia … Yuri
  • Isabella Laughland … Kay
  • Bern Collaço … Terrafrack Security
  • Kit Connor … Wootton
  • Hanako Footman … Poppet Chenvix-Trench
  • Tom Rhys Harries … Clegg
  • Ryan Oliva … Minotaur

Production companies:

  • Catalyst Global Media
  • Sony Pictures International
  • Special Treats Production Company (EPK)
  • Stolen Picture (in association with)

Filming locations:

Chislehurst CavesInseminoid; Doctor Who
Stowe School, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire

Slaughterhouse Rulez was released in the UK by Sony Pictures on October 31, 2018.

Related:

The World’s End – UK, 2013

Shaun of the Dead – UK, 2004

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