September 2, 2014
John B. Sovie II, Kristian Hanson
Kristian Hanson as: Adam Lynch
Russell Matoes as: Nash
Dustin Bowman as: Alex
Stephanie Tupper as: Sarah
Tino Faygo as: Dickie
Rachel Cornell as: Couch Girl
A pretty girl (Rachel Cornell) is sitting on her couch eating popcorn and watching a weekly show called “Assly’s True American Horror” on TV that airs horror movies. It’s presented by an annoying, stupid, and really cheap-ass looking puppet named Assly. The one flick that is being aired on this night is called Sledge. It’s a movie that she used to watch with her ex-boyfriend. He got her into movies like this apparently.
The film itself becomes the center piece of the story as we are introduced to five friends, two couples and Alex (Dustin Bowman), who is in love with his truly annoying, whiney friend, who also happens to comprise half of one of those couples, Sarah (Stephanie Tupper). They are killed one by one by a masked murder named Alex Lynch (writer/ co-director Kristian Hanson) who carries along a large sledgehammer. Lynch thinks that he is the hero in some video game, and doesn’t realize that he is actually a murder in a crappy looking mask. Or maybe he sort of does notice something, since he realizes it enough to frame a mentally challenged individual named Dickie, cause he likes to play with his dick… Anyway, our killer goes around trying to kill these five idiots, while our fan eats more popcorn and/ or talks on the phone all the while complaining about the film sometimes, and other times praising it.
Sledge is a perfect example of a horror-comedy or spoof or whatever the hell you want to call it, which fails at every single thing it sets out to do. It isn’t scary or horrifying and it most definitely is not funny. It is however immensely stupid and painful to endure. This is just cheap crap that goes to show that anyone with equipment, a cast, and a crew can make a movie. The sad thing is that this one actually got released even if it is just direct to video.
The fact is that we are watching a movie within a movie. So, from the get-go why should we care about this if we already know that this isn’t actually “happening”? Said film is supposed to be it’s so bad so good, but then the character (Rachel Cornell) watching it once in a while makes it sound like it is actually good or worse yet even scary. This succeeds only in making her character come off as stupid on top of being annoying and possibly a bitch. Her wraparound story quickly gets on your nerves and is utterly uninteresting. I actually saw what would happen in said wraparound story a mile away. That being said, when it did occur it was even worse than I could ever have imagined it to be.
Cornell’s acting is flat and uninspired. This is made all the more worse by the fact that she is the only character who was supposed to inhabit the “real world”. The rest of the cast is truly awful as well. And, while one could argue that they are supposed to be playing bad actors; I don’t think it was meant that they are so goddamn awful that all you want to do is end your own suffering and throw your TV set out the freaking window.
Further damning this movie is the lazy directing by Hanson and John B. Sovie II. Whether the scares, and I use the term scares laughingly, take place in the real or reel world; it doesn’t matter, as either or have the same exact look. A different filmmaker may have strived to make them feel and/ or look different. But, since these guys are not different filmmakers by a long shot, that is most definitely not the case here. They seem to know nothing about doing different types of shots so that they may be edited together in a particular scene. Aside from a couple of close-ups the film is mostly comprised of long, establishing shots, never taking tighter ones of the actors talking to each other and never cutting back and forth between them. No, instead they get all the actors in one long take and just let the camera sit there. My college film professor would’ve rightfully failed them right then and there.
There are a terrible amount of shadows that are present in some of the night scenes. These shots are just too dark for no apparent reason other they was no budget for lights. This is most blatantly apparent in the car scene where not only is it too dark, but the framing of the shot is absolutely terrible. So bad is it that you can’t see any cast member effectively making the introduction of our main characters a complete fail. Ultimately, you have no idea who the hell is who or who is speaking the lines of dialogue.
The filmmakers also seem to think that by referencing other horror films like Aliens, Beetlejuice,Dawn of the Dead, or other geek related material like Star Trek or the Street Fighter video games, they will gain some sort of credit with horror fans or fan boy audiences in general. Well, I am here to say that no, you can’t just name drop sh*t everywhere. It needs to be called for and above all, since this is supposed to be a comedy, be funny. These guys are definitely not Tarantino.
Speaking of Tarantino there is a part where Sledge thinks that it is Grindhouse, and throws in a trailer to the movie that is airing next week: a cheap slasher called Amish Paradise. Our “heroine” says that she just has to see that next week. Wait, what? That’s her reaction?! Was she dropped on her head as a child? Is she on drugs? Wait, sorry, these questions would mean I care what is happening in this film or about her character. And, that could be further from the truth.
There is hardly any gore as most of the kills occur off-camera. Those that we do see look cheap thanks to the bargain basement level FX. The lack of good gore coupled with no nudity makes watching this even more pointless. Despite all the bad and unfunny jokes about sex, asses, masturbation, etc. not a single piece of flesh is shown. Even during the sex scenes it all occurs as a silhouette in a tent.
Sledge would get an even lower rating from me, were it not for the only two nice things I have to say about it. First, is that at an hour and 15 minutes it is mercifully short. The second one is a quote that references Psycho and is actually funny. But, that is the one and only joke that works during the entire duration of this “comedy”. Stupid, lazy, cheap, and about as funny as a Discovery Channel documentary on mold; this is one to stay far, far away from. For not only is Sledge a strong contender for worst film of the year; it quite simply ranks among the worst films that I have seen in the last couple of years.