The Netflix Original horror series “Slasher” is more than just a classic “slasher movie,” despite what the name suggests. Instead, this new Netflix Original series, which debuted in October 2017 just days before Halloween, is as much a whodunit murder mystery as it is a classic horror movie. The murder mystery takes place over a span of 8 episodes, and with each new episode, we get one step closer to unmasking the identity of the serial killer behind a spate of horrifying murders at a Canadian campground.
Netflix’s “Slasher” is a horrifying version of “I Know What You Did Last Summer”
One of the most popular types of films in the horror genre involves a bunch of teenagers making a lot of wrong decisions or committing wrongheaded acts – and then getting justice meted out to them by a demented serial killer. You could probably lump the whole “Saw” series into this genre, as well as the all-time horror film classic “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” It’s this latter film that really seems to be the inspiration for “Slasher.”
In “Slasher,” a group of young adults must return to the scene of a revenge prank gone horribly wrong. Five years ago as camp counselors, they murdered one of their co-workers, Talvinder, and then buried the body at the campground. They thought their cover-up of the murder would forever go unnoticed, but then they find out that a bunch of real estate developers are planning to build a resort on the site of the camp and might uncover the body.
This is what forces them to return to the scene of the crime, all of them bound by their past guilt. The young adults fear that their crime will be (literally) unearthed, and thus plan to dig up the body and bury it somewhere new. But when they return to the burial site, the body is gone. And then they start getting picked off, one by one, in the most grisly manner possible.
If that basic plot line sounds familiar, that’s because it is. It’s essentially “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” but this time set in the dead of winter in the Canadian wilderness. The one little twist here, of course, is that we don’t know the identity of the killer – and this identity will only be revealed in the 8th and final episode.
Netflix’s “Slasher” comes with more than its fair share of grisly gore
There are some horror films that shrink away from showing particularly nasty bits of blood and gore, leaving it to the imagination to figure out what happened. “Slasher” is not one of those horror shows. Instead, “Slasher” is able to show a horrifying amount of gore, nastiness and blood. There’s a serial killer on the loose, and it’s clear that this killer is going to exact full revenge for the events that went down five years earlier.
Netflix’s “Slasher” includes plot elements from classic Agatha Christie mysteries
In an interview, the show’s creator, Aaron Martin, talked about the various inspirations for “Slasher.” He named several primary inspirations: classic slasher movies in the vein of “Halloween,” contemporary murder mysteries and Agatha Christie whodunit mysteries. This last inspiration might not at first seem obvious, until you consider how the series plays out over a series of 8 episodes.
The inclusion of plot elements from classic whodunit mysteries is part of the reason why “Slasher” is so horrifying. As Martin points out, the goal is not to blame all this senseless rage and killing on a mysterious or mythological creature – such as a demon unleashed from hell or a ghost haunting a burial ground – it is to show that these bloodcurdling murders are the result of a sick, depraved human mind. It’s much scarier when you know that there is a real-life person systematically planning these murders.
So that’s why the Agatha Christie inspiration is so important. Since the action plays out over 8 episodes, it’s important to keep audiences guessing until the very end. This sometimes means lingering on details that may – or may not – be relevant to the identity of the serial killer. And it means injecting a few plot twists along the way to introduce doubts into the minds of the viewer as to who might be responsible.
Netflix’s “Slasher” is also a scary psychological drama that takes you inside the mind of a murderer
The public fascination with serial killers – just check out the outpouring of recent public attention for Charles Manson, the legendary serial killer who died at the age of 83 – has to do with the fact that it seems unfathomable that any human being could act in this manner. So what are their motivations? Is there a “why” behind their despicable acts?
And it’s here, too, that “Slasher” is so horrifying. At the end, when we learn the identify of the serial murderer, we realize how significantly one person’s view of reality can differ from actual reality. The key to unlocking this horror is “Wren,” whom we later find out is Owen “Wren” Turnbull, who committed suicide after being framed for Talvinder’s murder. But is “Wren” really a person, or just a figment of the murderer’s imagination?
Netflix’s “Slasher” will make you afraid of your buried secrets
The real reason why “Slasher” is terrifying Netflix audiences is because, deep down, we all have our secrets that we don’t ever want to get out into the open. And, deep down, we all fear some kind of final justice or retribution for those secrets. That, from a psychological perspective, is what makes this Netflix horror anthology so deeply horrifying – it reminds us that, sooner or later, we will all be judged and we will all need to atone for our past sins. In the case of the characters in “Slasher,” it means paying with their lives. The serial murderer has decided that the price to pay for murdering Talvinder five years ago is death.
“Slasher” is a welcome addition to Netflix’s growing horror genre
The exciting news for fans of the horror genre is that it looks like Netflix is beginning to create some first-rate horror shows. Netflix actually swooped in and purchased the rights to “Slasher” from the TV network Chiller, which ran Season 1 of the show. But now it looks like Season 2 is going to be a smash for Netflix, and that means we could soon be talking about Season 3 for “Slasher.” Each season, the murder mystery changes, but the cast does not – much like “American Horror Story.” So get ready to see some of your favorite characters back again soon as they figure out yet another way to scare Netflix audiences everywhere.