Slashers are a forever subgenre within the horror world. Few have tried to bring the stalk-and-slice formula over to the small screen. Even fewer have succeeded. Slasher has successfully planted itself as a successor in that realm. I believe it safe to say that occurred with the show’s second season, Guilty Party. Creator Aaron Martin has crafted a seasonal anthology series that brought the gore and whodunit with the first two seasons. With Solstice, the show’s third season, Martin and writers brought the two aforementioned aspects, but added a whole other layer to the recipe.
Slasher: Solstice places the terror on the occupants of a middle class level apartment building due to their inability to help a young man, Kit (Robert Cormier), as he was viciously murdered within eye or earshot of them. Beginning with that night, the mark of the Summer Solstice, the occupants use social media and their own prejudices, hatred, and secrets to literally tear apart any semblance of a community.
“Who will survive The Druid?”
A year has past, and the current Summer Solstice is upon them. As the Solstice returns, so does The Druid – the name pegged to Kit’s killer. We follow the occupants of the building throughout the 24 hours of the day of the Solstice, as well as a couple of detectives who are trying to figure out who the Druid is, and why it’s doing what it’s doing. Who will survive the Druid? Why is he or she doing what they’re doing? What sort of ways will the Druid off his victims?
Before we get into the gory goodness that most watch Slasher for, I want to delve into the whole new layer that I mentioned, before. The occupants of the apartment complex make up a demographic that includes a wide variety of representation not normally seen in your standard slasher fare. We’re all used to seeing a predominately white cast of pretty teen to twenty somethings being chased by a masked maniac. Even the previous two seasons of Slasher is guilty of this. But with this season, inclusion is on the killer’s menu.
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We are presented with characters who are black, Muslim, white, gay, pro-white, pansexual, and bisexual as well as characters who suffer from mental illnesses and social media obsession. The characters range from teenagers to people in their forties. The variety of people was a nice breath of fresh air, but there were times within that it seemed the writers didn’t know exactly how to handle all of them. With so many social issues surrounding almost every character, it would take more than an 8 episode series to flesh out and fully understand where each is coming from. While they weren’t fleshed out, they were handled with some respect.
Of course, you shouldn’t really expect a high level of societal issues to be dealt with when you’re watching a show called Slasher. You’re looking for the kills. Slasher has been top notch in the past with how it offs its characters, and they jumped up a few notches with this season. The Druid did not come back to celebrate the Summer Solstice in a happy, clean way. It is a quick and brutal antagonist. There are no stalk / chase scenes here. We are hit just as hard as the characters who are meeting their end are hit when it comes to the offing of them.
“Kudos to the special effects department for all of the practical effect gooeyness […] straight out of an 80’s horror slasher”
I don’t want to give away any of the gruesome surprises that are throughout, so I’ll just list off with the words acid, frog, coffee, blender, glue, and drill. There were times that I thought the Druid was done with his macabreness, but it’d surprise with upping the ante of the heinous act that it had already committed on a victim. During one of the kill scenes, I literally yelled, “Wasn’t that enough?!” The Druid also doesn’t care if you’re a racist asshole or a victim to society. Also, there hasn’t been such passionate repetitive knife stabbings since Octavia Spencer meet the sharp end of Michael Myers’ knife in the beginning of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II.
Kudos to the special effects department for all of the practical effect gooeyness. Aside from one of the kills, I didn’t spot any CGI blood or gore. Although modernized, a lot of the effects were straight out of an 80’s horror slasher, and they were glorious.
The story is your typical revenge trope seen forever in the subgenre. It’s handled via flashbacks and the present with each episode covering 3 hours of a 24 hour span. We horror lovers got our very own genre specific 24! This combined with the 8 episodes helped the series move by at a quick pace. There was a little lag during the final few episodes, and that’s due to the mystery of the Druid taking a step back, and toning its brutality down to make room for a little more backstory to our final and main characters. The lag also made room to reveal a little twist that was sudden, and seemed to take away from any impact that the ending would have had. That was rectified as another little twist was laid upon that twist that saved the ending.
Performance wise, we are given both ends of the spectrum. There are those who furthered their character, and there are those who were just neutral. Baraka Rahmani’s Saadia and Mercedes Morris’ Jen were the highlights of this season. Their bond as characters was felt throughout, and their denouement sealed the deal. Returning from season 2, Paula Brancati nailed the wacky, social media obsessed Violet while fellow season 2 vet, Joanne Vannicola, portrayed loose cannon, Amber, with a subdued eeriness. Season 1 performer, Dean McDermott, portrays white nationalist, Dan, to an irritating tee. I hated the guy from beginning to end. I supposed that shows signs of a good performance. A surprising bit of heart – story and characterwise – was behind Rosie Simon’s Amy. Her episode was one of the highlights of the season. The remainder of the cast were there for what they were supposed to do and were given to do as your normal slasher fodder.
“…one heck of a fun 24 hours.”
Slasher: Solstice is indeed one heck of a fun 24 hours. The first ¾ of the season is a bit more hecking than the last ¼, but a satisfying ending is given to the season. While there are no true tie-ins to the Solstice ritual aside from Amber’s asides that are never explored, the longest day of the year is used as The Druid’s day. From here on out, we’ll have something to visit during the yearly Summer Solstice.
What did you think about Slasher’s third season? Did The Druid out do season one’s The Executioner? Were the occupants of the apartment complex at fault moreso than the members of season 2’s Guilty Party? Let us know on our Twitter, subreddit, or on The Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!