Directed by Hilary Rothman and Solomon Rothman
Starring Kelsey Zukowkski, Megan Hutton, Solomon Rothman, Noel Vanbrocklin and Thomas Lawson
Short Film Review by Michael Fiott
Taking an obvious influence from classic slasher movies such as Halloween and Friday the 13th, The Dollface Slasher falls short on many of the elements that made those original movies great. One element being that it is simply not scary and at times is more confusing to the viewer due to its technical shortcomings.
The film begins with an attractive young woman preparing for a date whilst her ditsy friend lies on her bed playing with her phone in the background, whilst this scene’s obvious intention was to give us some background on the recent events that have taken place, (case in point, the recent grisly murder of a girl in town), it sadly falls into the realm of tired cliches and awkward dialogue. For example the line “what if he’s he’s outside, right now, watching us” followed by an obscured first person view shot and the sound of heavy breathing, purely just from this description it is obvious from the first 60 seconds of the film that it was never really going to offer us anything different or challenging for the horror genre.
That line is not the only guilty offender either, the video store scene involving Jason (Solomon Rothman) is a cheap ploy to make us believe how weird and creepy he is. Rather than employing any subtle techniques, he obviously flirts with the girl behind the counter and then enquires as to whether the store has any films where a “girl gets torn apart” followed by a shake of the eyebrows that would make even the most naive of people question his intentions.
The bad dialogue is only accentuated by the performances of each actor. Whilst the acting in slasher movies can be notoriously bad at the best of times, for it to be successful the main characters must be relatable, likeable and most importantly, smart. Unfortunately, the acting on display here makes each character appear cringe-worthy, there are occasions where actors pause and forget lines (an aspect I am confused by when more than one take of a line can be shot) and the delivery of each line only proves to add to the shaky-ness of the unrefined script.
This brings me to by far the worst aspect of The Dollface Slasher, its technical aspects. It’s not shot with any particular enthusiasm or creativity, with each frame being off kilter or out of focus in some respect. This makes every conversation feel boring, with shot reverse shot seeming to be the only technique used, often resulting in performers' heads being cut off at the top or even computer screens completely blocking a character’s introduction (which can be seen at 3:46). The sound is another inconsistency; it is very obvious that ambient recordings were not taken as many times throughout the editing we are left with complete silence that creates a giant disconnect to the previous shot.
The editing from the 8 minute mark onwards was also noticeably choppy with many strange choices being made, whilst the action is still somewhat easy to follow, the transitions coupled with darkness of the scene and the shaky cam technique start to shatter our suspension of disbelief and makes us concentrate more on the lack of quality than the possible creepiness the Dollface Slasher himself could have had, an aspect that I’m afraid all of the film struggles with.