Reviewed by Mike Macabre
When you think about it, Slashers have been around for more than half a century! Influences of Slasher movies like the giallo films, 60’s classics Psycho and Peeping Tom etc. paved the way for the subgenre we know today. In that time, we’ve seen it all; wide varieties of masks/disguises, every motive imaginable, the twists and turns and urban legends brought to life. It’s pretty much impossible to make a Slasher these days without incorporating one or more countless stereotypes that we’ve come to know and love. Fortunately, this doesn’t deter new, upcoming filmmakers. Jeremy Berg is the latest director to give us a Slasher offering with his latest flick The Last Laugh.
A stand-up comedian on the verge of breakout success must make a terrible choice when he discovers a murderer on the loose in the theatre where he’s about to perform his biggest show
The movie started out fairly well. Myles (Vanderzee) is clearly a struggling comedian. Stood on stage, he goes through his repertoire to a near-empty venue with barely a snigger from the audience. His manager then informs him of a make or break gig in the Pantages Theare. His act will be the undercard to popular comedian Reggie Ray (Deo). Throughout the movie we see flashbacks of Myles’ wife who has died; a strong indicator of his poor, recent performance. However, before Myles takes to the stage, people start getting murdered by a masked killer. With the bodies piling up, will the hapless comedian live to see the curtain rise? You’ll have to watch to find out!
There are really only two locations in The Last Laugh (the bar and the theatre) but Berg makes it work. The theatre is more like a labyrinth with twists, turns and dead ends. The perfect location if you want to start slicing and dicing folk. The whole theatrical concept isn’t lost either. Despite the same method of murder (for the majority), the humble knife doesn’t get old with some creative kills along the way.
The characters are hit and miss. Vanderzee does a good job portraying the struggling comedian and his afflictions with mental health. Yet, the character isn’t really likeable. In fact, besides Bethany (Long) and Andy (Marcus Leppard) most of the characters aren’t likeable at all! This kind of takes away the fun of a Slasher. You’re not really rooting for anyone, just waiting for them all to die. However, having said that, there are a fair few kills so you won’t be disappointed on that front.
Speaking of kills, the acting could’ve been a bit better with those. I mean, when you get stabbed it HURTS! Yet, there seems to be a reluctance with some of the actors to scream, cry out or even whimper. Not all of them, but enough to raise eyebrows. We also don’t get much character development, which is a shame as there’s potential there for pretty much every role.
The entire movie has a bit of a Scooby Doo feel. The whole ‘whodunnit’ theme starts from the outset and as more and more people are killed, the list of suspects starts to dwindle. I was half expecting the killer to be caught in an elaborate trap, then being demasked to reveal the butler or something. However, the ending doesn’t quite play out that way…
Check out the trailer for The Last Laugh below
Overall, it’s not a bad flick. There are a lot of stabby murders, some decent effects and a sinister score that’s played throughout. Perhaps the deaths could have been a bit more convincing and maybe the character storylines explored a bit more. But, in my opinion, the big issue is the Marmite ending. You’re either going to love it or hate it. For me, I wasn’t a fan. But then again I was waiting for the butler to be demasked…
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