For the uninitiated, Troma is an independent film production company that specializes in low-budget films, many of which are horror. Troma has been around since the 1970s and their films usually feature parody and lots of over-the-top gore. The founder and face of the company Lloyd Kaufman (known to many fans as Uncle Lloyd) has become a recognizable icon in the horror community. Some of their most popular titles include The Toxic Avenger, Return to Nuke ’em High, and Tromeo and Juliet. These are the kinds of films that are fun to watch in a group and poke fun at. I have been a fan of Troma for several years now and was excited to check out SLASHENING: THE FINAL BEGINNING as my first foray into Troma’s more recent offerings.
SLASHENING: THE FINAL BEGINNING, written and directed by Brandon Bassham, is a sequel to his 2015 horror-comedy Slashening. It is not necessary to see the original, as the plot is recapped in the first five minutes of this film in a scene completely unrelated to the rest of the story. SLASHENING: THE FINAL BEGINNING follows Madison (Addie Weyrich), a young woman who joins a trauma support group after her father’s suicide. The members of the group begin to get picked off one at a time by a mysterious masked killer. Those of you seeking more plot details from me will be disappointed, as there really aren’t any more to share. The main storyline features in very little of the film, while the pacing is thrown off by several extremely long scenes that feel like excessive padding.
In the past, I have always had a lot of fun watching Troma’s films, but truth be told, I found SLASHENING: THE FINAL BEGINNING to be pretty unenjoyable and without many redeeming qualities. Obviously, the very low budget is a big part of Troma’s whole shtick, so I won’t hold that against it, though I will say the entire movie did feel like it was filmed in someone’s basement. A lot of the humor is reliant on very explicit sex gags, which comes off as lazy and holds no depth beyond shock value. There was also a running bit of characters giving each other over-the-top consent before having sex. It goes on for too long and you can’t help but get the message that the film is mocking the importance of consent, which may rub many viewers the wrong way. While the majority of the humor fell flat for me, I will give credit where credit is due. There were a handful of funny moments that did have me laughing out loud, but they were infrequent. One standout moment was a self-defense class featuring Uncle Lloyd himself in a cameo as an extremely unqualified teacher.
Overall, the film felt like an hour and a half long internet sketch video from 2008, with that style of try-hard edgy humor and production values to match. I don’t believe this is a film that would be fun to watch with a group, unless you have fun making your friends uncomfortable. It was a slog to get through, and I am honestly not sure who exactly this is for. I can’t think of one person to whom I would even feel comfortable recommending it.
Troma Entertainment’s new micro-budget horror-comedy SLASHENING: THE FINAL BEGINNING opens today at Laemmle Virtual Cinema and will run through until May 6, 2021. Interested in seeing the film? Purchase tickets here.