It’s rare that a horror series escapes my notice, but somehow I didn’t find out about Slasher: Flesh & Blood until the day its finale dropped on Shudder.
Maybe it’s because the first season of the Slasher anthology series ran on the now defunct Chiller Network, and seasons 2 and 3 ran on Netflix, but I didn’t immediately connect Slasher: Flesh & Blood as being part of the anthology.
I ended up binging the entire season in one day.
Each season is centered on a masked killer with an unknown motive for killing their victims, and in Flesh & Blood, the victims are a wealthy but extremely dysfunctional family gathering for a reunion on a secluded island owned by the patriarch Spencer Galloway (strangely and coldly played by director David Cronenberg).
The first episode starts with a flashback where we see members of the family competing in a brutal game between each other for a prize of gold. Apparently Spencer takes great pleasure in devising the torturous battles to see how cutthroat his family will get.
During this flashback, we also meet various members of the family. There’s Spencer’s children: Seamus (who is now married with an adopted Eastern European daughter); and the extremely vile Florence, mom to twin sons Theo and Vincent, one of whom is kidnapped during the competition and never found. Florence also has a non-binary child named O’Keefe, born after the events of the flashback.
Spencer’s second wife Grace is there (the two have a son named Jayden in the present day), along with the maid Brigit (who has a daughter named Liv)
Forwarding to the current reunion, when Spencer makes a grand announcement. This is the last competition he’ll oversee (I’m not revealing his reason because it’s a spoiler) and the family member who wins, gets his entire fortune.
In addition to the family members everyone knows, it’s also revealed that two unexpected family members will be participating. One is a secret love child, and one is someone who hasn’t been seen in years.
The games in the present are also run by Spencer’s personal doctor, just to throw more mysterious strangers into the mix.
Plus it’s not a season of Slasher without the title character, and this one has The Gentleman, a killer who dresses like a plague doctor and definitely enjoys coming up with inventive ways to dispatch family members and servants.
As you may have correctly deduced, there are a lot of characters in this season’s story, and they are pretty much all broken, maladjusted, and downright horrible. At times the number of characters works for the plot, and at times, it seems they just serve the purpose of bodies for The Gentleman to kill.
Speaking of bodies, Slasher: Flesh & Blood also sticks to the show’s formula of one big kill at the end of an episode that wraps into the beginning of the next episode, so gore hounds will definitely be happy.
If you are at all squeamish, this is not the horror series for you. This fourth season seems to take the title to heart with plenty of flesh and blood (such as insides being made outsides, and copious amounts of fake blood spraying everywhere). The last two episodes in particular have some amazing practical effects used to pull off the gore.
Slasher: Flesh & Blood is a mix of influences, but I would say the main ones that come to mind are the Harper’s Island series from 2009, and the 2019 movie Ready or Not, along with the creative kills of the Final Destination movies, and a touch of the madness of The Wickerman.
The plot, however, requires great leaps of faith, as I kept wondering why the family would still be playing Spencer’s games when people are actually getting murdered. I get some being gold-diggers, but they all valued money over the safety of their own lives. And to be honest, none of the family members are people you want to root for, which lessens the impact of those that are killed.
I’m giving Slasher: Flesh & Blood (Season 4) 3.5 out of 5 stars. Great gore with a hint of grossness, and imaginative kills that are actually shown, but ultimately not completely satisfying because I didn’t care if any of them made it out alive.
SLASHER: FLESH & BLOOD (Season 4)
Director: Adam MacDonald
Cast: David Cronenberg, Chris Jacot, Sabrina Grdevich, A.J. Simmons, Alex Ozerov, Jeananne Goossen, Paula Brancati, Rachael Crawford, Sydney Meyer, Breton Lalama, Corteon Moore, Nataliya Rodina, Patrice Goodman
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