[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Chiller TV unveils Slasher, its first scripted series, with two episodes this Friday night, and it’s a bloody introduction to delicately balanced character study and horror show. I’ve seen the word anthology used to describe it, but to me, that’s individual, disconnected episodes like The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. I’ll call this a limited, fixed series.
It’s eight episodes connected by the throughline of horrifyingly brutal murder almost 30 years ago and the return of one of its survivors, the now-grown Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath of Merlin), to the very house where her parents were butchered. She’s back in town because the house is essentially free money and she and her husband, Dylan (Graceland‘s Brandon Jay McLaren), are looking for a fresh start, although we’re not told exactly what they’re starting over from.
Their arrival is marred by the resumption of murders by a seeming copycat who’s dressed the same as the long-incarcerated Joe (Patrick Garrow of Hannibal and Killjoys). Sarah strikes up a series of jailhouse conversations with him as she tries to investigate what’s happening while also learning the dirty little secrets harbored by her parents and their very small town.
The cast is rounded out by several familiar faces (click here for our casting article from last summer). Wendy Crewson is Sarah’s grandma, who’s less-than-happy about Sarah’s move back to town. Steve Byers (Alphas) is Cam, the local police officer who Sarah grew up with; Rob Stewart (Killjoys) plays his dad, who also survived the massacre and turned his life around. Christopher Jacot (Rogue) and Mark Ghanimé (Reign) play Robin and Justin, the couple who have swooped into town and bought up quite a bit of it.
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica/Rookie Blue) is the unhinged Heather, haunted by demons not yet revealed, although we can guess from the staging that the loss of a child is at the heart of it. Mayko Nguyen (Killjoys) is the publisher at Dylan’s newspaper. Dean McDermott is the local police chief who’s not amused about the new crime wave and Sarah’s wrong place/right time coincidences.
All eight episodes were written by Aaron Martin (Killjoys, Being Erica) and directed by Craig David Wallace (Odd Squad). In the first two hours, they deftly balance the quiet moments with punctuations of extreme violence, and let me just say now that the sound effects guys are downright gleeful about making you squirm.
I am admittedly a weirdo about the things I like that by all accounts I should not, and on the face of it, this would not at all be my jam, but I am so down with this cast, and it reminds me of Harper’s Island, an equally aggressively violent serial killer-themed series with an equally awesome cast that I absolutely adored. Both also have their fair share of wink-nudge “You really don’t want to go in there,” followed by people doing exactly that. I’m in.
Friday’s two-hour premiere of Slasher, “An Eye for an Eye” and “Digging Your Grave with Your Teeth,” begin on Chiller in the U.S. at 9/8c Friday and repeat at 11/10c. Note: Slasher will premiere on Super Channel in Canada on April 1st.
Here are a few sneak peeks.