No matter how hard you try, the old-school slasher isn’t designed to last more than 90 minutes of rewarding kills until it becomes stale. It took American Horror Story nearly a decade to get around to exploring the genre in its first season (eventually succumbing with summer camp tale 1984). It was far too cartoonish to be frightening at all, as evidenced by Ryan Murphy’s second short-lived horror anthology, Scream Queens.
MTV viewers were not captivated by Ghostface’s heinous acts, not even the sequel to the post-modern classic Scream, which was released in 2007. As a result, it’s only right that the eponymously called Slasher gets recognition for making it to an unprecedented fourth season of television. The fact that it has landed one of horror’s most well-known living auteurs just adds to the excitement surrounding the project.
Instead of being behind the camera for Flesh and Blood, David Cronenberg appears in front of the camera, which is maybe the most unexpected casting announcement of the year thus far. Acting isn’t something new for the man who helped establish the genre of body horror with films like Scanners, Videodrome, and The Fly.
It was his role as Jason X in the Friday the 13th series’ space adventure that made him famous as the world’s most lethal serial murderer of all time. He has a lengthy résumé, which includes minor roles in Canadian thrillers that were released straight to DVD. While Spencer Galloway is not his most prominent role, it is the most significant role he has performed since the 1990 adaptation of Clive Barker’s novel Nightbreed, in which he played a serial murdering psychotherapist.
He agreed to participate in Slasher’s return to Shudder, which had previously been broadcast on Netflix, to hone his acting skills and gain more experience. Among Galloway’s most fully realized characters are the father of a wealthy family that is so cruel that it makes the Roys of Succession appear like the Waltons in comparison. He’s also the most ruthless of them all.
Instead of a family game night, this is a bloody treasure hunt, which is how Flesh and Blood begins. You’ll find boobytraps that will burn your hands and make your legs skiver. Yes, Galloway takes pleasure in punishing his unfortunate forefathers and foremothers in exchange for their inheritance. He is taken from his great island home on the same night as his filthy little grandson is stolen from his grand island estate after 25 years of torturous reunions.
Galloway at this point resurrects an ancient tradition of inflicting agony on his loved ones to gain the ultimate prize: his entire fortune. To assist him in dealing with his terminal lung cancer, he has created a competition in which he would weed out each money-grabbing offspring one at a time until only one is left in the competition.
As far as I can tell, Galloway has no intention of putting his gang of spoilt brats out of their misery (turns out there are limits to his depravity). When a player gets knocked out of the game, he or she will either endure a massive electric shock or tumble over a bed of rusted metal spikes. Neither option is pleasant. But despite this, a violent invader (or is it a violent invader?) dressed in a white face mask and a top hat chases the remote territory, and they meet a peculiar end.
Harper’s Island, the mid-2000s one-season wonder Harper’s Island, and the current aristocratic horror-comedy Ready or Not are all examples of influences on this show. In terms of acting, it’s more akin to a daytime television soap opera. The performances by Flesh and Blood may well be the most terrifying component of the picture. Even the leading man’s part is not exempt from this rule.
Cronenberg has made an unmistakable influence on the present landscape of the horror genre as a director. However, probably, he hasn’t received the same level of recognition for his acting skills. He has a faltering accent that makes it hard to believe that he’s fluent in English. A speech such as “I don’t care about PC bulls, I care about profits” would make even Daniel Day-Lewis look smug, to be fair.
Galloway’s flat voice and expressionless demeanor reflect his ice-cold heart. Particularly shocking is his refusal to accept his infant granddaughter because her mother is the “lowly” housekeeper. He is hardly the only one to blame, by any stretch. The characters don’t appear to mind that their loved ones are being suffocated. It’s like discovering all of the family’s long-hidden secrets in a single weekend. These characters don’t just nibble on the scenery; they consume it in its entirety.
There are few Oscar-nominated actors in this picture, but it’s all about terrible characters who are subjected to fantastical punishments. The fourth installment does not disappoint us in this aspect. A woodchipper death, a wince-inducing eye-gouging, and a limb-ripping machine that would impress Jigsaw are among the first four pre-aired episodes of the show that have been made available to the public as of this writing.
Some old favorites are back, including Jefferson Brown as the show’s adulterous handyman, and Paula Brancati, who this season has shown to have a shred of decency in her Galloway character. There will be plenty of hissing and booing directed at Seamus Jacot and his sister Florence (Sabrina Grdevich) for their avaricious quest for money.
Even if you don’t care who comes out on top, there is undeniable schadenfreude in seeing others fail.
He says to his son Jayden (Corteon Moore) in a flashback that “you need to rejoice every time you conquer the world demanding you… be kind,” “conform, and care,” in one of the many flashbacks that attempt to excuse the sociopathy displayed.
Misanthropic values permeate Flesh and Blood, making it the most foreboding chapter thus far, but it is also the most gratifying, as it strives for the luxury enjoyed by the 1 percent. Season five, on the other hand, should have a guest appearance by David Cronenberg.