Over the years, the horror genre has gradually relied more heavily on CGI rather than the art and creativity of practical special effects. If it is used sparingly and purposefully, CGI can be a great thing. However, as one of the biggest critical complaints in this year’s remake of IT have shown, an overabundance of computer-generated imagery may threaten to overshadow the rest of the film. David Kerr revisits the traditional imagery of gore and practical special effects in his directorial debut Curse of the Slasher Nurse.
When a group of friends embark on a weekend getaway of partying at a secluded cabin where no one can hear you scream, an unexpected guest joins in on the fun. Having a connection with one of the partygoers, a recently escaped mental patient dressed as a nurse makes her way to the cabin leaving a trail of blood and bodies in her path. Upon this deranged psychopath’s silent arrival, the partyers begin to gradually disappear. The body count rises along with the plot ending in a clever climactic twist fitting for a film of this caliber.
While this is far from a professional studio feature, it is clear that Kerr and his crew worked their asses off while creating this fun reminiscence of classic slasher features of the 70s and 80s. With heavy influence from John Carpenter’s Halloween seasoned with elements from the Friday the 13th franchise, this film brings back a simple yet effective aspect in horror missing from many studio films of today. Creating old-school special effects with enough buckets of blood and prosthetics to keep any gorehound happy, Curse of the Slasher Nurse brings back certain substance that is lost through CGI.
Though some of the scene sequences leading up to the group’s departure for the cabin are a bit confusing at first, the kill scenes are where this feature appropriately thrives. Beginning with small simple kills, the psychotic nurse (Kea Raines) takes a more elaborate turn when she abducts partygoer Josh (Josh Shifflett) chaining him to a table. While a great heavy metal tune fittingly plays in the background, the grungy biker with an attitude is dismembered before meeting a gruesome end. The gore does not end here as a couple more kill scenes feature creative special effects soon follow.
For an amateur feature on a micro-budget, Curse of the Slasher Nurse is a great beginning to Kerr’s filmmaking career. Though it may not be for everyone, indie horror fans of classic slashers will appreciate this throwback to the years before CGI. Personally, I hope this starts a trend in bringing back practical special effects to the horror genre.