Dark, disturbing, and surprisingly deep, The Slaughterhouse Killer is an underappreciated shocker that definitely left an impression.
A passion for slaughter keeps Box in line at the local abattoir where he can quench his thirst for blood. When Nathan, a young parolee arrives in town, Box is instructed to take him under his wing, and soon the two men bond over a murder. Unable to resist the bloody temptations, the two form a friendship revolving around their sickness for killing. A friendship which is bad news for everyone in town.
Written and produced by Sam Curtain and Benjamin Clarke and directed by Sam Curtain, The Slaughterhouse Killer is an unsung Aussie indie horror gem starring the talents of Craig Ingham (Box), James Mason (Nathan), Kristen Condon (Tracey), and Dean Kirkright (Blake).
The film was a far throw from what I was expecting (which was another Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes clone) and was surprisingly well made for a lower budget Australian film. There have been a number of great horror flicks to come out of Australia over the last few decades (The Loved Ones  and The Babadook  are the first two that come to mind) and although this title is definitely far more indie than the aforementioned, The Slaughterhouse Killer can most definitely stand tall with the rest of the best.
Craig Ingham’s Box was most definitely the film’s highlight. His acting was phenomenal and he pretty much carried the movie for the majority of its runtime. Nathan, Box’s partner in crime, often seems a little less fleshed out as a character with as much screen time but far less of a personality, but I’ll touch more on the negatives after we look at what worked and why the film succeeded as well as it did.
The Slaughterhouse Killer managed to, first and foremost, be a watchable film about some terrible people rather than a “horror flick” that is just the sum of its tropes. We have real characters in challenging situations doing terrible things rather than a bunch of kids in their late twenties who drove down the wrong road into some hillbilly farmland. There is a story being told with protagonists you can invest in for at least the length of the film. There was enough going on to keep me engaged and then some, plus a healthy dose of gore, guts and the grotesque. The casual murder can get rather heavy and at some points really becomes difficult to stomach, which is something I’d consider a success for this particular brand of horror.
It’s not all fantastic though. The writing oftentimes left a lot to be desired, with Box having all the depth and Nathan seemingly unfinished, especially in terms of his backstory. There are a few scenes where the interactions felt a little awkward, but this could have been due to any number of reasons ranging from the script to directing ability, editing to acting chops. It is hard to make a perfect film on a tiny budget but The Slaughterhouse Killer definitely tried its damned hardest.
Director Sam Curtain had this to say about the film:
From the initial story’s inception, I wanted to achieve two things. I knew I wanted to create an exciting, visceral, violent horror film. But I wanted all of the horror elements to be built around the relationship of the two central characters, Box and Nathan, and how their actions would affect those around them. The violent scenes shock and disturb because of the time we spend with our central characters in their normal life – going to work, having a beer or in pointless conversation. With the audience gaining an almost personal connection with our leads it becomes far more impactful when you witness these horrifying attacks.
Overall, I was definitely coloured impressed. The film was far better than I had bargained for and there are a few scenes that definitely left a lasting, morbid impression. The film has already been released by Breaking Glass pictures for international audiences and can be watched on a platform of your choice from this link. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and poster below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.