Slaughterhouse Rulez Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Sony Pictures
Directed by Crispian Mills
Written by Crispian Mills and Henry Fitzherbert
2018, 103 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 11th March 2019
Asa Butterfield as Willoughby Blake
Simon Pegg as Meredith Houseman
Nick Frost as Woody
Finn Cole as Don Wallace
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunited in their first comedy horror film since Shaun of the Dead? Together again for the first time since 2013’s The World’s End, could the British-set-and-cast Slaughterhouse Rulez be the honorary fourth movie in their Cornetto Trilogy?
Well no, not really. The pair might stand shoulder-to-shoulder (to shoulder, with Michael Sheen in the middle) on the poster, and get top billing on Amazon, but viewers shouldn’t expect a fully-fledged Cornetto reunion from this comedy-horror curio. The pair barely even get to share a scene together, let alone dialogue. And besides, everyone knows that 2011’s Paul is the honorary fourth Cornetto movie.
The real leads of Crispian Mills’s Slaughterhouse Rulez are the charming school chums at its heart; commoner Don, his roommate Willoughby and Clemsie, the former’s love interest. Don Wallace is the new kid at the illustrious Slaughterhouse private boarding school, where his dotty British mother hopes he’ll be whipped into shape and make something of his life. New friends, school bullies and aggressive prefects are the least of Don’s worries though, as a nearby fracking site threatens to turn Slaughterhouse into a... literal slaughterhouse.
Pegg is depressed, lonely school teacher Meredith, Frost the hippy drug dealer and protester who lives out in the woods. Really, they’re just glorified cameos rather than the film’s stars. A shame – but Slaughterhouse Rulez doesn’t overtly need Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. A fun, funny and genuinely likeable British genre film, it acquits itself perfectly well, even without the might of Frost and Pegg. Especially with Michael Sheen and Tom Rhys Harries firing on all cylinders as the school headmaster and asshole, respectively.
The film almost doesn’t even need its own genre twist either, as the young cast play off of each other and their Hogwarts-esque surroundings so amusingly that it manages to work perfectly well as a comedy film about elite British boarding school life. Thankfully, the film’s stupid title is not indicative of the quality of writing within; like the Cornetto trilogy, it’s littered with references and homages to other great works, and is written with a crude yet sparkling wit by Mills and Henry Fitzherbert. Fans of good British swearing should particularly enjoy this one and its cheeky punk spirit.
Then the genre does twist, and the bodies hit the floor, and Slaughterhouse Rulez becomes a very white, upper class play on Attack the Block – complete with gigantic rampaging beasties chewing up everything in sight (and Nick Frost on weed, again). This works too, even if it is more by-numbers and predictable than the 45 minutes or so of film which preceded it. It certainly doesn’t skimp on the gore, turning Simon Pegg into the Bruce Campbell-esque abuse magnet Shaun of the Dead had once set him up to be.
Ultimately, its two big name stars might work against the success of Slaughterhouse Rulez as, for all its vim and vigor, it can’t hope to match the success of their previous work. It’s funny but never hilarious (although I did nearly cry laughing at one fart gag), and its genre affectations feel weirdly out of place.
What it is, is unexpectedly charming, oddly sweet and delightfully unusual. Pegg and Frost are but the (very welcome) cherries on top of a film that stands on its own merits, with a great cast, cool set-pieces and a really interesting setting. I refuse to adopt the stupid ‘z’ but yes, it rules.
This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.