What can you buy for $800? Well, you could buy 800 litres of milk. You could also use the money to buy one and a half shares of Google. Or maybe you would rather use the cash to buy a 1992 Chevy Cavalier.
Ryan Shumski and Reamonn Joshee had other ideas. They took their $800 and made a small horror film titled The Thrasher.
The film is self-described as ‘rebel filmmaking’. It was shot over 2 days in an abandoned warehouse utilizing an able bodied cast to bring us the tale of a serial killer who stalks on a handful of youths partying like its 1999. Ok, 1988.
The Thrasher takes the usual steps from opening credits to fade out to being us an uninspired horror story that has a respectable body count presented in a guerilla filming style.
On the surface, The Thrasher doesn’t have any distinctive qualities in the general terms of a horror film. But for less than the monthly minimum payment on my credit card, The Thrasher has plenty to separate it from the mediocre.
First and foremost is the films 80’s-style musical score. Reminiscent of the great John Carpenter scores of Halloween and The Thing, The Thrasher uses an even tempo synthesizer score that punctures the screen as much as any of the killer’s hunting tools. Most independent horror hobby films suffer greatly from a cheap self-made musical accompaniment. But The Thrasher can hold its head above its peers with a melodic score that could easily be inserted into a big budget horror film without a skipped beat.
Also proving to be outside of the norm is the great gore incorporated by the two novice directors. Knives, axes, pick-axes and industrial saws all contributed to the effort and the non-CGI blood and guts was superior for a film of this ilk. What the film lacked in character development and plot plausibility, it made up in practical red oozing.
Shumski and Joshee clearly used The Thrasher as an ground zero trial of their ability. They threw the kitchen sink into their project and used everything from slow motion to low angle shots to POV’s and even subtitles in their experimentation and the results are uneven but far from the unwatchable mess we expected given our knowledge of the budget and production.
Our hope is that we haven’t seen the last of Shumski/Joshee collaborations. A stronger focus on the plot details and filming style would be a generous plus. But put their ability to bring the gore with the score and we are all in for another effort.