Slumlord review: A home invasion thriller with a new-millennia spin.
Director: Victor Zarcoff
Cast: Neville Archambault, Brienne Moncrief, P.J McCabe, Sarah Baldwin
Running Time: 87 minutes
Synopsis: Married young couple Claire and Ryan move into a new apartment not realising that their new landlord has a sinister agenda.
Opening with an alarming statement that over 8,000 people were watched in their own home without their knowledge last year, Slumlord seeks to open our eyes to the dangers of modern technology.
Married, and heavily pregnant, couple Claire and Ryan, along with their dog Baron, move into a new apartment. Claire takes an instant dislike to their new Landlord Gerald purely down to his unappealing appearance and stench. Granted it’s not the most Christian of ways of thinking, but as the film progresses it becomes clear that Claire’s gut feeling was right.
Archambault does a fantastic job at portraying Gerald. He manages to be both disgusting and menacing; I certainly wouldn’t want to meet him. Starting off harmlessly enough Gerald begins by kitting up Claire and Ryan’s dream house with more secret surveillance cameras than an entire series of Big Brother. Once set-up he starts to spend his time watching Claire and Ryan’s relationship; his own personal reality series.
Seemingly content to purely be a voyeur, it isn’t until the addition of the third component of the couple’s relationship, Hannah, Ryan’s mistress, that Gerald’s actions become more intrusive. He starts to make secret visits to the house whilst his tenants are away, making friends with the dog in the process before giving into temptation and crossing lines. The sequences with Gerald in the house whilst Claire and Ryan are not will send a chill down the spine of anyone out there who is a renter.
The device of seeing a lot of the events unfold via Gerald’s surveillance camera serves to add a layer of unexpected reality to the story. Somehow by glimpses them through hidden cameras it makes Claire and Ryan more tangible, maybe it’s down to our society’s over reliance on reality shows that makes it so easily swallowed. The appointment of the audience as a voyeur becomes very unsettling at times.
It’s the premise that makes Slumlord stand-out. When you consider that more of us are renting than ever before, the idea that the person you hand over your hard-earned cash to could be dangerous is an uncomfortable idea. Worse still, is the notion that someone is lurking around your personal sanctuary without your knowledge; it’s one of the worst violations imaginable.
Slumlord is a home invasion thriller with a new-millennia spin, one which will keep you up all night checking your house for secret cameras.
Slumlord review, Kat Hughes, August 2015.
Slumlord screens as part of the Frightfest programme on Sunday 30th August with the first showing at 10:45am.