This Slasher Might Be Best Left Ditched (2022)
First Non-Festival Release: January 18, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Christopher Donaldson
Writer: Christopher Donaldson
Runtime: 86 Minutes
Starring: Marika Sila, Kris Loranger, Mackenzie Gray
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Paramedic Melina (Marika Sila) awakens to the scene of her ambulance in disarray and unconscious bodies strewn around the dead car. Shocked and confused, Melina tries to recall her memory of how she ended up there while her coworkers and patients awaken. She soon realizes that among her charges is the deceptive serial killer Franson (Kris Loranger). As she pieces together the puzzle of how the prison transport ended sideways, she and the others discover that the real danger isn’t who is among the survivors but who is hunting them down.
A clunky but gory revenge thriller, Ditched crumbles under the weight of its awkward story and unconvincing performances.
About a third of the way into the film, the why behind the situation is revealed which makes all tension evaporate instantly which causes Ditched to go even further downhill. Beyond its expository nature, the lines feel off. At no point does it feel like anyone is talking like a real human. The jokes fall flat, the action flails, and the story gets more ridiculous by the minute. Backwoods horror meets Saw is not the cleverest idea and the film’s insistence that it is makes it hard to take seriously.
No character is memorable in Ditched both in performance and story. Beyond superficial desires to leave the situation, there isn’t much driving them. Their backstories seem forced and, again, the exposition dumps do little to garner much of a response due to the lack of originality. Everyone gives it their best go, most of the cast fails to deliver a genuine performance. The closest to nailing the role is Declan O’Reilly in his performance as Jake, an injured paramedic with a secret. Otherwise, the cast wholly delivers their lines without much zeal or without care for controlling their vocal dynamics.
The worst of it all, however, is the creation of Melina as a character. The deadpan delivery of Marika Sila is less of the problem than is the weak writing for her. Melina’s dialogue is horrendous. It’s clear that Melina’s daughter is the most important aspect of her life, but beyond these constant assertions that she is, there isn’t much to their relationship. This isn’t rectified by the reveal of why Melina cares so much. It cheapens it because there is still so little to her character beyond this simple statement. It plays as inauthentic and irritating more than anything.
In terms of production, Ditched plays like a typical low budget indie film. Besides a few inspired shots and some interesting use of colors, most of the film is photographed blandly. Confused editing leads to disarray of the action onscreen. It gets difficult to understand what exactly is happening throughout the hodgepodge of fights and deaths.
One thing Ditched does very well is its depiction of the gnarlier death scenes. Not everything is shown up close and personal, but there are plenty of moments of limb severing and in your face decapitations that can drive most gore hounds to satiation. If you are looking for something straightforward with plenty of dumb, slasher action Ditched certainly delivers.
There is a certain craft behind Ditched that is endearing but overall disappointing. As a cathartic tale of revenge, it falls flat due to so-so delivery and horrendously obnoxious exposition dumps that explain why the audience should be on their side. Slasher films often take the motivation deeply seriously, but there is something nonsensical about the setup in Ditched that broaches lines of believability that should not be crossed in any serious setting. A few moments of tension and some good chuckles salvage the film from veering too far off path. If all you need in a slasher is some gore and over the top kills, Ditched might be your film and if not, it’s certainly okay to toss it.
Overall Score? 4/10