“Flesh tears. Bones shatter. The nightmare has begun.”
Director/Writer: David A. Prior / Cast: Ted Prior, Linda McGill, John Eastman, Jeanine Scheer, Steve Wright, Tim Aguilar, Sandy Brooke, Doug Matley.
Body Count: 7
The title pertains quite accurately to the implement of destruction you will want to attack the screen with after about ten minutes of Sledgehammer.
Another “I was the first! I was the first!” ranter about the oh-so-impressive feat of being shot-on-video. This film is approximately 88% slow-motion action.
Beginning with a static shot of a farmhouse that remains on screen for about forty seconds, we eventually go inside to find a slutty woman locking her kid in the closet so she can do the nudies with her lover. They’re interrupted by a sledgehammer-toting assailant who donks them into the next realm.
Ten years later – never nine, never eleven – a van load of ‘young’ ‘people’ come to the house to party. They whoop and cheer for everything:
- “Let’s unload our bags.”
- “Woooo! Yeah!”
- “Let’s go inside.”
- “Woooo! Yeah!”
- “Let’s partake in some alcoholic refreshment.”
- “Woooo! Yeah! America!!!”
Their optimism made me want them dead within seconds.
The lead couple are made up of hunky Chuck and his moany girlfriend (Joan? Joni? Jenny?) who wah-wah-wahs on that he asked her to marry him and now can’t decide if it’s the right thing to do. He’s a dick anyway.
They go for a walk in the field. To flutey folk music. In slow-motion. It lasts two minutes and twenty seconds. That’s 140 seconds of nothing but watching two people walk along to flutey folk music.
Later the whole gang have a foodfight (“Woooo!”) then a seance (“Yeah!!!”) where Chuck tells the story of the sledgehammer murders and we are shown it all again. As if it wasn’t painful enough twenty minutes ago.
Telling the story seemingly resurrects the spirit of the kid-in-the-closet, now a twenty-foot giant with a plastic mask, who dons the titular object and sets about killing the ‘young people’. In slow-motion.
Standard tin-can sound and video-blur add to the pain of observing Sledgehammer. There’s no point commenting on any of the acting, writing, or characterisation. It all means nothing.
The film probably wrapped at about 28 minutes originally, hence the need to slow everything down to force it to feature length. I can’t say I’ve ever seen more use of slo-mo in any production, film or TV, ever.
Blurbs-of-interest: David A. Prior and Ted Prior respectively directed and starred in Aerobicide.