(aka SL8N8)
3 stars  Buy this film and help with the site's running costs!

directed by: Frank van Geloven and Edwin Visser
Victoria Koblenko, Kurt Rogiers, Jop Joris, Linda van der Steen, Steve Hooi, Carolina Dijkhuizen, Lara Toorop, Emiel Sandtke, Serge-Henri Valcke, Martijn Oversteegen, Liz Snoyink, Michael van Buuren, Robert Eleveld, Rutger Lagestee

choice dialogue:

"This place is a maze - if you get lost you die!

- that's about the size of it.

slash with panache?

[review by Justin Kerswell]

Don't let the irritating text speak of the original title put you off. This mine set Dutch slasher may be imitative to the extreme (hello MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981) and Brit horror flick LONG TIME DEAD (2002)), but there's plenty of gruesome cat n' mouse fun to be had for those willing to put their brains in neutral and welcome the power of alcohol to make everything right with the world.

Kris (Victoria Koblenko - supposedly quite the honey in some circles) is a high school student with a bad case of guilt. Not only did she keep her planned worldwide trip from her father, the ensuing argument is the reason he lets his attention wander and ends up as crispy pulp in a violent car crash. Kris survives with hardly a scratch, but she keeps seeing his bloody face. However, teens have an enviable ability to shrug their shoulders and get on with things. She takes the opportunity to get her father's manuscript from the last place he worked to enjoy a road trip to Belgium. Believe me, I've been to Belgium and I can't think of a worse place to take a road trip apart from Zimbabwe (and even that would at least be eventful). To make matters worse, her friends are an annoying bunch of brats and primping teen queens: Paul (Jop Joris), who has the hots for Kris but is the last word in being a moron; the self-centred Eltrid (Linda van der Steen); the level headed black guy, Rudy (Steve Hooi); and Lisa (Carolina Dijkhuizen), the Tarot reading (uh-oh) psychic.

The group end up at some large Art-deco'esque building built over a series of mine shafts that are no longer being used but have daily tours for the thronging tourists (and who said Belgium was boring?). Quite why there's a huge, fancy building above these disused mines is anyone's guess. It seems that Kris' father had been doing research into a famous serial killer who had terrorised the local countryside in the 1850s (shown in a well-staged flashback). Andries Martiens practiced Satanism and was so pissed at his parents dying without telling him where they hid their fortune that he attempted to chase them into hell using a Satanic ritual where he decapitated eight children and put their heads on spikes (there's nothing like working through your issues in a constructive way). But before he could kill the eighth he was arrested by the police. The link to the mine (yes, I'm getting there) is that prisoners were used to explode methane; not many survived even though they were wrapped in protective clothing. Martiens did survive the blast, but he was so hated that the guards beat him to death anyway. The story goes that his ghost still wanders the mines looking for his gold ...

Whilst going through her father's belongings Kris finds his Ouija board and takes it with her (as it's bound to come in handy). To avoid being above ground in Belgium for any longer than possible, the group head underground for the tour of the mines without too much protest. Joining them is a hunky counselor, Mark (Kurt Rogiers), and his two young charges Susan (Lara Toorop) and Stefan (Emiel Sandtke) (though, what kind of therapy taking them for a tour of haunted mines is anyone's guess).

Things go like clockwork until the lift breaks down, the tour guide gets decapitated and they realise that they are trapped in a spooky mine. They do exactly what you'd expect: they drop some ecstasy, get drunk and break out the Ouija board! This is probably not the best move, as one-by-one the group is possessed by the spirit of the long dead serial killer who proceeds to make mincemeat of the others ...

The British semi-slasher LONG TIME DEAD (2002) certainly seems to have influenced SL8N8. It shares the Ouija board device (although it's more central to the British film), as well as having the friends possessed and carrying out the murders. And, as I said before, no slasher film set in a mine can escape comparison with that Canuck powerhouse that is MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981). Of course, SL8N8 suffers by comparison, but that's not to say that there isn't fun to be had here. The possession angle works better here than in LONG TIME DEAD, especially when the possessed dress up in the creepy 'fireman's' robes. Albeit overly-familiar, the cat n' mouse theatrics are well handled and the second half of the film manages to be pretty tense if never particularly scary. It's enjoyably silly, with Kris keeping stopping to consult her dead Dad on his Ouija board – who seems to respond from beyond using text speak (and resulting in the deaths of anyone near her) and with characters splitting up at any given opportunity! It also doesn't scrimp on the red stuff – how many films can you think of with the balls to chop off a kid's head? Not many! There's also a fair smattering (or should that be splattering?) of slit throats and a gore doozy when someone gets a spades between the lips and has her head whacked off.

Beyond the sheer novelty of a Dutch slasher flick, SL8N8 (which apparently makes more sense in the original language) will certainly not win any awards for originality, but I enjoyed it.


BODYCOUNT 17   bodycount!   female:8 / male:9

       1) Male found dead
       2) Male found dead
       3) Male found dead
       4) Male found dead
       5) Female found dead
       6) Female found dead
       7) Female found dead
       8) Female decapitated
       9) Male slashed to death
     10) Male killed in explosion
     11) Male killed in explosion
     12) Male decapitated
     13) Male decapitated
     14) Female speared and shot
     15) Female run through with a pneumatic drill
     16) Male hacked with pick axe
     17) Male decapitated with rope