30 March 2014 | Sandcooler
A shot-on-video pioneer (is that a good thing?)
Ted Prior was a Playgirl Playmate trying to get into acting, his brother David uhm, just owned a camera I guess, and so a fruitful collaboration started that has been going on for more than thirty years now. Their absolute masterpiece is probably 1987's "Deadly Prey", a complete and utter rip-off to "Rambo: First Blood" that is just irresistibly entertaining in all its wrongness. That one I can really recommend, but "Sledgehammer" is a whole other story. This thing is one of the most boring slasher films I have ever seen, it's clear the dynamic duo still had lots to learn when they made this. For example, David Prior hadn't figured out yet how to turn off the slo-mo effect on his camcorder. He uses slo-mo for the most random things. Some slo-mo in the grand finale, makes sense. Every single death scene in slow-motion, that's pushing it but fair enough. But why would you use it when the scene is just people walking around in a garden or sitting on a couch doing nothing? Is this young David Prior's creative force kicking in and not having a clue what it's doing? Not that the movie would be any good at a normal speed, but at least it would be lots shorter. Occasionally there is some almost-suspense (the clichéd slasher scene where one character tells the killer's legend isn't bad), the opening scene is also quite atmospheric, but as a whole "Sledgehammer" just doesn't bring much to the table to keep you entertained. It also doesn't help that you'll constantly have to yell "just get out of the house!" at the screen, my throat is still sore from yesterday. If this led the Priors on the road to "Deadly Prey" I appreciate it exists, but that's the nicest thing I can say about it.