A trip to the rodeo takes a turn for the worse in the brand new slasher flick Lasso and boy...does it make some interesting choices. Come inside to check out my full review of the movie!
There are horror films, there are B-movie slasher flicks, and then there’s Lasso. I’m not sure what the best way to categorize Lasso, but schlock horror/slasher seems to be on the right track. Everyone knows I’m not big on slasher films, but I’m just about always down for some good cheese. That’s something Lasso has in spades, but even in this aspect the movie makes some odd choices that keep it from being entirely enjoyable as a goofy B-movie.
Let’s talk about the story because, frankly, that’s the quickest part to discuss. The basics are fairly straightforward; a pair of younger people, Kit and Simon, escorting a group of elderly people on a Senior Tour trip to a local rodeo out in a secluded part of the woods. Things seem all fine and dandy until they try and leave, only to discover the people running the rodeo are vicious killers. The film puts most of the focus on Simon, who finds himself among a group of previous victims, including a badass one-armed cowboy, and must find a way to escape.
Well...That’s pretty much it! That’s about all the story you’re given throughout the film as you watch everyone try and survive as the cowboys running the ranch hunt them down, treating their victims like cattle in their own personal, sadistic rodeo show.
Seriously, that's all you get. There's no explanation about these crazy killers (aside from seeing them down some Horse steroids) and why they're doing what they're doing. Hell, there's little to no motivation given to the lead characters either. It's pure slasher and seeks only rack up the body count as much as possible.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact, I really love how committed the film is to this premise. It knows what it's there for and sticks to it solidly. The problem, however, is there's just not a whole lot that keeps you invested in the film overall. There's some basic setup early on about Simon needing to "care" and I guess the film wants to show us how he grows...? Since his character spends the majority of the film being a whiny little bitch, it's a hard sell.
Instead, Lasso wants to hook you on its ridiculous premise and gory kills. The movie sports a surprisingly large cast of characters, which leaves plenty of fodder for the kill count. I mean, once the killing starts, you literally end up seeing a dead body every two-three minutes until the credits roll. It's borderline ridiculous how many people end up dying in this film, but it's also kind of impressive for an indie slasher flick.
In here, however, lies another problem for the film. None of the kills are all that particularly...inventive. For the most part they're all pretty standard and considering how many of them happen off screen (though we come back to see the aftermath), it's not as engaging as one would hope. This is among many of the weird choices the film makes, but is arguably the one that hurts it most.
Lasso wants to be a hardcore grindhouse style film and in ways is successful. There are scenes with literal guts being strewn about, people being sawed in half, and all other manner of dismemberment. And yet, some of the kills which seem like they have the MOST potential for craziness aren’t featured. Instead the camera cuts away or its skipped over entirely.
I’m not sure if this is due to budgetary concerns or what, but I’d say roughly half the kills that happen, you don’t fully see. It does a decent job of trying to hide this fact, but considering how it chooses to focus so much time on other kills it’s hard not to notice. I mean, they spend a solid five minutes (if not more) on a sequence that ultimately ends with the dude getting his neck snapped. That’s it! There’s a lot of build up to it being something far more memorable, but the result is something anti-climatic.
Other weird choices in the film boil down to strange filmmaking decisions, that seem more the result of inexperience than anything else. Long shots followed by inexplicable closeups, holding interminably long on the killers’ eyes looking crazy...It’s all just odd.
At different points in Lasso the film fully realizes its own ridiculous nature and leans into it. This is where the film shines as a self-aware B-movie that’s just pure fun/goofiness. Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm for the movie and it fluctuates between schlock and trying to be a more serious slasher flick.
This dueling nature of the film, combined with all of the other contradictory choices hold Lasso back from satisfying any specific niche. While I enjoyed parts of it while watching, by the time the credits rolled I was left shrugging my shoulders.