The Predator (2018) Film Review

Review by Zakary McGaha

6.5/10. An F in school, but pretty close to a B- in my book.

If you’ve read my reviews or talked to me about writing in person, you know my schtick: I hate self-aware things and believe horror comedies can either be really good or really bad…and I believe most of them are really bad.

Well, judging from my rating, you already know I think The Predator was somewhat well done. Rarely does a mainstream, big-budget film balance comedy and action these days. The Meg sucked. The It remake was dry. The Nun didn’t deserve to exist. But The Predator? Yeah, it did something special.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe this new installment in the beloved sci-fi/action/sorta-horror franchise is the best yet. It throws great characters, awesome atmosphere, and superb humor into a blender, and the resulting mix is perfection…well, the first 65% was mixed superbly, but things got chunky after that.

First off, the first 65% was jaw-droppingly amazing. The feel of the movie was quickly set up to be a hybrid of the original Predator-action we’ve come to expect and love, with an added comedic feel that reminded me of something like Critters, except more intense.

The comedy worked well because it was character-centric. Much like the first film, this one contained a bunch of soldiers who love telling un-PC jokes, swapping war stories and enjoying an all-around cutthroat camaraderie.

The atmosphere of the film was surprisingly Fall-centric, which, admittedly, is something I can’t get enough of. It benefited the movie by adding a trope to the franchise we’ve never seen before. I mean, who couldn’t love a super-Predator crashing its way through a school on Halloween night while a Predator-dog is goofing off in the background? Cozy vibes galore…cozy vibes galore.

While the organic humor and interesting characters are entertaining you, the Predator of this film is slicing people up in the goriest fashion we’ve seen thus far. While it won’t make a fan of extreme horror bat an eye, it’s still intense enough to overpower the comedy.

You see, the characters in this film—unlike those in The Meg adaptation and the It remake (I hate those movies, in case you haven’t noticed)—are actually aware that the villain has the power to easily slaughter them; they won’t be making any stupid, stand-up like jokes while facing the Predator…at least not till the final 35% of the film. You see, in the first 65%, it’s like we’re watching an actual Predator film where, you know, the Predator is badass and poses a threat to all humans.

Welp, that all changes near the film’s end. I have no clue what went wrong, but…yeah, something went HORRIBLY wrong. It’s like they started filming a different movie. All the intensity went away, everything became a joke and the super-Predator (notice I didn’t capitalize “super”) became a total wuss.

Watch it for the first 65%, then get up and take a long pee break when things start getting stupid.

All in all, I believe this is the best sequel we’ve seen in the franchise, but the old phrase will have its way: “It could’ve been better.”

Films That Fell Through the Cracks: Slash (2002)

Welcome to Films That Fell Through the Cracks where we discuss notable motion pictures that failed to generate the kind of buzz worthy of the so-called “cult classic.” Today, “Locker Arms” author Zakary McGaha delves into the horror-comedy hilarity of 2002’s Slash.

“Slash” Film Review 

by Zakary McGaha

Slash (2002) is horror-comedy gold. If you’re like me, you’ve always been very picky when it comes to horror comedies. I must admit: I’m more easily won over by films that take themselves seriously and don’t derive comedic value from self-awareness.

Self-awareness has always taken me out of a story; it’s made me think negatively of the creators. Hmm. They must be pretty cool…too cool to make serious movies. Nevertheless, sometimes it works. We can all think of the more mainstream classics: Evil Dead 2, Return of the Living Dead, Seed of Chucky (okay, that one’s hotly debated), the Leprechaun franchise…the list could go on and on.

All the movies listed above have something in common: they’re known by pretty much everyone. They’re lost somewhere between mainstream and cult. They’re not “indie” or “cult” in the shoestring-budget type of way (these films had budgets and talented crews who knew what they were doing), but they’re not getting discussed on the morning news’s movie segment. Still, they’re known to virtually all people who are into this type of thing, and are universally highly regarded (even if some people hate Seed of Chucky…damn cretins).

That being said, it is my opinion, based on years of experience, that most horror comedies suck. The best ones are the exception to this rule and, thus, become remembered by everyone who sees them. However, every now and then, I’ll see one that knocks my socks off. Slash did just that. It deserves a place in the Horror Comedy Hall of Fame, as well as a spot in the Killer Scarecrow Movie Hall of Fame, but, sadly, to the majority of horror fans, it doesn’t have a place in either.


Slash follows a grungy pop-rocker who’s returning to a farm he spent time on as a kid, with his band in tow. Said band consists of a colorful cast of semi-charming knuckleheads, all of whom have their own personalities. For the most part, they’re less than enthused about leaving the city for the country…especially when they’re on the cusp of a record deal…which sets things up for some good comedy later on.

There are two stand-out performances in this movie: Steve Railsback as Jeremiah, the somewhat creepy (but humorous) head of the farm, and Nick Boraine as Billy Bob, a dim-witted country boy with bad teeth. Side note: if you’re a fan of movies about real-life serial killers, you may recognize Nick Boraine as Ed Gein from the film bearing his namesake…Ed Gein (2000)…which is, in my opinion, the go-to dramatization of the murders.

The comedy in Slash comes from the characters, but it’s never in a stand-up sort of way. The clashing of different personalities is where most of the humor is found, which is refreshing compared to a lot of modern stuff.

In terms of gore, you won’t find anything outstanding here, but the movie isn’t aiming to please gore hounds. Instead, it’s aiming to tell a strange story that is equal parts cartoonish humor and slasher horror. It works as a blend of the two, where one doesn’t act in opposition to the other: the folks churning out movies like the It remake and The Meg adaptation should take note!

“Scary” is something the film never achieves, but it works in this simple, foolproof way: the characters are awesome, so it builds suspense when you see them getting stalked, and eventually slashed, by a scarecrow.

This film isn’t smart, nor is it scary, but it is fun, entertaining, and memorable. It’s almost masterful in its ability to keep you glued into its fictional realm. Most movies have plusses and minuses that get you thinking in critical terms…(too much of this, not enough of that)…whereas Slash possesses that rare ability to entrance you. Also, the song played at the end of the film is something you’ll be singing in the shower for days afterward!

4/5…Highly recommended!