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SLASHER: RIPPER  l  Hollywood Suite  |  April 6, 2023 - New Episodes Weekly

Starring:  Eric McCormack, Paula Brancati

Executive Producers: Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Thomas P. Vitale, Aaron Martin, Ian Carpenter and Adam Macdonald.

'Slasher: Ripper' takes the franchise back in time to the late 19th century and follows Basil Garvey (Eric McCormack), a charismatic tycoon whose success is only rivaled by his ruthlessness, as he oversees a city on the cusp of a new century, and a social upheaval that will see its streets run red with blood. There’s a killer stalking the mean streets, but instead of targeting the poor and downtrodden like Jack the Ripper, The Widow is meting out justice against the rich and powerful. The only person standing in the way of this killer is the newly promoted detective, Kenneth Rijkers, whose ironclad belief in justice may wind up being yet another victim of The Widow.


FIRST LOOK - EPISODES 1 & 2 -- By Darren Zakus

Slasher: Ripper begins an intriguing serial killer story with some brutally grotesque kill sequences that will make you squirm in your seat, and while the first two episodes of the latest season of this anthology drama are not a terribly exciting season premiere, they do a great job of building the mystery that will hopefully payoff well later in the series.


Like any true horror fan, I always enjoy a good slasher story, and that is exactly what this Canadian television show promises. Each season tells the story of a different masked killer, with the fifth and latest season taking audiences to the late 19th century for this story. The story takes great inspiration from Jack the Ripper, but spins the concept on its head as the serial killer appears to be targeting the rich and powerful instead of the poor and downtrodden. This creates a mystery that goes beyond the serial killer but to the heart of each individual character’s story, which has the effect of drawing the audience in as the plot slowly unfolds. And even though it is not must watch television based on the first two episodes alone, there is no doubt that Slasher: Ripper is off to a good start as it slowly sets up its pieces for shocking reveals and brutal deaths over the course of the rest of the season.


Toronto. Late 19th century. A killer known only as ‘The Widow’ stalks the streets of Toronto, killing her victims and leaving carnage in her wake. Detective Kenneth Rijers seemingly finds a connection between the victims of The Widow, discovering that there could be a larger conspiracy at play dating back over a decade, making him the only one who can stop The Widow. At the same time, local tycoon Basil Garvey is set on bringing the city into the next century despite the social upheaval and death present in the city.


There is great potential to the story, and the first two episodes merely scratch the surface of what is actually happening in Slasher: Ripper. The first episode is largely dedicated to introducing the various players in the story, of whom there are many, and their individual storylines within the social context of the world. There are lots of moving parts, and not all the characters get a lot of screentime. It is clear that the writers are setting up a lot in the first two episodes, from potential motives of who could be The Widow and reasons why The Widow’s targets are being selected. It’s part slasher, part political thriller, and part period piece examining the social context of the late 19th century with a dash of supernatural horror, covering many different genres at once, and the end result is interesting. If the writing continues this but ups the excitement and the stakes to get the audience’s heart pounding outside of the kill sequences, Slasher: Ripper has the potential to be something great. 

Being a Canadian production, the main cast of the series is made up of Canadian stars, and aside from Eric McCormack of Will and Grace, the cast is full of actors that you would probably not recognize by name. Though, it's a shame because the cast all give good performances. While some actors get more screen time than others during the first two episodes, every single one of them does a wonderful job bringing their characters to life, while layering them with a sense of mystery and danger to keep the audience suspicious of their potential involvement with The Widow until they are potentially brutally murdered. McCormack himself has a real darkness and mean streak to his character, which is not something we are used to from him, but he does a great job and chews up all of his screentime with a true wickedness


If there is one thing I won’t forget about the first two episodes of Slasher: Ripper, it is the kill sequences of the season’s serial killer: the Widow. The Widow is draped in black, lurking in the shadows, is reminiscent of the old woman from the first two Insidious films with a Jack the Ripper like tendency in the manner in which she cuts her victims apart. In a matter of two episodes alone, viewers are treated to a handful of grotesque kills that are frightening and utterly disturbing. It is exactly what you want from a horror show, as there great practical effects and makeup that bring to life the deaths of The Widow’s victims in a bloody and utterly shocking manner. Blood flies, body parts roll, and the sound editing will make your skin crawl as knives cut through flesh and bone, in addition to other creative and terrifying methods of death. To say the least, the kill sequences deliver something that will haunt your mind long after watching the episodes! 

While the first two episodes have not immediately hooked me on Slasher: Ripper, there is great potential to what the episodes are setting up for the rest of the season, ensuring that I will be tuning in to find out what happens next. There is an interesting story to be told as the writers spin an intriguing story of deceit and struggle for power with the threat of a serial killer looming over everything, brought to life by good performances from the entire cast, but it is the gory and jaw dropping kills by the story’s serial killer that makes Slasher: Ripper a show for fans of the horror genre to check out.

RATING 3.5 out of 5

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