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Slasher: Ripper (TV review)

3 min read
The Widow in Slasher: Ripper

Photo Credit: Nikki Ross/Shudder

There's a Scream film in cinemas, M3GAN captured the hearts of millions on social media, and Terrifier 2 went from a bloody indie creation to a box office sensation – the genre really is experiencing a renaissance.

Episodes viewed: 2/8

While we're enjoying an abundance of fresh, modern slasher flicks of the 21st century, the latest series of 's Slasher, titled Ripper, is taking us back in time to the late Victorian era as a new masked killer terrorises the cobbled streets of the Devil's Elbow.

In the fifth installment of the franchise, a killer is stalking the streets in mourning attire, but instead of targeting the poor and downtrodden like Jack the Ripper, The Widow is meting out justice against the rich and powerful.

Newly promoted detective Kenneth Rijkers (Gabriel Darku) is hot on the pursuit of the vicious murderer, but his ironclad belief in justice may end up being another one of her victims as the dark and seedy underbelly of the town comes to light.

Gabriel Darku as Kenneth Rijkers and Lisa Berry as Dr. Melanda Israel in Slasher: Ripper (Season 5, Episode 2)
Photo Credit: Cole Burston/Shudder

The first two episodes of the anthology series introduce us to the gloomy and gory new world in typical Slasher fashion, providing plenty of threads of intrigue to hook us in, while not giving away so much of the narrative so that the audience feels they can pinpoint the killer.

The contrast between the murky and illicit setting of the Devil's Elbow – the town's epicentre for depravity – and 19th-century morality provides the perfect set of dynamics for the plot to explore, as the squeaky clean veneer of some of the town's most notable figures begins to crumble as their dark desires are uncovered, while the ‘street rats' work to rid the town of corruption and violence.

The intricately woven web of intrigue does not mean the spectacular kills we come to associate with slasher offerings fall by the wayside. Slasher: Ripper is bursting at the seams with blood and gore, with vicious murders that could give some of the genre's most iconic killers a run for their money. While our eyes are sometimes shielded from the big splatter pay-offs, it is done so in a way that gives us just enough brutality to let our minds wander while also showcasing the devastating aftermath in gruesome detail.

Slasher franchise alumni Eric McCormack, Paula Brancati, Salvatore Antonio, Lisa Berry, and Sabrina Grdevich join Darku for the series, alongside newcomers such as Star Trek: Discovery's Clare McConnell, Aliens star Daniel Cash, Killjoys' Thom Allison, and The Way Home's Sadie Laflamme-Snow.

Eric McCormack as Basil Garvey in Slasher: Ripper (Season 5, Episode 1)
Photo Credit: Cole Burston/Shudder

McCormack leads the ensemble as Basil Garvey, a charismatic tycoon whose success is only rivaled by his ruthlessness. Darku delivers a similarly strong performance as Detective Rijkers, alongside Lisa Berry as the terse and methodical Dr. Melanda Israel.

LaFlamme-Snow, McConnell, and Brancatti are captivating as the Botticelli sisters Verdi, Regina, and Vivianna. Their complex, fractured relationship adds an extra layer of tension to the already taut murder-mystery plot, also providing the link to the series' supernatural element that I am excited to see explored.

While it may be too soon to say if Slasher: Ripper will deliver the same quality as its predecessors, if its first two episodes are anything to go by, we're in for a thrilling ride into the dark heart of The Widow.

If you like your Downton Abbey a bit bloody and stabby, Slasher: Ripper is a solid installment to the popular franchise, kicking off to a strong start packed full of mystery and murder, all drenched in buckets of gore to keep any fan happy.

Slasher: Ripper episodes one and two premiere on Shudder and AMC+ on April 6.