review for The Slayer on AllMovie

The Slayer (1982)
by Fred Beldin review

The basic concept of a deadly force that can stalk and kill only when a host frees it during sleep is shared with the far more popular Nightmare on Elm Street, which came two years after this quieter, less energetic spook show. Even if the idea wasn't wholly original by 1984, Nightmare is a superior film that went farther both with story and style, though The Slayer boasts some effectively eerie atmosphere and a dark, downbeat attitude. Unfortunately, sluggish pacing eliminates the tension that might have been established between the minimal cast and the sinister deserted-island setting. For instance, the characters spend too much time searching for the missing David when the viewer has already witnessed his gory demise, and little interest remains for the last quarter of the story after Kay is the sole survivor of the creature's rampages. A circular surprise ending is more confusing than illuminating, though after 90 minutes of The Slayer's questionable suspense, few will worry about what it all means.