When Heather wants to get out of a life of stripping, surrounded by junkies and other bad people, she suddenly finds herself in the worst situation of her life. The plan is to rip off her boss, but instead she ends up in a massacre in a large building belonging to a drug dealer. A religious nut is out to rid the world of trash, and he just happens to be in the building...
Are there substantially less slashers being made compared to, let's say, zombie movies nowadays? Or ghosts? It could be that I don't look for slasher movies, nor do I find too much of interest in them anymore, so maybe I've just missed out. I did ignore the arrival of "The Orphan Killer", so I know of a few titles, but I prefer going back to the classics if I watch slasher now. That said, I was interested in checking out "Cross Bearer", and since I'm not specifically keeping away from the genre (just slightly ignoring it) I thought I might as well give this one a shot.
The most important part of a slasher, or at least the hook, is the killer and the weapon of choice. In "Cross Bearer" the killer is a religious nut who kills the scum of the earth - junkies, whores and whatnot. He wears some sort of textile over his head, tied in a way that makes it look like a sack (think "Friday the 13th part 2"). The lead lady is a stripper named Heather who wants to get out of the filthy life she is living. To do that she has to double-cross her boss. One night she and a few others are going to go through with a big drug deal at the building where the drug-dealer lives. But moments before they get there, the drug-dealer and the women he was fucking were killed by the religious nut. As the group arrive, they first have a very tiresome discussion in the car, followed by them entering the place. And then they're hunted down, as you would expect.
"Cross Bearer" doesn't come with many additions to the subgenre. In fact, the thing that stood out the most was the drug-dealing plotline and that's because slashers are usually a group on vacation, at a party, or similar. This plotline certainly isn't a discovery either, but if I have to credit it for originality it would be there. And you know, I didn't hate the plot. It's a slasher so I am up for almost anything. All I want to have is some fun, and for the most part the movie delivered. I can't say I cared for any of the characters or where the plot was going, but it's not without its moments.
When you find out about "Cross Bearer" it's probably because people talk about the sex, boobies and gore. Understandable - this is the selling point, no doubt about it. Where many other aspects are lacking (although I think the actors did a good job overall) this is the thing that will keep you as an audience. It has plenty of hammered skulls, a tongue being ripped out, killed-by-drowning-in-cocaine (sorta) and a few other goodies. I had expected more violence/gore because of reviews I had read, so I was a bit disappointed as the amount wasn't higher than your average modern violent/slasher movie. The world has really amped up the gore, so to truly get noticed for gore alone you have to push it. Which I didn't feel "Cross Bearer" did, but some reviewers seem to disagree with me. I actually got the feeling that "Cross Bearer" was more focused on its story and characters than the gore, and that's not a bad thing. Don't get me wrong, it still has plenty of the deep red.
It also has plenty of boobies and scenes of sexual nature. Mixing that with the gore and you have yourself a slasher, and slasher fans are most likely satisfied. I'm not really a big slasher fan, and I'm not 12 anymore so that alone won't do it for me. I can definitely enjoy a movie based on that, but I get more and more picky for every year that passes. There are always exceptions (I enjoy "Murder-Set-Pieces" still because it's just a stupid, sleazy exploitation with lots of good effects and gore) but "Cross Bearer" didn't win me over on that end. All in all, it's not a bad slasher at all, but it's not a mindblowing slasher either. I would've wanted it to be even more inventive. If you want a simple horror story/slasher, or just some blood and boobs for the night, then "Cross Bearer" is a good choice. It moves along at a good pace, and the movie is self-aware so it's just a matter of you being the right person for it or not.