‘Slay’ Review: A Goofy Horror Comedy with a Fabulous Heart

Slay is a fish out of water movie with drag queens and vampires, and it’s a lot of fun.

Slay is now streaming on Tubi. (pictured: Crystal Methyd and Trinity the Tuck)

Table of Contents

What is Slay About?

Heidi N Closet, Cara Melle, Trinity the Tuck, and Crystal Methyd in Slay (2024).
The four leads in Slay all appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race. From the left: Heidi N Closet in season 12, Cara Melle in season 5 (of the UK version of Drag Race), Trinity the Tuck in season 9, and Crystal Methyd in season 12.

Slay is a Tubi Original horror comedy with a strong emphasis on camp and fun. It is about four drag queens who accidentally book a show at an isolated dive bar. Most of the bar’s patrons aren’t too happy about watching a drag show (or even about being in close proximity to drag performers), and they’re not shy about showing their displeasure. But when a vampire arrives and starts making more vampires who surround the bar, the queens and the locals are forced to put their differences aside if they want to survive the night.

Slay was written and directed by Jem Garrard. Many of Jem’s recent directing work comes from TV shows including Charmed (2022), Orphan Black: Echoes (2023), and Vagrant Queen (2020). The stars of Slay are: Trinity the Tuck as Mama Sue Flay, Cara Melle as Olive Wood, Heidi N Closet as Robin Banks, and Crystal Methyd as Bella Da Boys.

Slay Review

Dusty and Mama Sue Flay in Slay (2024).
The supporting characters in Slay, like Dusty seen here with Mama Sue Flay, each have interesting personalities that add to the overall story.

Slay is as fun as it sounds. From the moment the movie’s four drag queens appear on screen, you know you’re in for a good time. They’re all charismatic and entertaining in their own ways, and they have superb chemistry together. They’re a troupe of performers on the road, and they instantly have the family-like feeling that often comes along with that. They’ll humorously bicker with each other one minute, and the next minute they’ll passionately defend each other from attacks as tiresome as heckling and as dangerous as vampire bites. But even with as over-the-top as they can be, Mama Sue Flay and her sisters are characters that are developed well enough for viewers to easily get emotionally invested in their fates whenever their bickering turns into potential fractures within the group.

Drag performers get stared at by locals in Slay (2024).
Slay is a “fish out of water” movie at its core.

The rest of the main cast—made up of characters in the bar ranging from drag superfans, to curious spectators, to ignorant hecklers—are also well acted, even if they aren’t developed as deeply as the film’s stars. Each of the main supporting characters has a satisfying arc that inevitably ties back into the actions of Mama Sue Flay and the rest, which helps keep Slay from ever feeling flat. There’s a lot going on at any given moment, and it’s handled well.

Travis and Olive Wood sit at the bar in Slay (2024).
Travis, seen here with Olive Wood, is a secondary antagonist for most of the movie.

Like any comedy though, especially the sillier styles of comedy like what’s employed in Slay, not every joke is going to land. It’s always cute and charming, but a smattering of jokes will almost certainly be met with an eye roll (sometimes intended, sometimes not). Even for a movie about drag queens fighting vampires, it can get too goofy sometimes. But that line is going to be different for everyone, and it won’t be a problem at all for some people. What’s too goofy for one person is hilarious for the next. But really, you can only have so many variations of joking about sucking blood and various other things before it gets a little tired. So, the comedy mileage will certainly vary, but if you’re here for a drag show, you’re going to leave happy.

A vampire bares his fangs in Slay (2024).
Slay has plenty of references to other vampire movies, and it even has vampires that explode into dust like the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and the dust is sparkly, which it surely a reference to Twilight).

As for the plot and story, they’re fine. They’re mostly predictable, more so if you’re familiar with the movies that clearly influenced Slay (as described in the next section). Predictable isn’t bad, but knowing basically where the story is going before the characters do causes the pace of Slay to slow down considerably in certain spots. The movie is just over ninety minutes long, but it could probably have used some additional trimming to keep the momentum up all the way through its run time.

Mama Sue Flay gets ready for a show in Slay (2024).
Most of Slay takes place within the bar and seating area of The Bold Buck (that’s the name of the dive bar), but a few different locations within the building are utilized to keep the movie visually engaging.

Despite any shortcomings though, Slay is exactly what it intends to be: light, silly, and fun. It even has some good messages about ignorance, tolerance, and acceptance, and that’s not just in reference to drag queens performing in a place that stereotypically wouldn’t accept them. There’s a good amount of heart in Slay, so much so that you’ll even start feeling for some of the characters that are initially off-putting. So, start watching Slay for the comedy, and stick around for the emotional payoff.

Who Will Enjoy Slay?

Olive Wood in Slay (2024)
There was a certain degree of improv involved when shooting Slay, and that shines through the personalities of the characters.

Slay is like someone did a mashup of From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995). In fact, you could probably track some of the plot lines from those two movies and see them play out in Slay fairly closely. But that’s not a complaint, it’s a compliment. It’s also a description of who is most likely to enjoy this movie. If you like From Dusk Till Dawn or To Wong Foo (and movies similar to both), then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Slay. It’s also for fans of campy horror comedies.

Slay is currently streaming on Tubi.

Further Reading

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.