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Slice - 2018

Slice - 2018

Director(s): Austin Vesely

Writer(s): Austin Vesely

Cinematography by: Brandon Riley  

Editor(s): Arielle Sherman

Cast: Zazie Beetz, Chance the Rapper, Hannibal Buress, Joe Keery, Chris Parnell, Paul Scheer, Rae Gray, Rebecca Spence and Austin Vesely

Review:

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for anything A24 puts out today. Their tracker record in my eyes over the past few years is incredible and at least one of the movies they produce/distribute lands in my top ten favorites of the year. So, when the creative teaser trailer for this movie dropped not so long ago along with the fact that Zazie Beetz has been on a tear as of late, I instantly added this movie on my must watch for 2018. After watching it, I must say it was… fine. Let’s talk about it.

The story takes place in a small town where ghosts have been driven to a specific part of town and there hasn’t been a single incident of werewolves, witches and vampires in a long time. After a pizza delivery boy is murdered in the ghost part of town, the investigation around it starts to uncover a lot of secrets the townsfolk would rather forget. This movie aims to land in the comedy horror genre, and while at times the laughs are there, for the most part it feels cheesy and forced, never creating a natural balance between the jokes and the horror. I liked how Vesely created a unique world where the supernatural is a normal occurrence in the day-to-day life of the characters and the town is filled with weird quirky personalities. But ultimately those very same quirky personalities lead to cringe humor that sours your experience a bit.

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Quick note: this is the second movie I’ve seen this year that tackles the subject of gentrification (called beautification in this movie) and it’s clear that this issue is ripe for commentary and it’s something that should be more relevant in our zeitgeist.

The direction by Vesely wasn’t bad; he kept the story moving forward and with little-to-no fat, and the brisk 1hr and 22min runtime flies by. With this being his feature film debut, one can say that there is room for growth. At times, this movie feels like it was shot for YouTube or as a music video, lacking depth and a sense of world building. The cinematography leaves a lot to be desired but is saved at times by the slick editing employed by Arielle Sherman. The score reminded me of the Goosebumps series and it can be argued that this script is an adult version of a story that could’ve easily been an episode.

Quick note: I enjoyed the tributes and homages given to the horror movies that came before it.

The acting overall is solid, some shining more than others. My bright spots are Zazie Beetz who plays the ex-girlfriend of the pizza delivery boy that gets killed. She is a straight shooter that won’t stop till she finds the truth. Funny, charismatic and engaging, she stole the movie. Chris Parnell as the mayor was like watching him on Saturday Night Live again and it was great. Chance the Rapper was serviceable, but you can see the limitation in his range. As for the rest, there are some that stand out above the others but for the most part they are relegated to delivering the cringe humor mentioned above.

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Slice is a cheesy comedy horror movie that has more miss than hits in the comedy front and the horror is almost none existent outside of the mentioned of ghosts, werewolves and witches plot points. Despite the few moments of entertainment, when you add in the lackluster visuals, uneven acting and a story that barely reaches ankle height depth, you walk away from the experience barely remembering what you saw. I’m glad I saw it as a VOD purchase as my expectations were tampered down a bit and I feel I would’ve enjoyed t far less if I had gone to see it in the theater. Slice is the perfect name as I wanted a full pizza and only got on slice of the pie leaving me fully underwhelmed and hungry for more. Zazie Beetz is why I love movies.

Slice is currently available on VOD. There are worst ways to kill an hour and twenty minutes of your time.

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