Film Review: A ‘Slice’ of cheesy ’80s inspired schlock


Photo courtesy of On Milwauke

Story by Brandon Black / Contributing Writer

The trailer for “Slice,” a low-budget horror/comedy starring Zazie Beetz of “Deadpool 2” and musician Chancelor Jonathan Bennett, who is better known as Chance the Rapper, left viewers with almost nothing to go off of.

Last week, A24, the distributor of “Slice,” announced the movie would play in select cities for one night only, and Nashville was able to snag one of the showings. If there’s anything a viewing of the film makes clear, it’s why the movie was distributed in such a strange fashion.

The film’s story follows the events of a mid-western town where humans live peacefully alongside ghosts. Unfortunately, not everyone in town feels that way, as the movie makes a surface-level attempt to address … racism. The movie was a little difficult to follow for a long while. Regardless, a werewolf, played by Bennett, makes his way back into town as a group of pizza delivery people face their deaths at the hands of an unknown killer. The cops, the mayor and a journalist are involved too. What follows is a series of wonderfully gory kills set to an excellent 80s inspired score and a murder mystery.

The performances here achieve wildly mixed results. The one cast member who genuinely feels like they’re in a movie is Beetz, who plays her character Astrid completely straight and dominates any other performer onscreen. Bennett doesn’t fare quite as well. Although, he’s not terrible. Even if he isn’t the best actor, his onscreen presence is both welcome and pleasant, and it’s genuinely fun to see him do something new. Joe Keery, of “Stranger Things” fame, shows up a few times as a photographer and does a solid job with what he has. Mostly he wields a camera and takes pictures. Also, Hannibal Buress is in this movie for four seconds. There’s even a lengthy shot of him pouring coffee before he delivers two great lines and disappears forever!

For the most part, the visuals in “Slice” had life in them and were genuinely fun. The opening credits reminded me of ’90s “Goosebumps” book covers, and the makeup was perfectly over-the-top and bloody. A terrifically hilarious prosthetics reveal struck a perfect chord because of how well it worked within the established world, which could have been incredible if it was explored deeper. Although, I can see why it may turn off some audiences.

That’s not to say the movie is bad, necessarily. It is. Parts of the movie legitimately feel like they were shot with cameras from “The Tonight Show.” However, it’s simultaneously charming in its earnestness, just cheesy enough for the most part, and, when committed to its low-budget, has its moments. The ideas behind the film’s world are unique, and the movie begins and ends with easily its best scenes, two fake TV commercials that capitalize on the film’s awareness of its budget. It’s downfall emerges from a complete lack of real drama or stakes, characters with zero agency, wonky editing and running gags that continued to run long after the race was over.

Considering its best scenes are basically parody videos with pitch-perfect poor editing, which really did make me laugh, “Slice” is not a film for the ages or even a good movie for that matter. But it just might become a cult Halloween staple, and honestly, maybe that’s enough.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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