Movie Review: ‘SLICE’ proves you can mess up a sure thing

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Kip Mooney // Film Critic

SLICE

Not Rated, 82 minutes.
Director: Austin Vesely
Cast: Chance the RapperZazie BeetzRae GrayLakin ValdezChris Parnell and Paul Scheer

A24 has proven itself to be the Miramax of the modern age. They pick up and finance a lot of great movies, many of which get nominated for a boatload of awards. But even with a mostly great track record, they can send out some duds. So while the first trailers for SLICE made it seem like a fun horror comedy, we now know why they dumped the film straight to VOD: despite all the talent involved, this one’s a stinker.

It should have been a sure thing. A music video director transitions to filmmaking, aided by musician friend (Chance) and a lot of funny people. It’s got a synth-heavy score, an ’80s aesthetic, and the approval of the most powerful independent film studio. But all audiences get is reheated leftovers in a nice box.

SLICE tries to cram so many horror tropes into 85 minutes that everything ends up both overcooked and underdeveloped. There’s a whole plot about how ghosts have been quarantined to a bad part of town, but there’s also a serial killer, a werewolf, a coven of witches and a portal to hell. There’s also a journalist demanding some respect around here. With all that, there’s no time for any of it to feel important.

The film would be charming if it weren’t trying so hard. A horror-comedy should at least be funny or scary, yet it’s neither. But it’s not bad enough to earn its desperate midnight movie status. This isn’t TROLL 2 or even THE GINGERDEAD MAN. It’s not good enough to earn comparisons to any of the movies it’s shamelessly ripping off. It’s just a group of talented comic performers slumming it for what’s basically a goof. Hannibal Burress could have at least livened things up with his commentary, but he must have been busy, since he’s only here for a cameo. None of the effects or make-up are particularly good, which even some of the crummiest low-budget horror shlock can manage.

This is the indie SHARKNADO, but it’s so exhausting it feels like one of that franchise’s later sequels. I wanted to at least have fun, but SLICE didn’t even give me that. Save your money for some good pizza instead.

[Grade: D+]

SLICE is now available on ITunes, Amazon and all other digital platforms.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.