Review: Slice does not cut it, despite delivering a solid horror comedy


Slice (from A24 and director Austin Vesely) is attempting to make Chance Bennett a star on the big screen.  Bennett, better known as Chance the Rapper, showcases some charisma but the film does not quite live up to the levels it could have reached.

Slice of Ghosts

Slice follows the small town of Kingfisher, a city where ghosts and humans live in an uneasy balance. For years, the 40,000 ghosts of the Halycon Asylum have haunted the town. However, Mayor Tracy (Chris Parnell) helped to segregate the town between the living and the dead by creating “Ghost Town.”

In the years that followed, several instances of extreme violence have occurred between the two factions. After a pizza boy (played by Vesely) is murdered, the town begins to worry about the dangerous creatures in the night. One of those creatures, Dax Lycander (Bennett), remains at large despite being accused of murdering his delivery boy co-workers three years earlier.

The basic setup to the film introduces the audience to a surprisingly large ensemble quickly. The murder of the pizza boy brings Astrid (Zazie Beetz) back into the fold at Perfect Pizza Base run by Jack (Paul Scheer).

A journalist (Rae Gray) begins investigating the case while Bradley (Will Brill) and Mike (Tim Decker) follow suit.

Chance Bennett (left), Tim Decker (middle, and Will Brill (right) in Slice. Image Courtesy of A24.

The Cast

Across the board, the actors in the film showcase fun and humorous turns. Each of them understands they are in a parody and horror comedy, delivering very funny dialogue throughout. While Beetz and Scheer are responsible for most of the humor, Gray gets pushed off to the side as our narrator and exposition machine.

Bennett also stretches his muscles as a charismatic character. He’s very funny  but his underuse in the film is puzzling. His scenes with Beetz are some of the best in the movie but we only get to see them share the screen twice in the entire run.

Scheer might be the funniest character from start to finish. Although he portrays a consistently  dumb and inept boss, he is charming as hell. When given scenes opposite Beetz, the movie really clicks into place.

Paul Shceer (left, Larkin Valdez (middle), and Rae Gray (right) in Slice. Image Courtesy of A24

Y’Ian Noel is a performer to watch . He’s intimidating and funny as a drug dealer trying to keep his business on track. After he exits the film, it is extremely frustrating because he doesn’t get more screen time after absolutely slaying two scenes!

It Had Potential

The problem with the film boils down to a surprisingly uneven narrative. While there are many characters that join the fray, not all of them are captivating. This causes some actors to show up and disappear, while others are given overly long threads. Slice only clocks in at 83 minutes, meaning they clearly could have added more to flesh out some scenes and develop characters.

Poster for Slice, featuring Chance Bennett, Rae Gray, Zazie Beetz, and Paul Scheer. Image Courtesy of A24.

Even stranger, despite the short run time, the film drags a bit in the middle. This definitely becomes a problem as Gray’s role expands throughout the film, while Bennett does not take a meaningful role in the film until 30 minutes into the action. By overextending some plots and underutilizing other actors (Hannibal Buress shows up for maybe one scene, and Joe Keery appears in two), the finished product feels messy.

Dope Mythology

Director Austin Vesely does breathe some life into the film through stylistic choices. The movie takes a Wes Anderson approach to several scenes, as violence quickly occurs and then we focus on background characters seemingly connected to the plot. At other times, it channels Riverdaleespecially given the play between the darkness and neon lighting while a voice-over narration spews questions about the town. The combo is certainly visually and aesthetically pleasing throughout, making Vesely someone to watch.

What is most frustrating about the film is that the mythology for the events is actually dope. There’s a clear world here that is very funny when it lets the characters run. Really, this movie needed another couple passes on the script because it could have become a horror classic with the right screenplay. This should still be a fun movie for late nights with friends, but the film falls short of true greatness.

Slice will not be the best horror film of the year, but audiences are likely to embrace it. With fun performances throughout, the actors and actresses involved really elevate the material here. With an interesting mythos, it will appeal to many horror fans looking for some cool world building. With a little more refinement, it could have become a classic film. Sadly, this one falls short in that regard.

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What did you think of Slice? Did you enjoy the horror comedy? What about Chance the Rapper’s first starring role? Check out Slice on VOD today on AmazonVudu, or other VOD streaming options.