Movie review: Slice

In the town of Kingfisher, ghosts and werewolves are as part of everyday life as dogs and cats. However, this sleepy little town gets turned on its head when pizza delivery drivers start getting murdered.

Years ago, the Halcyon Day Asylum was demolished and 40,000 spirits were displaced. Kingfisher’s mayor, played by SNL and 30 Rock stalwart Chris Parnell, shepherded all of the newly unhoused undead into their own neighborhood, dubbed “Ghost Town.” Clever. It’s in this ghostly ghetto that drivers for Perfect Pizza Base get executed.

The number one suspect is a werewolf (played by Chance the Rapper) who was previously run out of town for allegedly murdering the entire crew of Yummy Yummy Chinese Food. I guess there was a lack of evidence so they compromised on him just going away? I dunno. This wolf, named Dax Lycander but pronounced with a soft C so as not to make the pun too obvious, keeps telling everyone he’s not a hero while under suspicion for murder. It’s… strange.

Meanwhile, a group called Justice 40,000 is rallying the town together to bulldoze the pizza place as it sits on top of the former asylum. How this would bring justice to the displaced spirits is still a mystery to me, but it turns out they have ulterior motives anyway so fuck it. Move on.

I’m not entirely sure what era this movie is supposed to be set in, which is actually kind of entertaining. The police all look like flatfoots and gumshoes out of a 50s noir, including their car. The soundtrack is an 80s synth melody. The Perfect Pizza Base satin jackets looked straight out of the 70s but the characters in them look much more contemporary.

To me, Slice is a rather fun movie. It’s billed as a comedy-horror and it really is more of a comedy/crime drama with a bunch of horror themes thrown in. There are ghosts, witches, werewolves, and even a portal to Hell. Although you might forget Dax is a werewolf until the very end, except that they keep telling you over and over again. If you’re hoping for a big, dramatic transformation scene, let me disappoint you now.

Speaking of, the effects in this film are pretty minimal up until the big climax. The wounds are pretty well done and all practical, but also not incredibly detailed. The ghosts are little more than people in face paint, not dissimilar to something like Night of the Living Dead. Once the final showdown happens, however, the CGI cranks up and the SFX team earns their paycheck.

Although, that final showdown, the ultimate battle between good and evil, is over before it really gets a chance to get going. For a climax, it’s fairly anti-climactic, and then it just… ends.

The comedy is rather subtle at times, which I appreciate. It’s not a big over-the-top schlock fest with hammy gags and in-your-face humor. It’s the kind of jokes that take you a second to realize it IS a joke. Some people may not find that kind of humor enjoyable, but I do. A lot of it comes from the Perfect Pizza Base owner Jack, played by The League‘s Paul Scheer.

There’s also a reporter (Rae Gray) and her photographer (Stranger Things’ Joe Keery), and the girlfriend of the first slain pizza boy (Zazie Beetz of Deadpool 2), who are all hot on the trail of the murderer. Not to mention comedian Hannibal Burress, who somehow got a high billing despite being in the movie for maybe a minute. It seemed like he stopped by the set on his lunch break and they managed to squeeze him in.

As listeners of the show probably know, I’m not big on messages and morals in movies and don’t usually pick up on many of them, but this one is pretty obvious. The themes of gentrification and racism are very blatant throughout, however it’s not in such an after-school special kind of way that makes you roll your eyes. Did it make me feel different than I did on the subject before I watched it? Well, no. It didn’t really make me feel anything. It was just, kind of, there.

While I don’t think it was as bad as some other reviews might lead you to believe, I wanted to like Slice more than I did. A town filled with witches, werewolves, and ghosts should be a horror fan’s dream. However, the horror elements could have been stronger, and the climax could have been longer and more dramatic. To make a pizza pun as every other review has, the ingredients just didn’t seem to go together and ultimately it feels under-baked.

Rating: 5/10

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Kevin Nesgoda

Did Taylor or Ebert write this?