Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Slapface (2022)


Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Slapface (2022)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Chhibber Mann Productions, Mirror Image Films, Artman Cooper Productions, Shudder, Epic Pictures
Director: Jeremiah Kipp
Writer: Jeremiah Kipp
Actors: August Maturo, Mike Manning, Libe Barer, Mirabelle Lee, Bianca D'Ambrosio, Chiara D'Ambrosio, Lukas Hassel, Dan Hedaya, Alixx Schottland, John Backstrom, Mack Kuhr, Nick Theurer, Curtis Braly, Maha Maturo
IMDb Blurb: A boy deals with the loss of his mother by creating a dangerous relationship with a monster rumored to live in the woods.

Selina’s Point of View:
Slapface is a bit of a silly title, but that didn’t dissuade me. I’ve seen some amazing products come from off titles. So, I leapt right in.
It’s a psychological thriller masquerading as a supernatural horror. That’s fine, of course. It’s a recipe that often leads to some serious twists. That didn’t bother me. What did bother me was that the ending involved one of the worst twists the writers could have gone with. It was the road most traveled.
Not only was it a basic conclusion, but the movie leading up to it was disjointed and confusing.

Under threat of pain, I would not be able to tell anyone how much time passed in Slapface. Was it a week? A year? Not a clue. If it was only a few days, then the way things went down doesn’t make sense. If it was a few years, it’s a lot more possible – but not showing some of the humanizing instances during that time would have been a mistake.
There were some characters I just didn’t care about. Others that only had one purpose: abuse. There was nothing else to them. None of them had any depth except the main character.

A trigger warning is in place for bullying, but those scenes were so cringe-inducing and badly done that I had trouble getting immersed in them at all. I don’t think most people would get triggered by them because of that – and I was bullied horrifically in school.
There were a few strong points. August Maturo (Girl Meets World, The Nun, Mickey and the Roadster Racers) was very good, especially for his age. His character was one of the only ones with any depth, and he made me feel that. I also thought many of the scares were set up in ways that subverted expectations
Slapface was absolutely not my cup of tea. 

Cat’s Point of View:
Upfront, I’m going to tell you that I didn’t enjoy Slapface. That’s really the point, though. It is not the kind of production to watch for entertainment’s sake. The story is bleak, intense, and uncomfortable. The audience is not supposed to be ok with the events on the screen. I got that.
Slapface was successful as a powerful message and an example of things not to do. Here’s your trigger warning dealing with death, bullying, domestic abuse, and neglect.
The pacing was so slow. I struggled to not get fidgety as events seemed to drag out.

One of my main problems with Slapface was that I had a hard time relating to or empathizing with the primary characters beyond sympathy for their loss. The concept of ‘playing Slapface’ didn’t even make sense for the majority of the film. There was a light bulb moment eventually, but it took too long to get there.
The lore around the monster was interesting, but it seemed to pop up randomly rather than in an organic way. I guess it’s a testament of sorts to the storytelling that I’m still not sure whether or not there really was a monster or anything supernatural going on.

All told, Slapface wasn’t bad per se. The acting was ok. The production quality was fine. I just couldn’t get over the pacing. That, along with the fact that it just wasn’t easy to watch from a content perspective, nuked my ability to take more away from the experience. 

Trivia involving Slapface advises that its writer pulled from some of his own experiences as a youth to create the original short film as well as the full-length feature adaptation. I can only hope that this process has helped him with healing and catharsis.
I’ll tell you one thing, though – Slapface is going to haunt me for a little bit. It was just that unsettling.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.9/10
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating - R

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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