Monday, November 14, 2022

Slash/Back (2022)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Slash/Back (2022)
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi
Length: 1h 26min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Good Question Media, Mixtape VR, Red Marrow Media, Scythia Films, Stellar Citizens, RLJE Films, Mongrel Media, Shudder
Director: Nyla Innuksuk
Writer: Ryan Cavan, Nyla Innuksuk
Actors: Tasiana Shirley, Nalajoss Ellsworth, Chelsea Prusky, Alexis Wolfe, Rory Anawak, Niviaq Mike, Paulette Metuq, Shaun Benson
Blurb from IMDb: When Maika and her ragtag friends discover an alien invasion in their tiny arctic hamlet, it's up to them to save the day. Utilizing their makeshift weapons and horror movie knowledge, the aliens realize you don't mess with girls from Pang.

Selina’s Point of View:
Slash/Back seemed like a fun watch from the moment I saw the trailer. We missed our trailer stream last month, unfortunately, because I had a pretty severe case of RSV – but we watched them all individually. It made my list at #12. It had a very fast-paced flow to it, the character interactions were endearing, and it made me feel like I needed to know exactly what was going on. It was a well-crafted trailer.
The movie is successful, especially as a low-budget film. The effects were much better than I expected, and there were a few effective scares. There was also an interesting look at the lives of a group of indigenous kids living in Pangnirtung.
Before watching Slash/Back I didn’t have very much knowledge of Pangnirtung or the Innuit people. I was introduced to a whole new culture that I’m going to have fun researching. I love using films as a jumping off point to learn new things.

The young actors did show some promise. They could absolutely do with a bit more training, though. The script was also a little clunky, even cringy, in places.
Despite the minor issues, Slash/Back was still watchable. I enjoyed the antics of the kids, and how they managed to overcome their alien issues.
Slash/Back is a great full-length feature film debut for Nyla Innuksuk (Stories from Our Land Vol. 2: Finding Home, Breaths, Future History). You can tell it’s a first for her, but it shows raw talent. I’d like to see more from her in the future, as she grows in experience.
If you’d like to see Slash/Back for yourself, it premieres on Shudder this Friday, November 18.

Cat’s Point of View:
The trailer for Slash/Back pitched an interesting story about a group of Inuit girls facing off against alien body snatchers. IMDb’s movie trivia page for this film offered a comparison with a mash-up of Attack the Block (2011) and The Thing (1982). I’d have to say, now that I’ve watched Slash/Back, that was a pretty apt connection. Just picture that combination mixed up with a little slice-of-life coming-of-age teen drama, and it would give you a generally accurate idea of what to expect.
The territory of Nunavut is just about as North as you can get for civilization on the North American continent. This region returned to Inuit control and self-governance back in 1999, though it does seem to still technically be a part of Canada. Areas of the world such as the little hamlet of Pang generally don’t get much mainstream attention. I was surprised, frankly, when I recognized the name of the territory at all. Then I remembered that the first season of Ice Road Truckers (2007–2017) from the History Channel was filmed there before branching to other regions of Canada’s Arctic Circle ice crossings, Alaska, and beyond in subsequent seasons. I digress…
The point I was getting to is that life in the Arctic Circle is already somewhat alien to most of us – especially if we live in the “lower 48” of the U.S. Some of these communities in the far North get cut off from the rest of the world for months at a time and are only reachable by boat or plane in certain weather conditions. If an alien species were to find its way to earth in an area like that, it’s not too far-fetched an idea that a group of kids would be the ones spotting it first.

I actually adored Slash/Back. The kids were cheeky and felt real. Their struggle of wanting to fit in with the mainstream and embrace modern things pitted against the pull of Inuit tradition and the superstitions of the older generations was something you didn’t have to be from that area to understand. Of course, the fact that the young actors were cast directly from the area where the production was taking place really helped. If these kids want to pursue further acting careers, there’s a bright future for several of them.
Writer and director Nyla Innuksuk’s understanding of the land and its people really shone through. There’s something to be said for drawing on a background of documentary work while crafting a work of fiction. There were also undercurrents subtly referenced regarding the Inuit people’s struggle to reclaim their land and culture, and the prejudices they face a lot of the time. It was brilliantly woven into the framework of the film so that it didn’t feel preachy at all, and still made the point clear.
If I had to pick a weak point for Slash/Back, it would be regarding the aliens directly. There really isn’t a lot to explain the creatures, their origin, or how they even work. Though, they did get a lot of great usage from practical effects. The CGI was minimal. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something felt missing. All the same, the creatures and the resulting horrific mayhem were seriously creepy.
If you’re looking for a break from the holiday rush, and definitely if you want to get a peek at the austere and impressive region featured in this movie; pull up Shudder and give Slash/Back a chance.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 93%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 45%
Metascore – 68%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score –5.6/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 3/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG-13
Movie Trailer:

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