Sunday, September 20, 2009

Slices – review

dvdDirected by: Neil McCurry & ors

Release date: 2008

Contains spoilers

Slices is a portmanteau film that begins – credits wise – displaying an attempt at grindhouse chic; lines score across the screen whilst a rip-roaring guitar piece soundtrack plays.

There is a wraparound and 5 short films, one of which is vampire genre. So to quickly mention the other films. There is The Exterminator, that tries to combine a future shock story with torture porn, Dead Letters, a strange combination borrowing from Stephen King and Psycho and which had some horrendous sound issues in exterior shots, The Range was a zombie western and Turnout was a slasher in the woods piece. We are concerned with Night Screams.

baitWe see a figure, Joey (Aaron Manning), in the trees and his voiceover talks about bad decisions moulding your life. He had decided to come out to a cabin in the woods with some relative strangers. There was Wendy (Julie Anne), the sexy blonde, and her friend Davis (David Landry) as well as the girl you could take to your parents, Stacy (Kristen Licata) – whom he seems to have ended up with.

Sandra on all foursThey crash for the evening but Joey and Davis hear a noise. They see a girl on all fours, who says help me. Joey discovers she is called Sandra (Natalee Philips) but little else. She then says ‘dead’ – when Joey asks who, she tells him ‘we all are’. Davis actually makes a pass at her, alienating Wendy, and Stacy takes her up to a bed.

vamp eyes, baby's got vamp eyes...This leaves Joey and Davis in the kitchen and, after commentating on her bodily attributes, Davis goes out for a smoke. Outside he hears a noise and then sees Sandra. She disrobes and he goes to her. Her eyes flash all vampiric and she attacks him, biting his neck. The attack is portrayed through fast cuts. Thus we have our vampire.

a wrist munchWendy asks Stacy and Joey if they have seen Davis and they all go out looking for him. They see something where he was attacked (we don’t) but it was clearly meant to be a patch of blood as Joey makes a comment about being in the woods and animals attacking other animals. They return to the house and Wendy is taking some pills in the bathroom when a vampire Davis appears behind her in the mirror – thus vampire victims turn fast and vampires have reflections. Next thing we know he is munching on her wrist.

shot in the headJoey is outside and Stacy appears – bleeding at the neck and telling him not to trust her (meaning Sandra). Finally Joey is face to face with a fanged Sandra. She tells him that she expected more of him but he, like the others, fell for her story. He tells her that her story was pathetic and that the others were not his friends, they were bait. He and his father – Joe Sr (Barry Look) – have been tracking her for months. We see Joe Sr despatch the new vampires with a bullet in the brain.

Joey drips with bloodSandra exclaims that they are vampire hunters, but they aren’t. Joe Sr is her father, Joey her brother – clearly she has forgotten her mortal family completely. Joey goes to hug her – his father says be careful - and she attacks. He holds her back from himself so that Joe Sr can get his shot. His victory is short lived as Joey was obviously bitten. He attacks and then we are back at the scene of him in the woods and we see his mouth drips with blood. Fin.

look ma... fangsThis isn’t great – and it’s not down to budget, though distinctly average acting didn’t help. The twist wasn’t shocking, but I don’t think that mattered. It is down to the fact that there is no tension through the attacks. It just felt by the numbers. We needed tension and atmosphere, and both were lacking. Perhaps the lack of tension was due to the curtailed length of the short – being generous – but that shouldn’t have stopped an atmosphere being developed. It didn’t help that we are left with unanswered questions – how come Sandra didn’t remember her family, being the primary one followed by, why Joey would hug her, knowing what she is?

The score is for the section 'Night Screams' only – 2.5 out of 10. The imdb page is here.

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