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September 10, 2013

Movie Review: Slices (2009)

You know how much I love anthology movies? In case you haven't been paying attention, I adore them. I think it's an MTV short-attention span generational thing. And thanks to David Hayes, I got to watch one to wile away two hours as the subarctic temperatures raged across the Midwest. I'm not saying the flick kept me warm with its awesomeness but it did keep me distracted at least.

Slices is about a man who can't sleep and decides to spend the wee hours of the night watching a Creepshow-esque show on television, Theater of the Macabre, replete with giggling something-wrong-with-that-guy host, Lucius Phibes (sorry, had to do an eye roll at that). And Lucius brings us 5 horrifying tales to help pass the time.

1. The Exterminator - the story of a dystopian society where as shadowy corporation, Q, is in charge of keeping the population down to 300 million. To do this it employs Exterminators. Based on a list of undesirables (the unemployed, poor, those with no hope or value), a manager looses the Exterminators onto the world. But the manager didn't get the list this morning and after he's done ripping his subordinate a new asshole, we find out why. His retirement has come early.

The Management guy is supposed to act like a douche so we can hate him and not feel guilty about what's coming down the chute for him. Little bit of an over actor and the constant choking on and spitting up blood got old. I'm not sure but torturing someone on this infamous list seems counterproductive and too labor intensive for basic population control (and Lucius brings up the same doubt). But what I want to know is why was his shower scene so short? I'm not saying he was Jensen Ackles naked or anything but I felt a little cheated. There wasn't even any soap involved.

As we segue into the next installment, we cut to Lucius trying to pronounce Cthulhu as he reads from some ancient spell book. That made me fan-girl over him just a bit.

2. Dead Letters - the story of an aging author who hasn't written anything since his wife died two years earlier. Despite prodding from his agent, whom he believes made the moves on his lovely bride, he has no interest in writing ever again. Never say never though because he receives a package in the mail (what's in the booooox??): an old fashioned type-writer. Though he types on it as a joke, what he types becomes real. This gives him a great idea. If he types that his wife is alive again, she will come back to him. And it works! Or does it?

OMG this segment has claymation!! I don't know why but who cares? It's claymation, bitches! This may have ended up being my favorite portion and not just for the animated parts. I thought I knew where the story was going but it completely surprised me. And it was nice to see an older actor in a role and he was fantastic. Most of these b-horror films are all about young hotties getting nekkid and having the sex all over each other.

3. Night Scream - the story of a young man who decides to go party with a handful of strangers out in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Suddenly a distraught and slightly scratched girl shows up needing help and babbling about how everyone is going to die. And guess what? They do. But not until we find out what's really going on.

I know these are short stories but the plot moved a little too quickly to justify some of the characters' actions and/or reactions. I didn't feel any depth to the characters, even after the twist. The acting was probably the worst in this segment, as was the sound. But you've got to love that Debbie Rochon was credited as "the fogger" on the crew.

4. The Range - finally! A western! Actually, I hate westerns. This segment is a jumble of characters as they wander around the Old West for various reasons: young couple from NYC come to stake a claim; trio of hired guns (I think that's what they were) trying to find their stolen horses; another trio of a law enforcement posse as they hunt down some criminal; and a Native American, because it's the Old West. Duh. One of the posse comes across something all spewy and gets infected. He infects the husband. The husband infects someone else and so on and so on and so on. Next thing you know zombies are shambling through the tumbleweeds.

My buddy, David Hayes, is in this segment. And while his character, Skillet Bob, is hilarious (his gift of communicating with the savages is talking loud and slow), the rest falls flat. Just felt like another tired zombie story. I have to ask David, though: was your line, "almost burnt my pecker off", improvised?

5. Turnout - the story of a young couple and the mutual friend that set them up as they hike through the woods. MJ, the friend, scouts ahead on the trail to make sure it's safe while Jack and Diane (I shit you not) get in some canoodling. Unfortunately, Jack has to pee as the most inopportune moment so Diane leaves him alone. Oooops. He doesn't come back for a while so as MJ goes to look for him (why the fuck Diane doesn't, I don't know), Diane is left alone. Perfect for the crazy guy stalking them to kidnap her. Turns out he has Jack, too. And this weirdo's shtick is to put this couple's love to the test.

This segment probably had the best acting of the bunch but the most lackluster story. Some psycho grabs two people in the woods? That's it? Maybe I'm a little jaded or snobbish but I'm definitely easily entertained and this story just didn't cut it. I kept imagining crazy scenarios and plot twists but the writers gave me nada. Boring.

We finish up with Insomnia guy. He's actually the last story in Lucius's collection. This is my shocked face. What do you suppose happens? 

And since there hasn't been any nudity in the film, if you have the patience to sit through all the credits, you will be rewarded with gratuitous boobage and snatch, soapy at first, bloody to finish, as well as the shadow of someone wielding a butcher knife.

On the (w)hole, the movie is entertaining. More decent acting than crap. Interesting story lines and characters. Individually each story lacked a little something. No one segment blew me away. But the film makers needed to invest more in the sound department. I don't know if it's because my ears are sensitive and the ringing in them makes things more difficult to hear. But back off the bass, folks. My decorative knick knacks might be shaking but if I can't hear the fucking dialogue, you're wasting my time. I don't enjoy watching an entire film with the remote in my hand and my thumb poised over the volume button.

2 hatchets (out of 5)

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