Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
June 1st, 2019


Directed by Austin Vesely
Written by Austin Vesely
Starring Hannibal Buress, Zazie Beetz, Chance Bennet
83 mins

Ever wonder how a movie can be both fresh and familiar? That's a question that's tough to answer, and "Slice" is going to do its best to do exactly that. How well it does that job, well, that's a different matter.

"Slice" takes us to Perfect Pizza Base, a pizza shop that looks to win over its customers with, as the name suggests, perfect pizza. The town of Kingfisher is less than enamored with the place, for the most part, but a delivery one night out to the Ghost Town section of Kingfisher--where 40,000 actual straight-up ghosts live--means death for Perfect Pizza Base delivery boy Sean Hammerschmidt. That's just the start of the trouble for Perfect Pizza Base, however, as local intrigue plots to tear the shop down. The shop's own disturbing history--back when it was a Chinese restaurant--doesn't help matters either, and trying to unravel the murder and save the pizza joint is going to be potentially more than the shop's staffers can handle.

If that sounds a little bit complex for one movie, well, you're not alone. More than a few have knocked this movie for a lack of focus, and that does seem like a valid point. There are a lot of balls in the air here, and "Slice" won't exactly be elegant about keeping them all up in the air. Between the ghosts, the werewolf that gets involved at one point, the pizza place's own history, and the fact that I wasn't a hundred percent sure whether the restaurant was named "Perfect Pizza," "Perfect Pizza Base," or even "Relax! It's Perfect Pizza Base" until about 12 minutes into an 83 minute movie, it's a bit complex and plenty weird.

Yet at the same time, it's that weirdness that makes this something special. It's occasionally funny, and often unpredictable. There are a lot of good ideas in here; a ghost suburb? An underground drug mafia made up of fast-food delivery people? A town where witches, demons and ghosts are a lobbying group? A shopping center built on the ruins of an insane asylum with a mass grave not so far away and moved to the aforementioned suburb? It's all pretty clever.

It's also got a surprisingly eighties vibe to it, and eighties--and to a similar extent nineties--horror is some of the best around. Sure there are monsters, and they often do plenty of damage, but they can often be beaten, if only temporarily, by outstanding effort, and that is a surprisingly uplifting message from a movie involving some big dude in a hockey mask. Here, it's no different; there's a monster lurking below the surface of the town--though it's not really a single entity despite what some may think--and only a group of underdogs, a pizza delivery crew and a plucky journalist, stand in the way. In fact, if you liked the late nineties release "Idle Hands," you should have a positively dandy time here.

The ending is suitably over the top for a movie like this, and actually ends on a fairly happy note besides. It's surprisingly satisfying--kind of nice to see horror movies end on an upside instead of everybody being tortured forever--and does at least a decent job of tying up the loose ends.

Special features include your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, descriptive audio or 5.1 surround English tracks, a commentary track, and deleted scenes.

"Slice" comes out reasonably well. Sure, it's got a lot of balls in the air and not everything is covered as well as it might be, but it's still a surprisingly original, yet just as surprisingly familiar piece of work. Drawing on familiar themes with some new twists and throwing in some comedy for variety makes this one well worth catching.