Thursday, October 20, 2011

Slices of Life (2010)

Oh boy, this is going to be a bit difficult to review.

"Slices of Life" is an indie anthology film that has a lot going for it. Director Anthony G. Sumner shows a lot of promise, and clearly has talent. The make-up and gore effects are very impressive for a movie with such a low budget. Best of all, it has a lot of ambition, as this clearly wants to be better than the usual no-budget anthology film, and it actually has ideas. However, while I don't think it deserves all the one star reviews I've been seeing on IMDB and Netflix, it still ends up being something of a disappointment.

Our film opens with an amnesiac (Kaylee Williams) waking up next to a seedy hotel run by a strange older woman (Helene Alter-Dyche) and her helper Tiny (Marv Blauvelt.) Here, she finds three books-"Work Life", "Home Life" and "Sex Life"-which each contain the tales for our anthology.

Our First Story is "W.O.R.M." Here, William Robert Moss (Jack Guasta) has a shitty life at work. Everyone treats him bad, his boss denies him a raise, and even girls on web cams mock him. So, he creates a new nano-technology that will make people like him. It does-and it turns them into zombies.

"W.O.R.M." is the most tongue in cheek entry, as well as the weakest one. While the zombies actually look great, and there's some memorably gooey imagery, it's not as funny as it wants to be (the company is called "N.I.M.R.O.D."), and to be honest, Bill just isn't that likeable. We're supposed to sympathize for his loneliness, but he just comes off as a whiny snot who always feels bad for himself.

Next up is "Amber Alert", in which pregnant Vonda (Toya Turner) is being haunted by ghosts. Her husband isn't much help, as he's kind of a dick, and isn't around much. Oh, and then there's the killer whose abducting and murdering little girls...

There's some decent moments here and there (Vonda's first encounter with a ghost is actually kind of creepy), but "Amber Alert" is hurt by an incredibly obvious twist and a sense of predictability, as well as some very unnecessary (and poor) CG effects.

Finally there's "Pink Snapper." This one is the tale of Susan (Deneen Melody), whose is sexually abused by her uncle on a regular basis. After, knocking him out and running off with her boyfriend, they end up in a house with a kidnap victim named Elizabeth Nadasdy (Judith Lesser.) However, she's got a bit of a nasty secret downstairs, and her father Edgar (Bruce Varner) wants to make sure she doesn't kill again.

Though this one is also predictable, I actually found myself liking this segment. The practical gore effects are plentiful and absolutely disgusting, and Deneen Melody actually delivers a sympathetic performance. Oh, and the conclusion is great.

The problem with "Slices of Life" aren't the usual flaws that you find in micro-budget horror movies (bad acting-though this has an abundance of that-and poor editing), but the fact that while it has ideas, it ultimately has too many ideas. Little asides about things like Countess Bathory and briefly mentioned, but altogether forgotten, while other ideas are ultimately due to budgetary restrictions. There's also little jokes ("Fux News"? Really?) that might have seemed amusing at first, but are more groan inducing than anything else. Finally, the wrap-around segment feels anticlimactic, as if Sumner and his co-writers ran out of ideas in the last minute.

I really want to like this movie. The director shows some real promise, and I'd like to see what he'll do next (I believe it will be a remake of the Grindhouse favorite "Don't Look in the Basement!") However, the flaws end up weighing out the good points, leaving the final product to be disappointing.

Rating: 5.5/10

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