Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD
Plot: A boy deals with the loss of his mother by creating a dangerous relationship with a monster rumoured to live in the woods.
Review: A silly name for a very serious topic. Written and directed by Jermiah Kipp, Slapface follows a young boy named Lucas (August Maturo) who is struggling with the loss of his mother. His older brother Tom (Mike Manning) is now his guardian but is doing a less than stellar job. Lucas is constantly bullied by a group of girls, one of which he has a crush on, Moriah (Mirabelle Lee.) One day after being forced by Moriah’s twin bodyguards Donna and Rose (Bianca and Chiara D’Ambrosio) to enter a dilapidated building he meets a monstrous creature. But while he’s terrified at first Lucas ultimately finds himself drawn to this lonely being and forms a friendship, one that’s ultimately a dangerous one.
Slapface comes from the name of the game Lucas and his brother Tom plays whenever Lucas does something bad. They sit down and take turns slapping each other in the face as hard as they can. Keep in mind, Lucas is about 12 while his brother Tom is a young adult in his twenties, and you can see this isn’t a loving or emotionally stable situation.
Young August Maturo does a solid job of portraying Lucas, a boy who is constantly bullied in some form or fashion. Manning as his older brother is less effective in his role, maybe due to how unlikeable the character is written. He’s more focused on getting laid than taking proper care of his brother and his form of disciplining him, which HE sees as fair, is just another level of trauma for poor Lucas to suffer. The design of the creature is both simple and effective. She or it has a witch-like appearance but it’s exaggerated enough to come across as otherworldly. The movie also has some gory moments but not as much as horror fans might be expecting. And the plot holes are significant enough to make a lot of what occurs in the final act tough to believe depending on where your theories fall by the time the credits roll. NB If you want to avoid SPOILERS then skip the next paragraph.
SPOILERS BEGIN! You see Slapface established a level of ambiguity to its story that leaves audiences to wonder if the creature is real or a figment of a bullied child’s imagination. While I can appreciate what the writer is trying to do here and the meaningful message of the dangers of bullying, choosing to have a mass of adults (adults with a certain skill set to boot) die in a very violent fashion and then trying to sell us on the possibility that a 12-year old boy was the one responsible is a bit of a stretch. It took away from the ambiguous tone they were going for in a big way and lessened the impact of the overall narrative. SPOILERS END!
Slapface gets points for trying to deliver a meaningful message on the dangers of bullying but because this narrative is wrapped up in a movie that also wants to be a supernatural horror it suffers from potholes and poorly written characters that aren’t as effective as they should be.
Sommer’s Score: 5 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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