Review in Brief: a 99¢ Slice is not worth the $4.99 it asks

True to its name, Slice is not in any way a full nor fulfilling product. Running less than 90 minutes—and less than 80 if you don’t count the credits—it’s an abysmally low-grade slice of pie: slight, tepid, and likely sitting around for a while (casting began back in 2015). But like even the cheapest pizza, it would be a lie to say it’s not modestly, hollowly satisfying at a base level.

Written and directed by Chance the Rapper’s two-time music video director Austin Vesely, the film ultimately sets up Vesely as a decent enough director burdened by his own unbearable script. Yet Slice actually starts quite auspiciously.

In an in-film video short, Slice establishes a world that’s an offhanded horror analogue to Bright‘s trite fantasy universe (even if Freaks of Nature already did almost the same premise years prior). Ignoring the larger implications, it builds a world where witches, demons, and werewolves exist alongside humans—and ghosts, who have a large population in little Kingfisher, which sits atop an asylum’s mass grave. Someone has been murdering the town’s pizza delivery drivers, and a group of townspeople are tasked with investigating the conspiracy surrounding it.

Deadpool 2‘s Zazie Beetz, Chance the Rapper (as a supernatural creature in a sharp jacket, this is needlessly ballooned Thriller), Stranger Things‘ Joe Keery, 30 Rock‘s Chris Parnell, Fear the Walking Dead’s Rae Gray, and comedians Paul Scheer and Hannibal Buress are among the stars, but it would be difficult to call any one the “star.” The thing is such a brief, disjointed mess with so little focus that there’s only a razor thin line between who’s a lead and who’s a cameo. Whether Slice is an ’80s horror satire or a would-be Troma pastiche is utterly undecided. Well-made for its budget but only funny in brief fits and bursts, it’s as uncommitted as a its slacker delivery drivers in giving us anything fresh or hot.

In the end, Slice has more blood than heart, a gruesome horror-comedy that leaves its consumers with a few violent shocks and laughs—but not much to emotionally hold on to. Rather, it truly is a bargain slice, delivered as dull, unmemorable trash, suitable for consumption only if you’re desperate or pretty damn wasted.

Slice is currently available to rent on-demand for $4.99 and up.

Grade: D+

Director: Austin Vesely
Studio: A24
Runtime: 83 minutes
Rating: R
Cast: Zazie Beetz, Chance the Rapper, Rae Gray, Marilyn Dodds Frank, Katherine Cunningham, Will Brill, Y’lan Noel, Hannibal Buress, Tim Decker, Joe Keery, Chris Parnell, Paul Scheer

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