Slapface: Review

Lucas’ (August Maturo) mother has just died. He’s not dealing with it very well either what with his folklore monsters and the way that his brother, Tom (Mike Manning) treats him isn’t helping either. Tom is Lucas’ sole guardian now after their mother died and although he wants the best for Lucas, he’s going about it all the wrong way. He makes Lucas play a game he invented called Slapface which is quite self-explanatory, slapping each other in the face as they talk about their problems. However, Tom’s treatment is the least of Lucas’ problems.

He’s also being bullied by a group of girls, although one of them, Moriah (Mirabelle Lee) takes pity on him and soon they become friends. Although that doesn’t mean the bullying will stop and Moriah is torn between peer pressure and her feelings for Lucas.

Then one day the girls push him into an old building, daring him to try and drive out the spirits that are said to be lying within. So, Lucas starts making a noise to attract attention and something comes out of the shadows. However, Lucas finds that the monster is more of a protector than an aggressor and Lucas becomes the one that the monster wants to protect – at any cost. Soon Lucas finds himself caught in an increasingly desperate situation as he tries to stop the monster from doing what comes naturally.

Slapface is a slow burn horror and Shudder exclusive, written and directed by Jeremiah Kipp and adapted from his short film of the same name.

Using the idea of a folklore monster and connecting it to other cases and articles throughout the media, Kipp’s script builds on an idea which some may believe has plausibility. Add to that the brotherly dynamic which has tones of toxic masculinity and an atmospheric, small-town aesthetic and Slapface is a prime example of classic horror.

However, there are some issues and unfortunately it seems that although Kipp’s short film may have been well received, extending the story makes it lose some of its impact. The creature effects are good and the script pulls no punches, but it feels like the audience may guess where the story is going from the very start. Also, despite the anti-bullying message at the end, the bullying scenes don’t feel real enough and only slow down the movie.

Slapface is something for monster horror genre fans, but being drawn out beyond its short story premise, it shows that there’s more work to be done.

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Joel found out that he had a talent for absorbing film trivia at a young age. Ever since then he has probably watched more films than the average human being, not because he has no filter but because it’s one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and enriching experiences that a person can have. He also has a weak spot for bad sci-fi/horror movies because he is a huge geek and doesn’t care who knows it.