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Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Review: Slapface

Director: Jeremiah Kipp

Script: Jeremiah Kipp

Year: 2022

There are some movies where it feels like the marketing team doesn't have much confidence in the product, and they try to draw attention to it in any way, even if it's by revealing the twist ending. The worst thing is that some movies don't need this kind of senseless marketing and it hurts the product. “Slapface” is one of these cases.

This film from director and writer Jeremiah Kipp (“Black Wake”) is focused on the theme of abuse and trauma and the strategies that people adopt to deal with these situations. In this case, we focus on Lucas, a boy who recently lost his parents and whose life with his older brother is not being easy at all. Lucas spends more and more time alone, feeling that he doesn't fit in with others, but this takes a turn once he meets an inhuman creature with whom he forms a friendship. 

The creature, in this case, has several functions. One is to serve as that maternal and paternal bond Lucas lost and cannot find from his brother, and another is to serve as a discharge for the child's emotions. In this, Kipp does an excellent job working the relationship between the child and the creature and gradually revealing what they mean to each other. All this fits into the moment of the final twist, which is not explicit but makes it quite clear what was happening, but of course, this one is ruined by the disastrous promotion.

Kipp's script overall does a good job of hinting at what's going on without spending a lot of exposure time, but it's not effective throughout the film. Some scenes just don't make any sense with what is hinted at the end that was going on, which leads us to think that Lucas may be an unreliable narrator, but this leads to the film making little sense overall. In fact, these scenes seem to be added just to have an element of shock in the story, but they were not necessary for the plot. For readers who have already seen it, I am referring particularly to the scene that takes place in a prison.

Visually, “Slapface” is great. The creature has a striking and frightening presence, ideal for the type of message it wants to convey. The way the creature is used is excellent and makes for memorable scenes, both in how it is projected and the special effects used to enhance it.

“Slapface” could have been a better experience if there had been more respect for safeguarding the twist ending and not using it as part of the promo. Except for a few moments that don't make sense in the plot, the story of this film, focused on dealing with abuse and trauma, is intriguing. It also does a great job of how the creature is used for this purpose.

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