Slice is cheesy good fun, a deep dish with all the fixin’s. The film is a dizzying array of inventive ideas and worldbuilding famously starring Chance the Rapper and directed by his music video collaborator, Austin Vesely. But Slice is also so much more: a B-movie send-up about a town called Kingfisher that operates on an ethereal plane, its population peopled with ghosts, werewolves, witches, and pizza delivery drivers who keep getting murdered.
This is a film with many moving parts. We have a pizza delivery place as our central hub, operated by Paul Scheer (podcast host of How Did This Get Made, where this movie would be a likely feature) who is fed up with all his drivers going missing. Staff morale is at an all-time low after one of his driver’s is sliced through the neck while on his route. That’s when one driver, wonderfully played by Zazie Beetz, takes matters into her own hands, launching a personal investigation.
It’s a mystery stretched into several parts, with the pizza parlor, journalists, and some fumbling cops ripped from the television show Twin Peaks creating their own investigations. The comedic timing between the officers (Tim Decker and Will Brill) is immaculate, as they set each other up for fantastic one-liners. It’s well worth watching to see where all of this goes (I don’t want to spoil the good jokes), as the murders wrap into government conspiracy and mayoral moves toward gentrifying Kingfisher—moving its Ghost residents into a literal Ghost Town.
Chance the Rapper doesn’t appear as often as you’d think. It’s a shame because his acting is good and he compliments everyone around him. It’s not until maybe halfway through when he really makes a significant entry into the plot as a werewolf and former delivery driver for Yummy Yummy Chinese foods—”Quality food,” he emphasizes. His dialogue cues are punchy and super fun, with a great foil where he fools the cops into thinking he’s turning into a werewolf. Eventually that does happen and while the effect work is middling, it is handled with the hokey forgiveness of any B-movie treat.
The interplay between all the factions here gives Slice a fun heart. We have the dead man working the pizza place, speaking in profuse superfluous springs of otherworldly warnings. These ghosts are all facing gentrification and there’s some class messaging there. Werewolves have likewise been targeted, while they seem to operate by neither good nor evil. Witches are out and about and up to no good, meddling in government affairs. There are entire circuits of delivery drivers who meet up after shifts in underground car clubs. The town – and by consequence – the movie is very self-aware of everything happening within. Kingfisher has such a fun sense of place and feeling, it’s exactly where I wanted to be for the film’s relatively short run time.
This is clearly a passion project for Vesely, who gets lost in the wonder of his own creation. It’s an easy film to love and clear why A24’s backed it, going right along with their catalogue of unique aesthetic horrors. This is a frenzied celebration of comedic horror, bringing all kinds of creative energy to the proceedings. What is surprising is that it has not gotten any further theatrical run, being limited to a one night screening and then going straight to Video on Demand. It certainly feels like a straight to video treasure you’d find in a dusty corner of an lkold rental shop and then cherish the memory of forever.
In a year where horror has found freedom exploring new avenues and genre experiments, Slice is more than happy to insert new value in old places. We can find so much love for its creation behind its colorful palette and really sweet, loaded cast. There’s a lot to recommend here; Slice is a product of joy and imagination that feels like the perfect entry into the Fall movie season.