If you show me pizza, a deep synth soundtrack, a haunted town with a sordid past and a killer opening title sequence, you can just take my money. Austin Vesely’s SLICE has all of these things and more.
SLICE opens on the town of Kingfisher where we see pizza boy Sean (director Austin Vesely) on his way to make deliveries. While out on said deliveries, he is swiftly murdered by a masked assailant. The following day we see the town’s mayor (Chris Parnell) speak about this crime and the history of Kingfisher. We learn that it is definitely not your average town. In this town ghosts, witches and werewolves mingle among the living population and have even had their own part of the city set aside for them. Named appropriately, “Ghost Town” is a sketchy part of town where all of the town’s ghosts have taken up residence.
From here we learn that an activist group has risen up in support of tearing down the nearby strip mall, in order to free the bodies of those who had perished before it was built. (It was built on an old asylum)
Residing in the strip mall is Perfect Pizza Base, the pizza place our unfortunately dead pizza boy was working for. Here we meet his girlfriend Astrid (Zazie Beetz), pizza boy Scooter (Rudy Galvan), ghost employee Joe (Larkin Valdez), living employee Heather (Katherine Cunningham) and their boss Jack (Paul Scheer). The group of misfits has agreed to close up shop for the night to honor their perished Sean but with the help of Astrid they say to hell with it and open up for the night.
From here we dive deeper into Kingfisher’s past and learn that long ago a werewolf (Chance the Rapper) had been run out of town after being accused of a string of murders that befell a Chinese food place that just happened to be where, you guessed it, Perfect Pizza Base now stands. Cut to present time, the werewolf, aptly named Dax Lycander is back in town and is once again being accused of this new string of murders.
With the help of Kingfisher Chronicle writer Sadie (Rae Gray), Dax must reaffirm his innocence while simultaneously trying to catch the person or persons behind the new string of delivery boy murders.
The film plays out in a pretty hilarious fashion as we are introduced to numerous characters throughout the town. Bad cops, fumbling good cops, drug king pins and a secret coven are all ever present in the most tropiest of horror tropes. The film’s final act is probably the most ridiculous of all as we are treated to a supernatural showdown between humans, ghosts, witches and a werewolf that is so fun to watch.
Taking a page from shows and movies like Stranger Things, It Follows and Turbo Kid, SLICE gives us that sweet retro wave aesthetic that we’ve all come to know and love. It seems misplaced in time, with the events taking place not in the present (they have flip phones) but not quite in the past (there are laptops and the internet is used). It’s a fun little flick with a killer soundtrack and its kind of like if Michael Jackson’s Thriller was kicked into overdrive for a new generation. I can definitely see this becoming a Halloween staple in the future. It is cheesy, funny and capitalizes on horror movie tropes and it definitely works. Catch SLICE if you’re a fan of nostalgia with a twist. Also uh, I’m wondering where I can get one of those sweet Perfect Pizza Base satin jackets.