Slices (2008)

DVD Cover (Midnight Releasing)
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Overall Rating 25%
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Ranked #9,385
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In this horror anthology, five filmmakers offer a quintet of terrifying tales: torture-driven short "The Exterminator;" zombie-infused Western "The Range;" hiking-trip-gone-grossly-wrong trek "Turnout;" female-vampire thriller "Night Scream;" and reanimation romance "Dead Letters." --TMDb
Review by Chad
Added: October 22, 2011
I love a good horror anthology flick, and I also love digging into an indie release in hopes of finding some hidden gem. Sometimes, that works out well: I'll find a movie that may not feature "name" actors or even "good" actors, and it may not have the best effects, but hey, sometimes they're entertaining regardless. Sometimes, it doesn't work out that way, and Slices is one of those times.

The obligatory wrap-around story features an insomniac staying up all night to watch a horror host dish out tales of the macabre. Professor Lucius Phibes (Trent Haaga) is the host in question, and he has five stories for our viewing pleasure.

The Exterminator
The first tale takes place in a future America, where a corporation is tasked with keeping the population at a certain number. How do they do this, you ask? Well, they send out their exterminators to kill people who lack "value" in the grand scheme of things. You know, homeless people. People without jobs. Welfare recipients. The big boss of this company is a royal asshole to his employees, and he soon finds himself on the wrong end of the job.

It's a neat concept, but unfortunately, there is really nothing of substance here. Everything about the corporation, the killing of the people who lack value, all of that stuff is there as fluff: this story could have been "random office drone deals with asshole boss, asshole boss gets killed" and it would have turned out the same way. This is sad, because the core concept could have provided us with an excellent story. Unfortunately, all we get is a piece of pseudo-snuff footage where the boss is tied to a chair, shaved bald, and tortured before being killed. There's some decent gore effects here, but that's about all the segment has going for it. 3/10.

Dead Letters
Next on the list is the tale of a successful writer who, after losing his beloved wife, turns to the bottle and sinks into a sea of depression. His agent visits him and tries to get him back into the writing game, and when that fails, he drops off the writer's fan-mail, his residual checks, and an odd package that somebody sent to him. Our writer hero returns home and opens the package, and what is inside? Why, it's an antique typewriter, of course! He pops in a piece of paper and starts typing away, and what do you know: it appears that anything he types comes to fruition in the real world. He quickly writes about how his wife returns from the grave to be with him forever, and this is where things start to go downhill.

I liked this story, but I'll also say that the ending felt a little weak to me. There is an excellent twist here and you probably won't see it coming, but it's almost as if the writers came up with this great twist and just didn't know what to do with it. As such, we get the big reveal, and then... nothing. It sort of comes to a screeching halt, something happens, and then it just abruptly ends. With a little more work on the story side of things, this could have been reason alone to recommend the film, but as it stands, it was just pretty good. 6/10.

Night Scream
Next up is a story about a group of friends who head out to a remote cabin in the middle of the woods for a weekend of premarital sex and drugs. What could possibly go wrong here? The festivities are soon interrupted by a terrified young woman who assures them that they are all going to die. What is wrong with this woman, who or what is chasing her, and why is she scratched up? Stick around to find out!

Again, this was a story with all the potential in the world. I could have thought of a thousand ways to take the storyline that would have been interesting, but instead, we get a weak twist, followed by another weak twist, and the entire thing is then wrapped up with an unsatisfying ending. I can't say much about this one without spoiling the main twist so I'll just leave it at that and once again say that I didn't get much out of this one. 2/10.

The Range
This one is a western-influenced tale of zombies, and there's really not much to say about the plot. A group of cowboys stumble across a damsel in distress who tells them that her husband was attacked and is now a zombie, they shoot the zombie, they shoot a couple of other zombies, and the short ends. Sorry if I spoiled it for you, but aside from David Hayes cracking a couple of jokes and playing the bumbling idiot character to perfection, that's all you're getting here. The zombies looked alright, but really, I can't go much higher than a 2/10 for this.

The final story finds three people out hiking through the woods, and an old man decides to start picking them off one by one. Unless I ruin the ending for you, which is nothing spectacular, that's about it. There's some decent gore effects and a couple of cleavage shots, but again, that's nothing to convince me to throw this one high praise. 3/10.

The wrap-around story comes to its conclusion, and following the trend of the movie, it's nothing special. The one good thing that I will say about this wrap-around segment is that Trent Haaga is fantastic as the horror host, and I loved watching him introduce the stories. Huge thumbs up for that man, but as for everything else... well, wait a second.

If you sit through the credits, there is a scene in which some random lady is taking a shower. This serves to show us some gratuitous nudity (the only nudity in the film), and the shower then starts spewing out blood. Watching a moderately-attractive yet fully-nude lady take a shower in blood was pretty cool, I'll give the film that.

So, averaging up all of the scores for the individual stories, we come out with a 3.2, which would round off to a 3/10. I'm going to throw it an extra point for Trent Haaga and for the blood-shower extra after the credits, so that leaves us with a 4/10. I love a good anthology horror flick and I was hoping to have some fun with this one, but unfortunately, I just couldn't do it. Maybe you'll disagree, but I doubt it.
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