After its premiere in 21 cities across America earlier this week, Slice, the pizza delivery-paranormal-slasher flick that marks Chance the Rapper’s acting debut, is now available to stream via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, XBox, FandangoNow, and Vudu. The release has been anticipated for almost two years, so it is a bit odd that the distribution company A24 is just dropping it in viewers’ laps, out of the blue. But, Slice is here, and it’s a good time.
The plot, comprised of all sorts of supernatural devices and not a hint of subtlety, is half-baked at times, but it’s a fun movie. Chance isn’t about to win any Academy Awards for playing a fugitive werewolf named Dax Lycander, although he’s clearly a charming guy, and his performance is charming, too. He comes on screen around the 39 minute mark, and his opening line notes there are other attributes that can make up for his theatrical inexperience: “I’m attractive, and very muscular.”
Chance the Rapper’s werewolf character is not the best part of Slice. Neither is Astrid, the living-then-dead character played by Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), who is a natural at delivering quick, vulgar dialogue. Joe, an undead employee of Perfect Pizza Base, a bad strip mall pizzeria that happens to sit on top of a portal to hell in a town populated by 40,000 ghosts, is the best part of Slice. Often paired with the lighter, goofy lines of Perfect Pizza Base manager Jack, played by Paul Scheer of The League fame, Joe’s dialogue is an ominous, heavy-handed nod to the sort of forewarnings heard in bad horror films. Delivered by the little-known Linkin Valdez (The Brave), it’s the funniest part of the movie.
Jack is sort of a Michael Scott-type manager. He wants to be chummy with his employees, and he’s loathe to give direct orders that will get his workers to actually work. His jokes are bad. When someone offers up what should be taken as an off-color comment about the assumed nature of werewolves, he instructs them to put a dollar in the stereotype jar. Basically, he’s a big goober. In their scenes together, Joe, whose ghost status is obvious thanks to his makeup, broods silently while Jack blathers on about whatever subject is at hand, before interjecting with spooky warnings.
For example, here’s an interaction between Jack and Joe when a reporter inquires about the the murders of Perfect Pizza Base employees:
Jack: Wanna know the secret of our jumbo slice? It’s just two slices! … I run a legitimate business, okay, there is nothing evil about this place.
Joe: It is this place that is the source of the evil we face, the legacy of terror beyond Perfect Pizza or Yummy Yummy [a Chinese restaurant that previously operated out of the space] or even Halcyon Days [an asylum originally located on the property], the mourned in enduring bequest of bloodshed that has emanated from beneath the floorboards or the footings or the gnome. These have not been coincidences, but the birthright of every institution that would make such malevolent dregs its home.
And, also, here’s the duo chatting after they closed up Perfect Pizza Base for good:
Jack: Well, wave your goodbyes, Joe. We barely knew ye, Perfect Pizza Base. We had some good times, didn’t we? Before the staff murders, and before we found out you were a direct line to the Dark Lord Satan.
Joe: Jack, we must not leave the portal unattended. We must be watchful guardians of this terrible place.
Jack: I can’t afford it, Joe. Okay, look, you know, us living people gotta do a little thing called paying taxes, okay? So let’s pack up our shit and get out of here. Plus, doesn’t Carl the janitor do that?
Joe: Jack, you must believe me. We are the only hope for the community and the world at large!
Slice is worth a watch, and IndieWire’s Jamie Righetti is probably right in her assessment that it is destined to become a stoner cult classic. The film’s line of merch, particularly this Perfect Pizza Base jacket, will no doubt be coveted as extremely hip streetwear.
• Chance The Rapper’s Movie Debut Is About a Pizzeria Built on the Gateway to Hell [E]
• Chance the Rapper’s Pizza-Horror Flick ‘Slice’ Finally Hits Theaters Next Week [E]
• ‘Slice’ Review: A24 Delivers a Hilarious Horror Film Destined to Be a Stoner Classic [IW]