SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE: Slapface (2021)

After the death of their mother, Lucas (August Maturo, The Nun and the son of Cory and Topanga on Girl Meets World) and Tom (Mike Manning) are each dealing in their own ways. Lucas begins to hide in the woods with a group of tough girls but mostly isolating himself, while Tom keeps getting in enough trouble that Sheriff Thurston (Dan Heyada, one of the best character actors ever) has to keep bailing him out.

The brothers also have a very abusive game that they play called slapface, which is basically continually slapping one another back and forth, the pain being used to get Tom past the pain he feels for having to discipline his brother when he can’t control himself.

Lucas does meet someone else that means something to him. And no, it’s not Moriah (Mirabelle Lee), one of the bullying young women — Donna and Rose are the others, twins played by Bianca and Chiara D’Ambrosio that are the kind of cruel women that terrified me as a child and fascinate me as an adult — that he has a crush on. There’s a witch in the woods named Virago (Lukas Hassel, Vandyke from Blacklist, wearing some incredible makeup) and she means no harm to him. But to anyone that hurts him? As for Tom, he’s also met a girl named Anna (Lieb Barer) who is falling for him but concerned with just how much he abuses his brother.

Originally a short film, Slapface doesn’t battle the issues that often come with go with an expanded running time. It’s tense, it’s horrific and it doesn’t even need the supernatural element to make that happen.

Director and writer Jeremiah Kipp has really put something astounding together with this movie, a film that’s frightening when it deals with humans and then goes even further by giving Lucas a force that only he can see, one that only wants his happiness, which comes at the cost of anyone who does him a slight.

You can watch this on Shudder.

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