Dir. Jeremiah Kipp
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Orphaned brothers Lucas (August Maturo) and Tom (Mike Manning) survive against the odds in the backwoods of America as they make their way through the world. Keeping their bond alive, the brothers play SLAPFACE to keep each other in check but the game has deeper connotations to the path that Lucas will go down as he befriends a creature in the woods near his home and the two seemingly unconnected events come full circle.
There are some creepy moments behind Lucas' encounters with the creature and the horror becomes increasingly sentimental as the relationship develops but there is a sinister edge that remains and its being becomes the pivotal reveloation to the film and other relationships Lucas' has in the real worls.
It's an interesting dynamic and one that flips the way horror can tell a story through film and character. Tom's evolution is one of heartfelt tragedy and Lucas becomes an unwitting byproduct of an abusive family that trickles down through generations with unforgiving consequence.
SLAPFACE has a great story to tell and in some way softens its message through centring it around a horror film that generally trivialises real demons for metaphysical ones for entertainment value so when the film hits the credits, it's a blow that doesn't quite hit as hard as it should but is still a swift reminder of the emotional damage from physical and emotional abuse take on their victims. Fortunately the film is bolstered by two great performances from Maturo and Manning.