Slash/Back is one of those movies that flickers between sci-fi horror and kids action drama in the vein of The Goonies but without the witty banter. It struggles to nestle into either of these domains strongly though and whittles along regardless with little resonance at all.
Set in an arctic hamlet, a group of youths who call themselves the girls from Pang led by a headstrong Maika (Tasiana Shirley) are faced with an alien invasion which only they may have the resolution to defend their homes. As with such films they must first overcome their differences and form a united front if they are to have any chance of outwitting their predators.
Luckily they come equipped with some handy knowledge of horror films to help aid them and the ability to go Macgyver with some choice weapons to arm themselves with.
The style of antagonist sits nicely and disturbingly as these alien entities use animals including humankind to hide in, in order to stalk their prey. The result is deliberately unsettling, as they shamble uncomfortably around in their skin of choice, unable to manoeuvre themselves with any sense of grace. It not only strengthens the foreign, unearthly element to the proceedings but the uneasyness slips well into the realms of horror.
The performances are not solid but one could argue that this lends itself to a more realistic portrayal, and at times it does so with effortless charm, but occasionally it grates and pushes the audience out of the narrative. It’s a gamble that pays off but not often.
Nyla Innuksuk offers an authentic voice to an oversaturated horror landscape with beautiful sceneries to capture his homeland. This allows him to play comfortably in his own domain and flex some creativity. There’s an element of charm at play, that is let down through some script decisions and the casting of a young group of actors with little experience in front of the camera becomes all too noticeable.
The charm and clear vision being expressed marginally pushes this into watchable territory though and quietly hooks you in.
– Saul Muerte
Slash/Back will be streaming on Shudder ANZ from Friday Nov 18th.