Monday, May 9, 2011

DVD REVIEW: 3 Slices of Life (2009)

3 Slices of Life (2010)
LABEL: Brain Damage Films
RATING: Unrated 
VIDEO: 16:9 Widescreen
AUDIO: 2.0 Stereo

DURATION: 108 mins
DIRECTOR: Anthony G. Sumner
CAST: Deneen Melody, Alan Rowe Kelly, Toya Turner, Kaylee Williams
TAGLINE: At Home, At Work, At Play…Terror is Never Far Away.

SYNOPSIS: '3 Slices of Life' captures the struggle of a young amnesiac as she looks for clues to her identity within the drawings of three sketchbooks. Her world soon devolves into a harrowing nightmare as bloodsucking parasites, zombies, serial killers, demon children, rabid office workers and angry embryos spring to gory life from the pages of her sketchbooks.

FILM: There are few cinematic experiences more satisfying than the anthology film. There's a little something for everyone, if you're lucky each vignette will be a treat unto itself and even the not-so-grand titles may offer up some bit of novelty or peculiarity that will endear itself. From the magnificent Amicus anthologies like 'The House That Dripped Blood' (1971), 'Creepshow' (1982) and 'Trick 'r Treat' (2007) the format continues to satisfy fans of the horror genre. There's no shame  admitting I enjoyed the bat-nuts insane 'Night Train to Terror' (1985) with it's kitschy claymation or Joel M. Reed's slightly inept but wonderfully deranged 'Blood Bath' (1976).  '3 Slices of Life' (2011) is an indie anthology of horror shorts from writer/director Anthony G. Sumner and co-writer Eric Richter and will come to DVD courtesy of Midnight Releasing on June 7th 2011.

Sticking with anthology tradition there's a wrap around story serving as the connective tissue between the vignettes, it's called 'Sketches'. A young woman named Mira (Kaylee Williams) awakens near a no-tell motel with no memory of who she is or how she ended-up there. She's found my Irma (Helen Alter-Dyche) and Tiny (Marv Blauvelt), employees of the motel who seem quite familiar with her if not so much the other way around. The woman is definitely of the so nice it's creepy variety. Anyway, they tell her she's had another one her spells and bring her into the motel. There she begins to leaf through a trio of sketchbooks that that were in her possession when she came to hoping to find clues to what's going on. The sketchbooks are titled 'Work Life', 'Home Life' and 'Sex Life' and as Mira begins to scan through the pages a nightmare world corporate-zombies, sexual parasites and creepy ghosts are revealed as the anthology unfolds. 

The first segment is 'W.O.R.M.' begins with the painfully awkward computer programmer (is there another kind?) named William (Jack Guasta) an employee at N.I.M.R.O.D. - a research and marketing firm for nanotechnology applications. When he's not absorbing insults he's at his cubicle on the  'Sexy Webcam Connection' dating site where he desperately searches for a connection with anyone and striking out nearly every time 'cept for a creature that looks like an even trannier version of Mimi from 'The Drew Carry Show' and even she's not interested after she gets a peak at his junk. The guy just can't win but after overhearing of a new nano-code that can be used to subliminally  influence people he repurposes the code and sends a nano-infused email out over the 'Sexy Webcam Connections' site hoping it will make people to see "the good inside" and does it ever. The results could be described as The Signal (2007) if directed by 'Naked Lunch' era David Cronenberg. It's a well acted bit and features some great practical zombie make-up appliances, funny office humor and  some good low-budget gore.

'Amber Alert' is a creepy kids-gone-missing tale involving a pregnant woman named Vonda (Toya Turner) and her husband Lamont (Thurston Hill) who's a police officer. The city they live in is besieged by a string of missing children and if that isn't stressful enough for an expectant mother she is also plagued by demonic apparitions of the children who've gone missing. Slowly Vonda begins to piece together what's happening as her husband strangely begins to lose his loving disposition, and just what's in that shed out back he keeps under lock and key anyway? This once seemed a bit pacey at times but the ghost design was decent aside from some lacklustre digital rendering. Making up for this is a gruesome sledgehammer to the face done practically, very well done. Of the three this was my least favorite segment due to some editing/pacing issues and some spotty acting.

On title alone 'Pink Snapper' would be my favorite of this trio of terrifying vignettes. Susan (Deneen Melody) and brother Eric (Galen Schloming) are on the run after an incident with their incestuous father goes awry. While on the road the teens come across an injured man in a wooded area which leads them to a Victorian-manor where they discover an imprisoned woman. Freeing her they discover she is more than she seems and they realize perhaps the troubles at home weren't so bad after all. If you're familiar with 'Penetration Angst' (2006) or Teeth (2007) you'll have an inkling what to expect here but this goes a few pint of blood further and throws in some Peter Jackson-esque splatter, a dash of Cronenberg's 'The Fly' (1986) and enough blood and guts to satisfy any viewer's blood lust. This one is definitely not for the squeamish and comes with a high recommended. '3 Slices of Life' goes out in a blaze of glory with 'Pink Snapper'  it's most stylish and gruesome offering.

DVD: My advance screener is not an accurate representation of the final disc so I won't comment on it other than to say my initial impression is that the film looks and sounds mighty fine. My DVD had no special features but the final disc will include...

- Feature Commentary with Cast
- The Ladies of Slices
- VFX Behind The Scenes
- Scapbook Slideshow
- Short Film, "Jitters

VERDICT: The anthology films has fallen out of favor the past twenty-years and it's pleasing to see there are indie filmmakers carrying the torch for the next generation and keeping the format interesting and vital. '3 Slices of Life' is an impressive micro-budgeted anthology from a group of exceptional young filmmakers with a true eye for horror.  Anthony G. Sumner next project is a remake of of S.F. Brownings cult exploitation classic 'Don't Look in the Basement' (1973) starring scream queen Debbie Rochon. Till then '3 Slices of Life' is available through Video-On-Demand retailer nationwide and will be released by Midnight Releasing on June 7th 3.5 outta 5

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