Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Writer/Director, Jeremiah Kipp for allowing me early access to an online screener of his latest short film, “Slapface”. Slapface is an 8 minute, Horror/Thriller about a young boy (played by Joshua Kaufman), who while grieving from the loss of his mother, turns to a friendship he’s formed with a dangerous monster (Lukas Hassel). The film also stars Nick Gregory. I’ve already had the privilege of reviewing some of Kipp’s previous work, such as a trio of shorts he did in “Painkiller”, “The Minions” and “Berenice” *see review* https://adamthemoviegod.com/painkiller-the-minions-berenice-review/ and more recently the Drama, “Pickup” https://adamthemoviegod.com/pickup-review-2/. Kipp’s got a good eye, a diverse taste in films, and almost fifteen years worth of experience in the business.
The peculiar title and poster art were initially what caught my eye. It reminded me of a similar design for “Where The Wild Things Are” and “A Monster Calls”. The dry and bare forest setting lends itself to some wonderful cinematography and the dramatic themes Kipp employs are similar to those in the aforementioned films. Young DP, Dominick Sivilli knows how to best frame a shot and his gentle but effective camera movements look great. The edit is tight and there’s a series of stunning shots taken at dusk. The footage in the forest definitely channels something like Shyamalan’s underrated masterpiece, “The Village”. The sound department did a nice job of the audio track and Kipp builds an uneasy feeling through a score consisting of deep cello and shrill violin, something “The Witch” did very well (in fact it was probably the best thing about that film).
I didn’t realize the slapping of faces (i.e Slapface) was meant quite literally, it certainly caught me off guard. I can’t say I enjoyed the ending much, it can really only be summed up by saying that the characters proceed to have a slap fit among each other. I’m unsure as to what the monster truly represented, Was it a twisted version of the boy’s mother? Was it something he’d conjured up in dealing with the guilt and the loss? Or was it perhaps something completely unrelated? In my opinion it didn’t deliver anything with as much conviction as I’d hoped.
Jeremiah Kipp’s latest short, Slapface is yet another high quality product from a young film maker on the rise. The poster art is cool, the location captivating and the topic of death identifiable for viewers. The cinematography is stunning, the score is suspenseful and the three actors do a nice job. I would’ve liked to have seen this one take a different approach and direction with its climax, as the details weren’t all that clear (or maybe they were and I just didn’t get it) though that’s not something I often have an issue with. Even with those complaints, Slapface is an easy 8 minute watch, and if nothing else, you’ll at least get a how to guide on successful low-budget independent film making.
My rating for “Slapface” is 6.5/10