That Slapface starts off exactly as it title states with the two leads slapping each other faces like the cheapest treatment in a cut price beauty spa should be expected. This is a film expanded by writer-director Jeremiah Kipp from his own short 2018 film and features two brothers Tom (Mike Manning) who looks after his younger brother Lucas (August Maturo) after the tragic and sudden death of their parents in a car crash. It’s badly affected them both in different ways. Tom drinks ever more heavily whilst Lucas, already something of a loner retreats further into himself and a nearby woods where he plays alone but he is increasingly coming to the attention of the law led by Sheriff Thruston (Dan Hedaya).
The brutality of the slapface ‘game’ is exacerbated further when he’s bullied by three girls one of which befriends him when the others are not around. But its these girls who dare him to enter a derelict property which local legend claims to house a witch and its whilst he’s in there that he discovers the myth is fact with the appearance of a hatchet faced bedraggled monstrosity looking like Amanda Holden before she’s been through make up and wardrobe departments on BGT. It’s the witch’s presence in frame that holds an unsettling menace that the best scenes scare in a deeply disquieting manner. Still grieving for his mother Lucas has already gone to the derelict house where he buried a photo of her having dripped his blood on it hoping that somehow she will come back. Despite the witch being having a less than child friendly appearance the pair develop a twisted mother-son relationship with the witch acting like some psychotic guardian angel whenever Lucas is in danger despatching any threat to him in brutal bloody fashion. His problem is that no one can see the witch unless she’s sending them off to meet their maker leaving Lucas to face the music.
With a theme of grief, bullying and familial loss at its core Slapface has several effective scenes with an eerily effective witch but there’s a stand out performance by August Matruro which has him emoting in some truly affecting and upsetting scenes which points to a great future from him as an actor.
We spoke to both Mike Manning and August Maturo about the film…….
Here’s the Slapface trailer……