Reel News Daily's mistress of mayhem Liz Whittemore returns with a look at the thriller SLASH/BACK
We can all attest to being bored as teenagers. Even the Arctic tundra might seem uncool when you’re a certain age. SXSW22 feature film Slash/Back follows a group of Inuit girls who’ve had enough of being disregarded. Something is quite wrong in their town. When the adults won’t listen, they take matters into their own hands. Gather your pride, the girls from Pang are about to kick some ass.
The original music by The Halluci Nation and vocal performances by Tanya Tagaq are electrifying. It vibrates off the screen. During the opening credits, I stood up and danced in my kitchen because it was so infectious. The special FX makeup and CGI are startling. But it is the performances from this fresh young cast that pulls you into the narrative. These kids are stars. The emotional upheaval is all too familiar as they struggle with hormones, racism, and, in this instance, aliens. While most of us don’t have the alien experience in our back pocket, we can all agree that pre-teen to teenage years was complicated. The dialogue from writers Nyla Innuksuk (who also directs) and Ryan Cavan almost feels improvised. They have nailed the jargon of youth. The cinematography is breathtaking. Even if the characters aren’t impressed with the landscape, the audience unmistakably experiences the natural grandeur of Pangnirtung.
Pay close attention to the very intentional opening and closing credits as they change from Inuktitut to English. It’s a subtle but powerful statement. Slash/Back is a quirky coming-of-age tale with horror as a catalyst. With elements of The Thing and the energy of Stranger Things, the genre audience will adore this film.
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