Macabre…ish Horror Review: Slash/Back
Slash/Back, 2022/ 86 min
On Cumberland Peninsula, Nunavut, on the edge of the Arctic Circle, something is under the ice that should not be there. It takes it’s first victim through a tiny hole in the ice.
Nearby in the Hamlet of Pangnirtung lives an Inuit population of just under 1500 people. Among the local kids, Maika (Tasiana Shirley), Leena (Chelsea Prusky) and Uki (Nalajoss Ellsworth), look out for each other. They spend their days much like any other kids, riding bikes, hanging out and on their phones. One day they take a boat out and hang out on a beach and tell each other stories.
While there, they shoot a polar bear that’s running toward them and attacks Aju (Frankie Vincent-Wolf), but something is wrong with the bear. They reflect on it and wonder if it was already dead or rabid, noting that the bear shouldn’t look like that one did.
One of the kid’s think it’s a shapeshifter who steals children and lives in two worlds, Ijiraq, but that idea is shrugged off by the other kids.
But later, Uki returns to the beach where Aju was attacked and the same grotesque ‘polar bear’ is shambling around, roaring with an unbear like roar. Upon closer inspection, there are a lot more strange acting animals but also a giant alien-like creature. Uki is suddenly attacked from behind by an alien animated animal.
Meanwhile, the other kids are all at Thomassie’s (Rory Anawak) party and Uki crashes it to sound the alarm. There are aliens in the neighborhood, like right there in Pang. That same bizarre polar bear takes down Ofc, LeFebvre (Shaun Benson)but Maika doesn’t believe her until, Lefebvre comes shambling disjointedly into the party. He looks like something is wearing him like a costume. Alien tentacles snaking out of him and roaring like a monster. The kids scatter, hide and fight back.
Uki thinks it’s following the smell of blood from Aju’s attack. When the kids are corralled inside a shipping container, the ‘Skins’, (the kids’ name them) stand outside, waiting. They call the cops and hope help comes. Officer Peters (Paulette Metuk) comes but is quickly attacked. So the kids need to come up with a plan.
They’ll take what they know about the Skins and their best hunters will use their exceptional skills to hunt and kill them.
This is the debut feature by Nyla Innuksuk and is a Canadian Inuit Scifi. This film reminds me of Attack the Block because kids are the heroes in an alien fight. But it has that 30 Days of Night feel because of the location and cinematography and of course, The Thing vibe. The monster effects and acting are excellent and disturbing. The pacing and story is good and it’s well cast. It’s in English and Inuktuk with English subtitles. This is a welcome change to an old favorite. It’s scifi but fits right in to the scifi horror subgenre. Well done.