Review: SLIMED

Slimed, an independent blast of schlock wonder was finished nearly ten years ago, and it’s packed with everything writer/directors Eric Manche and Jeff Nitzberg wanted in a movie: “absurdity, action, comedy, apocalyptic stakes and evil hand puppets.”

Yep. Hand puppets. This movie has everything you could possibly want from a trashy flick. And a mystical cat. And green screen running scenes. So, yeah: like, everything. It’s a crazypants bag of tricks which manages to subvert expectations at every turn, both from a Troma movie and a film which openly advertises the fact it has exploding children in its tag line.

It was that tag line which immediately grabbed me and had me yearning to see Slimed as soon as possible: “Action. Horror. Exploding Children.” The press release for Troma’s latest distributed film had me at “horror” — obviously — but I was sold at “exploding children.” And so should you be: the movie is an absolute riot, and it’s gross, and it’s absurd, and it is so very much fun.

Per the same press release, the plot of Slimed:

“An ill-tempered park ranger and a peppy bible salesman hatch a harebrained scheme to save a nature preserve from government shutdown. Deep in the wilderness, they discover that the park has a much bigger problem: a mysterious and sinister toxic slime that is oozing its way towards destroying not just the woods but the entire free world.

Together they must come together to battle incomprehensible evil, uncover endless stupidity and avoid exploding children at all cost.”

The film was directed and written by Eric Manche and Jeff Nitzberg, who started shooting the film as students at Rhode Island School of Design, and finished three years later. The pair were inspired by Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s Cannibal! The Musical — another Troma discovery shot by college students — having taken inspiration from the fact that, “despite having no budget, connections, or big names, it was possible to bring an epic, anarchic vision to life.”

And the film, despite being just under an hour long, manages to go from a fairly basic beginning — in which park ranger Rock Rockerson and his deputy, Sally, are trying to figure out how to keep their nature preserve from being ruined due to massive unpaid taxes — and turn it into an epic quest, wherein Rockerson and bible salesman Pepe try to uncover the mystery behind the slime which threatens the forest, and potentially, the entire world.

The performances of the principle actors are gleefully over-the-top and deranged. Jordan Lee as Rockerson and Dustin Triplett’s Pepe, along with Jessica Borusky’s Sally, manage to be sincere, all while Lee’s called on to do such things as punch a couple of schoolgirls in the face while Borusky constructs things out of popsicle sticks. It’s standard Troma acting, wherein the cast dances at the edge of absurdity.

This might be the defining quality of all Troma films, be it the ones which they produce themselves or simply acquire for distribution: much like the way in which the special effects emphasize gross ickiness instead of realism, so do the actors go for caricatures instead of real people. That’s not to say there’s not a certain kind of honesty in Troma films, but instead that these films have a Looney Tunes sensibility to them. The phrase “like a live-action cartoon” gets thrown around in regards to all kinds of movies, but Troma’s world exists in a world with cartoon physics, animated responses, and technicolor effects.

The plot in these movies are basically just frameworks on which to hang a series of increasingly bizarre setpieces. Slimed just takes it to the (il)logical extreme and throws in a mystic oracle which is a housecat in a bed and a villain portrayed by a rat puppet. Manche and Nitzberg keep things fun, and while a lot of that’s due to the absurd elements of Slimed, a lot is also due to the fact that the pair never go fully cruel on their characters.

Despite the fact that Rockerson is an avowed atheist and Pepe a bible salesman, they end up being friends, despite Rockerson’s early verbal abuse of the poor guy. They wind up becoming compatriots, right up until the film’s sudden and borderline apocalyptic ending. The friendship is a nice touch which balances out dissolving flesh and child abuse.

Slimed is a ridiculous combination of elements, characters, violence, and situations, roaming from a forest nature preserve to an underground lair on its way to a battle between exploding children and a park ranger, all to make sense of a spreading potential catastrophe. And puppets. For its runtime, Slimed will possibly confound you, but you’ll definitely be entertained.

You can check out the movie via TromaNOW.

More info on Slimed is at their Facebook page.

 

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek writes about films scores in his monthly OST column for Starburst Magazine (http://www.starburstmagazine.com), and can be found talking about movie soundtracks via the From & Inspired By podcast (http:///www.fromandinspiredby.com). He was once a punk, but realized you can't be hardcore and use the word "adorable" as often as he does.
Nick Spacek

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