If you were going to right a film about Slash, Slash being fanfiction where you pair characters together, usually of the same sex, how old would you make those characters? I’m guessing most of you would say at least consensual age right? It appears the writer and director of Slash didn’t get that memo.
15-year-old high school freshman Neil, played by Michael Johnston (Teen Wolf, Awkward) likes writing Slash fanfiction. He accidentally meets fellow Slash writer and fan Julia, played by Hannah Marks (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Runaways), who introduces him to several things including a website for fanfiction. She also convinces him to upload his work to the interweb where others can read it and, low and behold, they love it. Of course, they also think he’s 18.
When the pair get invited to a comic-con type event and Neil is asked to read one of his stories, the pair embark on a road-trip to the con and a whole new world opens up for the pair of them.
OK, first let me say if you are reading this and are from the deep south of America or you read the Daily Mail in the UK, you know who you are, this is definitely not the film for you. Pretty much from the get go there are scenes of a sexual nature as the Slash fanfiction comes to life.
What Slash is really about is Neil’s sexual confusion as he seems to be trying to decide if he’s gay or straight and has met a woman who is also trying to find out the same thing. Put them together and it’s a bit of a car-crash, relationship speaking. Julia is just a year older than Neil but acts like she is in her 20’s (which Hannah is but anyway) and spouts advice to anyone who will listen.
This pair of confused teenagers wonder across our screens whilst it’s interspersed by scenes of Slash fanfiction. If our two protagonists are confused, you can only wonder how it feels to watch it. Here you have a 15-year-old boy, who everyone assumes is gay, he writes erotic stories set in space and even when most of the school finds out, they pretty much don’t say a word. I’m not sure in what school that happens but it’s not one that I’m aware of.
I didn’t quite get Slash. I am not sure what message writer and director Clay Liford (Wuss, Earthling) is trying to get across. Nothing really gets resolved, or moves on. Neil doesn’t grow-up and become a man, Julia doesn’t wake up and smell the roses, no-one really seems to sort themselves out or be that much happier with themselves. Other than them making friends, which subsequently they don’t seem to be at the end, I’m at a loss.
Slash is a story about two teenagers, played by twenty-somethings, who are confused about life. That confusion seaps through the screen and into us as we sit and watch and, at the end of it all, you’re left feeling a bit ‘meh’ about the whole thing.