It begins with the voice of a police dispatcher, something about “hunting” and “beheaded” and our “suspect is in a red vehicle,” and “check for pizza signs.”
Our first glimpse of that suspect (David Harper) has him leering and lurching in a red shirt and cap, a pizza delivery guy with a bag full of bloody heads.
Sound promising? Then let’s dish about “Chop Chop,” a slasher film with a meat cleaver edge.
That promising, tense opening gives way to a seriously slow-footed, quasi-incoherent “relationshippy” slasher-thriller-on-the-run.
Because our murderous pizza guy — whose only line is pretty much “I have…abilities” — sort of supernaturals his way into an apartment with Liv (Atala Arce) and Chuck (Jake Taylor). And things don’t go as their frustrating “date” or pizza guy’s murderous “abilities” lead us to believe.
The feature debut of writer-director Rony Patel shoots our anti-heroes in a lot of static close-ups as he puts them in a succession of perilous situations.
He fritters away much of the suspense in these “undramatic-pause” heavy scenes, and repeatedly stages the resolution to a captive situation or torture scenario — this violent narrow escape or that one — off camera.
Why? Beats me.
This “chopper stumbles into choppers” set up is promising, but any hint of “Sweeney Todd” is implied, nothing more.
The performances are either blase’ or over-the-top, nothing in between.
Breaking sequences into chapters titled “Package” and “Brother” and what-not does nothing for clarity. Having the last villain these two face (Mikael Mattsson) turn into a talker doesn’t help.
“I can’t wait to slice you up into string cheese.”
Talking and pausing, beheadings or slicings aside, I couldn’t make heads or tails out of “Chop Chop.” And I can’t say the filmmaker gave me any reason to try.
MPAA Rating: unrated, graphic bloody violence
Cast: Atala Arce, Jake Taylor, David Harper, Mikael Mattsson and Jeremy Jordan.
Credits: Written and directed by Rony Patel. A Fairwolf release.
Running time: 1:21