Filmmaker Max Landis had an idea: "I should get my friends to hit each other in the face."
So he gathered his friends and acquaintances — some of them recognizable, like The Sixth Sense's Haley Joel Osment — randomly paired them together, and asked them to slap each other. Landis insists "The Slap" is not a parody, nor was it designed to offend or shock.
"It's sort of an experiment. The idea is to put two people in front of a camera, and refuse to interact with them, there's nowhere for them to hide; they’re directing each other," Landis says in a behind-the-scenes video.
"They immediately establish a rapport," he continues. "To a small degree, they're united against the camera. We're almost the antagonists."
Landis writes on YouTube that his theory was that "a slap, robbed of its violating context, is more intimate than a kiss."
"The theory I had was that violence minus aggression is intimacy," he further explains in an accompanying video. "It's the idea of trusting someone to hit you and it being a social interaction. A slap, mitigated by permission, is a hug."
Sure enough, friendships are formed as the slapping progresses. It starts off hesitantly then the participants really get into the spirit of the experiment and slug each other repeatedly.
"This is one hell of a way to make a friend," one man says to his slapping partner.
There's more nervous giggling in "The Slap" than aggression — and the new friendships appears to be genuine:
"Wimpy face-slaps: now up for consideration as a more socially beneficial ice-breaking experience."
" Count me out."