Think of British comedy/horror films and people tend to think of quality. From the comedic yet touching Shaun Of The Dead to the dark musings of An American Werewolf in London or even the b-movie kitsch of Razorblade Smile, the benchmark is set amazingly high for anybody trying to take on the genre. Eat Locals tries to crash that party with a vampire movie boasting a quality British cast, but does it make the transition and join its illustrious predecessors or will it be the next Lesbian Vampire Killers?
The primary plot is a simple but effective one. The gormless Sebastian (played brilliantly by Billy Cook) has been taken out for a bite by his girlfriend Vanessa (Eve Myles), but after reaching the farm house in the middle of the woods, he quickly finds out all is not what it would seem. Meanwhile, a military operation lead by Larousse (Mackenzie Crook) has eyes on the house and are set to take out the inhabitants. With each faction (and numerous individuals) having their own agenda, how the night will end is the main movie arc that keeps viewers intrigued up to the finale.
There are some really good performances by the likes of the aforementioned Cook, a smarmy Tony Curran (looking remarkably like Charles Dance in The Golden Child), and an underrated Annette Crosbie as a psychotic pensioner with a penchant for knitting and semi-automatics raises a smile throughout. However, this is offset by a feeling of underwhelming from actors like Nick Moran and, in particular, Mackenzie Crook. No-one puts in a bad performance (quite the opposite in fact), but a feeling of genuine talent being under utilized festers in the mind. It is clear there was a tight budget for this movie, and whilst mostly this is cleverly covered up, there are times where the financial limitations show. Also, whilst much of the comedy does hit home, there is the odd moment that falls flat – though these moments are, thankfully, few and far between.
As a whole, this fun watch had the potential to be something a bit special. A great UK cast (even Jamie Oliver is in the catering credits) and a promising premise are there, but it just falls short. Not scary enough to be a horror and not quite amusing enough to be considered a comedy, it floats in the middle, not really leaning to the appeal of either audience. This could well be a cult classic in waiting (the reunion of Lock, Stock… alumni Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran and director Jason Flemyng is intriguing enough) but the movie lacks the bite to put it up there with the big boys of British horror comedies (pun very much intended!)
Eat Locals will be shown in selected cinemas from 1st September & DVD/VOD from 30 October 2017.