Reviews: Brilliant Brit Horror with a Humorous Bite – Eat Locals
Directed by Jason Flemyng,
Starring Charlie Cox, Freema Agyeman, Mackenzie Crook, Tony Curran, Dexter Fletcher, Eve Myles, Vincent Reagan, Annette Crosbie, Bill Crook
Every five decades or so the vampires of the UK gather together for a face-to-face meeting, to catch up, discuss problems, opportunities, changes, territories, and, naturally, food availability (that would the humans, for the most part). And, very rarely, to discuss admitting a new member to their very exclusive club. Enter young jack-the-lad Sebastian, although as he waits to be picked up from the train station by the ravishing Vanessa (Torchwood’s Eve Myles, clearly enjoying herself) young Sebastian has no idea about any of this, he thinks he’s just in for a naughty weekend in the countryside with a very attractive older woman. He has no idea that Vanessa has really taken a shine to him and quite fancies keeping him around – as one of them.
However, the business discussions of the various vampires at a remote farmhouse – including more Torchwood/Doctor Who alumni such as Freema Agyeman and Tony Curran, who played Vincent Van Gogh (and as many of you will doubtless know has been in a number of genre film and TV work such as Blade II) – is not likely to be concluded this evening. You see there is a special ops unit of the British Army heading there way, accompanied by a military chaplin (the always enjoyable Mackenzie Cook) who seems to be part of a covert unit that deals with supernatural threats and who has authority even over the squad’s commanding officer (who is clearly resenting this); that CO is also of the opinion he’d rather capture the target alive, think of the possible weapons tech they could learn from it.. Or perhaps he has his own agenda, separate from the increasingly deranged chaplin.
These two opposing groups are clearly going to collide over the course of this night, but both are in for a surprise – the vampires have no idea that one of their number has been tracked to their secret meeting and the army kill squad is moving in. The special forces unit, however, has only just begun to realise that the target they have been tracking to this remote farmhouse is not alone. Thermal scans show the more cold-blooded vampires inside the structure. One would be a handful, but they were prepared. Now they find they have an entire coven to deal with. Things are about to go rapidly sideways for both soldiers and vampires…
This could easily have been a straight-faced horror-action flick, and indeed with the building under siege approach and the rural setting thoughts of Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 mixed with Straw Dogs crossed my mind. But Flemyng opted for a more satisfying mixture of horror, action and comedy – there are some nice humorous touches here, not least a vampiric Annette Crosbie playing the nice, little old lady, until she vamps out (and grabs a large machine-gun from an unfortunate squaddie).
It’s a really nice combination that should go down well with the horror festival crowd. The effects are kept mostly subtle for the vamps (glowing eyes, teeth appearing when threatened), and Flemyng also adds in some fun homages (including a nod to classic Brit war film The Great Escape, which had me laughing out loud), and there’s a secondary story element of hidden agendas going on behind the scenes too. A delightful mix of horror and comedy, just the thing for your late night viewing.
Eat Locals premieres at this year’s FrightFest horror movie convention in London on August 26th, and will be in selected cinemas and PVOD from 1st September, and DVD and VOD from 30th October