Eat LocalS – movie review

Sebastian Crockett – a delivery guy with little education – is brought by Vanessa, a middle-age woman, to a remote farmhouse in Essex (England), where he thinks he will make out with her.

Eat LocalS 2Sabastian will soon discover that he’s the main course in a vampire gathering which takes place every 50 years.

The villa he’s brought to is surrounded by soldiers who tracked the vampires and aim to tear them apart.

This is the basic plot to a British horror-comedy filled with good actors and nice locations.

Unfortunately, though, Eat LocalS doesn’t fulfil the premises and resolves into a mixed-bag that could (and should) have been better than how it actually is.

Directed by Jason Flemyng, a quite fair actor at his debut behind the camera, this film is indubitably a comedy more than a horror. And the comedic aspect is definitely the best part of it.

Eat-Locals feature imageComic-wise, Eat LocalS is a good amalgamation between British humour, references to vampire flicks, spoofs and parodies. I honestly chuckled and giggled throughout the majority of the film, with a couple of scenes where I even laughed out loud in my room by myself (look out for the sequence with the “flying chicken”).

The action scenes are pretty cool as well. Dynamically crafted, the fights between soldiers and vampire benefit from a well-directed camera-work and convincing stunts.

Other than that, the movie is a bit of a mess.

Firstly, there are too many subplots thrown in the mix which appear unnecessary and, at times, rather confusing. There are so many things that don’t need to be in the film, namely the psycho-couple that owns the house where the vampire gathering – besides a couple of laughs, their presence is not required in the movie and doesn’t serve any purpose.

Eat LocalS 1Also, there is so much wasted potential in regards to the cast. Eat LocalS has Charlie Cox, Freema Agyeman and Mackenzie Crook – among the others – in it, and doesn’t know what to do with them. Their performance is okay, middle-of-the-road, but the characters they portray are hollow and uninteresting.

Yet, the military side of the story is filled with mannequins that are there just to be killed and carry the plot along.

I understand that their presence in the movie is somewhat necessary – otherwise it will look like a British version of the Australian What We Do In The Shadows (brilliant film, by the way) – but I would have liked to see them developed better and more in-depth.

Again, the lack of a clear – and distinguishable – main character makes it harder to have someone to root for in the film, which depersonalise the story and lowers the level of care within the audience.

To sum it up, Eat LocalS is far from being a bad movie, but at the same time is very difficult for me to recommend it, partly because horror-comedy tastes are very much depending on the singular person; partly because the potential wasted in the film might make it look worse than it, in fact, is.

So, give it a chance if you are not looking for the next chapter of the Cornetto Trilogy. In other words, watch it only if you want to have some basic entertainment but don’t expect anything mind-bowing. Cheers!

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The long-time waited – and deserved – sequel to Regan’s story. The Exorcist – TV series review

The Exorcist (2016-2017) tells the story of Angela (Geena Davis), a mother in a wealthy family overwhelmed by tragedy and issues: her husband Harry is recovering from serious brain damages, her older daughter Kat is dealing with a serious trauma and consequent depression and her younger daughter, Casey… well, she’s possessed by a vicious demon.

The Exorcist TV 2Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera), their community’s priest and “rising star” within the Church’s hierarchy, investigates on the case and tries to help the family go through their troubles, whilst being backed up by outcast exorcist Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels).

Meanwhile, a satanic cult – led by demons who reached the fully possession of their hosts – is trying to take over Chicago and kill the Pope in visit to the city.

Divided in 10 episodes, each one of them directed by a different person and based on the William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name, The Exorcist is a sequel to the movie The Exorcist (1973). Which, mind you, I was completely unaware of, since I went into this series without knowing anything apart from the cast members.

So, if you have not seen it yet, I recommend you to go watch it immediately, without proceeding further in this review – which is going to contain minor spoilers and hints to the plot twists. I would only say that The Exorcist is probably the best horror series since AHS: Asylum (2012-2013).

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As was made obvious since the synopsis of the series, Father Tomas and Father Marcus team up to defeat – i.e. exorcise – the demon that’s possessing Casey, which seems to have a grudge against Angela’s family.

The demon itself is an entity that horror fans got to know already 44 years ago: Pazuzu, who, after having haunted Regan MacNeil in the movie, is now craving for the Rance family’s souls in the TV series.

Pazuzu – masterfully played by Robert Emmet Lunney – is a pivotal character in the series and is given a backstory and in-depth explanation of his behaviour which make him a very compelling villain.

Thus, the series perfectly links to the original film, enriching the characters and providing different outlooks to the story.

Moreover, contrarily to many TV series, all the actors have been cast appropriately, with Ben Daniels and Hannah Kasulka being the standouts. Geena Davis instead, who plays Angela Rance, seems quite an unlikable and unreliable character throughout the first 5 episodes. However, once her motivations and backstory are revealed, she becomes arguably the best, most rounded character in the series and she carries along huge chunks of the plot in the final episodes.

the-exorcistThe chemistry between Tomas and Marcus is also astounding. It reminds me of the contrasting relationship between Rust Cole and Marty Hart in True Detective (2013) – although such high levels of perfection could hardly be reached, in my opinion. Marcus (Ben Daniels) gives the required physicality to his role and avoids to going for the over-the-top route, which in some sequences must not have been easy.

Casey (Hannah Kasulka) is also a pleasant surprise: her character ranges from adorable and defenceless to unsettling and terrifying – in the first episode, for example, she’s absolutely frightening in the scene in the attic.

Despite the high-budget to their disposal, the directors decided to rely on CGI only in a few, minor scenes, whereas the practical effects and, especially, the makeup are always spot-on. Which is something worth-praising.

To be fair, I was a bit afraid when I’ve seen that every episode would have been directed by a different person. I thought the continuity could have suffered from it. Instead, the plot flows seamlessly and The Exorcist looks more like an 8-hour-long film than a series of 40-minute-long episodes.

Even though the series flows well, three episodes stand out in my opinion: the first one (captivating and suspenseful), the fifth (action-packed and intense) and the last (powerful, fulfilling and, surprisingly, emotional).

I can’t end this review, though, without mentioning the score: jaw-dropping! My ears were in pure delight listening to the remake of the original soundtrack from The Exorcist – the movie.

Overall, The Exorcist is an intense and satisfying ride that humbly pays homage to the film and novel of the same name. It also rarely holds back and combines horror elements (including bloody, violent and hyper-sexualised scenes) with intriguing sub-plots and interesting social commentaries, carried along altogether by a top-notch cast. Highly recommended. Cheers!