The tagline for this film is 'Does for the moors what "Jaws" did for beaches', and well, it doesn't exactly do that (American Werewolf in London holds that title) but this curious little Brit comedy-horror does just about work, just, though it does fall fairly flat in a few places.
In late 2013, early 2014 production on this title was supposedly pretty much wrapped up. For whatever reason it did not release until almost 3 years later. Directed by first time feature director Michael anderson who before this, had only directed a couple of shorts. Interestingly, he he had worked on American Werewolf as a clapper loader along with a few other films in the eighties, as well as being a cinematographer on a couple of things in the nineties.
Add in (with the aformentioned Anderson) a TV series regular in Potts (Primeval), Aikman (Freight) who is perhaps more known for her video game voice artist work than her on-screen credits and Turgoose (This Is England, Eden Lake) who is not exactly shall we say prolific, this all adds up to a curious film that could have been a major disaster. The script from Squire adds just enough wit to keep this rolling along, naturally helped by the recent successes of other similar films such as Shaun of the Dead which really helped revive this sub-genre.
Anyway, as to the actual storyline, Tim Webber (an adequate Potts) sneak out of boarding school one night on a dare to steal some crocoidile eggs from the local zoo. As you do one might say. Naturally, as any idiot could envisage, it all goes horribly wrong with Tim taking all the responsibility. Fifteen or so years later, Tim returns home after the death of his father and this is where the film begins in earnest.
Only our intrepid hero finds something a sinister lurking in the local moors and canals which is quitely and unassumingly dispatching with the local Somerset villagers. Nothing to worry about then I hear you say. Can Tim make amends for his actions fifteen years earlier? will Tim become just another statistic along with residents of this sleepy village? Do we even care? Well, given the raft of rubbish that is released yearly, especially VOD and straight to cable, this one is probably worth finding out, specially when you add in the rather off-beat serial killer sub-plot.
Is this a sensible film? For sure it is not. Monster feature, serial killer, comedy with a little horror mixed in, it is certainly all of those and more. A simple film made all the weirder by the plot and characters, and there are many weird characters. But it is all this and more that makes the film the curious little treasure it is. Am I biased with it being a British film? I'd like to think not, but certainly the humour is what I have grown up with and maybe that resonates a little more with myself than perhaps it would with others.
As has been mentioned, the script is fairly good and keeps the comedy elements nicely mingling with the more serious sections of the film, though some more character development would have been nice, or at least some of their motivations aside from our protagonist. Is the actual storyline a little silly? Hell yes it is, but that adds to it's charms. And tell me, when has any creature-feature ever had an oscar worthy plot? Does it steal elements from Lake Placed and such films like Alligator? Yes it does but this just keeps things refreshing and original enough to keep you entertained.
As for the bad, well the acting bar a couple of the main actors is nothing to get excited about, the special effects are not the greatest by any stretch of the imagination (neither is the creature either) and the film does suffer from some meandering moments. Perhaps it's biggest failing is the actual lack of creature action. But thinking on this for a moment, if you were to add up the screen time of a creature in a flick like this I really don't think it is low comparing to other films.
We all love a good dodgy B-movie creature feature, but why? The creature itself is hardly on screen. Now given the budget for this film was a rumoured one million, then I personally think they did fairly well with using that money. To sum up, there are far worse films for you to spend ninety minutes of your life watching and if you are a fan of either the creature-feature or Brit horror-comedy than you can certainly do worse.
The Sage's Rating: 5/10
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