Eat Locals (2017)
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EAT LOCAL might perhaps be a little confusing to the utterly ignorant who have no experience with black humor or "gallows humor". Both of the extant reviews suggest a bit of confusion on this point.
"Gallows humour is humour about very unpleasant, serious, or painful circumstances. Any humor that treats serious matters, such as death, war, disease, and crime, in a light, silly or satirical fashion is considered gallows humor. Gallows humor has been described as a witticism in response to a hopeless situation. It arises from stressful, traumatic, or life-threatening situations, often in circumstances such that death is perceived as impending and unavoidable." Black or gallows humor is known to date back at least a couple of thousand years; it is not a new invention. However, such a story style may be confusing to those who are only familiar with the current trend in the vampire genre of treating the subject matter exclusively as horror or some sort of questionable kind of romance.
The above having been said, the careful timing and subtlety required for successful black comedy can be difficult to achieve, and EAT LOCAL does not hit its mark every time. Probably best to view this movie as "quirky" and give it the benefit of the doubt for trying something a little different.
The plot of EAT LOCAL is quite simple. A small collection of relatively ancient and well-positioned vampires apparently have the tradition of conducting a sort of business meeting every 50 years in some quiet, out-of-the-way location. Unfortunately, at this particular meeting, the humans have caught wind of the vampire's existence and of this meeting and a small military contingent has been sent round to investigate and possibly interfere. The entire movie takes place in the context of this confrontation. The situation gives rise to horror and hilarity, or at least that is the intent.
EAT LOCAL is, at the very least, worth a watch. While it does not carry off its intent without flaw, it's at least something different from the usual low-grade horror snore-a-thons or pseudo-romantic drivel that infest the vampire genre nowadays. Many of the actors here are A-list and help carry the picture a little higher than it might otherwise have gone.
One element sadly missing from the movie is a convincing and interesting portrayal of some of the vampires who are SUPPOSED to be thousands of years old. What would such a creature actually be like, possessing as they do possibly thousands of years of world experience? In the case of Tony Curran who plays the character Peter Boniface, his 2000-year-old character is simply portrayed as the same sort of arrogant wonk you might meet driving a Chelsea tractor today. Annette Crosbie does a much better job with her character Alice, passing herself off as a sweet old lady with only a hint of the ancient monster that lies beneath. And then, sadly and what should be out of character, Alice does a Rambo impression to no good purpose, and then walks straight into her death deliberately. One would think an ancient mythical creature, who has successfully lived long enough to BECOME an ancient mythical creature, accent on ancient, would be a bit smarter than that by now.
Good old Mackenzie Crook is wasted as a stereotypical religious nut case (because anyone who does anything with a religious motivation MUST be the worst creep in every picture nowadays yawn).
In the end, most of the humans are wiped out and about half of the vampires, and what's left of the humans and vampires break their clinch and go their separate ways, although one particular human and the 3 remaining vampires have a newfound friendship. You'll have to watch the movie to see what that's all about.
So, all in all, it's not that bad a movie though it's definitely not a great one. The original idea is actually pretty interesting and with a bit more effort it could have risen much higher.
Charlie Cox (Marvel's Daredevil) headlines a group of eight vampires who at their semi-centennial meeting discuss matters such as territory and new members. Their meeting also introduces the fanged ones to the human at the table. Billy Cook plays Sebastian, a warm blooded human who tags along with date Vanessa (Eve Myles) unaware his date is a vampire and she is accompanying him to a flock of bloodsuckers. Sebastian quickly realizes that he is not in friendly quarters but any notion of escape is thwarted when the army erupts in gunfire. Soon, the houseguests are accepting that they are surrounded by a heavily armed force lead by a commander committed to ending the vampire race.
Vampire films have been done to nausea over the past two decades, but thanks to a tongue-in-cheek deviously funny script by Danny King (Wild Bill, 2011), Eat Locals felt like fresh fun covering familiar territory. There may not be laugh out loud moments, but the script is nuanced and seasoned with fresh characters, fun challenges and a satisfying ended that make the viewing worth recommending.
It's hard not to root for the sharp-tooth characters as they struggle to find continued cause in their existence while fighting for their very survival. Added to the comedic mix are two additional human characters (Dexter Fletcher and Ruth Jones) that have a peculiar role in context of the vampires meeting above them in the house. Not all your favorite characters will survive but everyone seems to meet their maker after a spotlight moment which will leave audiences satisfied.
We would categorize Eat Locals as more of a comedy than a horror. So too must have the director Jason Flemying who makes his directorial debut here after over 125 acting credits on IMDb.com. The director's end credits reel reintroduces each character with each actor looking like they are having a ruckus of a good time during the shoot.
But don't think for a second that there isn't a good body count to go with all the yuks. Whether it's elderly vampire Alice (Annette Crosbie who has some of the better comedic moments) standing in the open firing off hundreds of rounds with an automatic weapon likely larger than her own physical frame or a concerned military man who gets rewarded for his kindness with two sharp objects impaling either side of his neck, Eat Locals brings body bags.
By the time the lights again illuminated the theatre at the screening as part of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, I was thankful for the experience. What a great treat right before the Halloween season.
Eat Local had a cracking script from the beginning but sadly director Jason Flemyng, probably the hardest working actor in the UK, had to get the money from Johnathon Sothcott to shoot it - So the budget was clearly nowhere what it should have been. With such restrictions, the film struggles to hit its notes at times and occasionally the plot becomes lost. That aside Flemyng has assembled an impressive cast from Charlie Cox, Vincent Reagen, Freema Agyeman, Tony Curran, Annette Crosbie and Eve Myles who all perform terrifically on the side of the Vampires, while cameos from Nick Moran, Nicolas Rowe, Dexter Fletcher, Elly Fairman and Johnny Palmerio fill out the rest of the cast, often with very funny one-liners. A less respected person in the industry would not have been able to assemble anywhere near as much talent on screen. In the hands of anyone else such an ambitious project probably would have fallen foul of really poor casting and direction by Flemyng brings the elements together as well as can be expected and raises the bar considerably above anything else with Sothcott's name in the credits. The action in the film is well handled within the restrictive budget and comedy turns by Dexter Fletcher add much fun to the mix with his deadpan dialogue. Jason gives a nod to 12 Angry Men in his framing of the opening scene as the members of the Coven arrive and there are various other shots giving a wink to numerous other movies including The Great Escape. The score for the film is found a little wanting at times.
Despite all this not everything works in the film as well it should have but films are rarely if ever, made with the budget or generous shooting schedule that one would like to have. This film, however, is nowhere near as bad as some other reviewers have suggested. The cast give it their all and are clearly having a good time. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if you liked the movie Tremors and other similar B-Movie Comedy Horror then this should be right up your street.
However it falls short of the mark by not being funny or too horrific. It also has its share of some not very funny cockneys.
Young wide boy Sebastian has been requested to join the council of vampires as their is a vacancy. However some military units have been sent to kill them but a few of the soldiers want to take the vampires alive so their blood can be used for research purposes and they will get plenty of money in exchange.
The film is the army against vampires on an all night siege in an isolated farmhouse while Sebastian tries to escape.
The film has spirit and a sense of fun. It is hampered by its low budget and a ropey script.
The film was a comedy-horror, without much horror. I liked the details such as the personalized license plate "BRAM 1." The script had funny dialogue, yet I felt this was an area that could have used improvement. Worth a watch.
Guide: F-word. No sex or nudity.
The acting is not bad. But it is not good either. And the uninspired mix of mafia, army and catholicism made me think how inspired I was to get my ebook reader with me.
Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @ bitmail.ch
Actually did want to have a little enjoyment from 'Eat Locals', considering the cast and premise. Have gone against the grain before, having found panned films not that bad (some are still not great though) and acclaimed films not that good (while still seeing the appeal), and was prepared to do so here. Do tend to agree with critics with that being said admittedly, absolutely refuse to do the common thing online and resort to critic bashing which is getting really ridiculous and annoying now and needs to stop. 'Eat Locals' however just didn't work, with the right execution it could have been guilty pleasure fun but ended up a bloodless film with little to no bite.
'Eat Locals' does have good things. The cast make a very game effort, despite having to work with thinly sketched characters and a mostly dire script. Annette Crosbie and Dexter Fletcher give the best performances. There are some funny one-liners sprinkled here and there.
However, as said, most of the script is dire. It is very clunky and awkward, as well as often forgetting to be funny, a big problem for a film with comedic elements. Most of the gags are laboured and laughter free, saw a review that called them long-in-the-fang, sums them up pretty aptly.
The horror elements also fail, forgetting completely to be scary or shocking. It's all incredibly predictable and plodding and the cheap production values and gratuitous gross-out gore do not help. 'Eat Locals' even includes moments of action, which are poorly choreographed, edited and filmed (very haphazard) and lack any kind of excitement. That's one of the film's biggest problems, that tonally it's muddled and like it doesn't know what it wants to be, parts including the army, the mafia and religion add nothing and add to the kitchen-sink weirdness.
Story-wise, it's an incredibly feeble, thin and deadeningly dull (the first act especially drags) one, where one actually questions whether there is actually one at all.
Jason Flemying is a very capable actor but is very ill at ease in his directing debut. The music rarely gels with the rest of the film and sounds cheap and discordant on its own. 'Eat Locals' looks cheap and the characters are basically sketchy stereotypes with next to no effort in trying to make the vampires interesting.
In summation, had potential but poorly done. 3/10 Bethany Cox
So what's so bad? It's full of great actors? It's the entire concept which bothered me. Vampire Overlords gathering together at a local farmhouse to discuss territory and quotas... so much for all-powerful beings who need to be feared. These are the most boring undead I've ever witnessed. It wouldn't have been too bad but both King and Flemyng spend too much time on this opening scene and idea. Even when things could have raised the action up a notch, like finding out one of them was taking more than their share, it's handled in a dull and tiresome way.
Then when the army arrives, under the command of the church, I began to get my hopes up. Though Flemyng does a wonderful job of filming, adding interesting camera shots and angles - he's even pretty good with the action and fight scenes, he's not too good at creating atmosphere and this only adds to the sense of tedium. When the action finally heats up we are given a new vision of vampires. Not as all-powerful but as quite weak and powerless individuals. If you're wanting gore then there's very little in the film. In fact, the most blood in this film is in the farmer's fridge... along with loads of body parts... Sounds interesting, doesn't it(?) However, the farmer is just another wasted opportunity.
Another thing that's wasted is the opportunities for comedy. The scene where Alice (Crosbie) wobbles out on a zimmer frame to take on the soldiers offers a lot of possibilities for both verbal and sight gags. However, what we get is a week killing and a cut away to another scene, only to later return to find Alice has been slain.
And this is another letdown of the film. There are too many cut-aways. I don't mind when a director uses this as a way to cut down on gore. When handled correctly this style of filmmaking forces the audience to use their imagination, which usually is better than the filmmaker can provide. However, Flemyng doesn't just cut at gore and this gives the film a disjointed feel. The above scene, I mentioned, left me feeling unsatisfied.
It's the actors that add the power and interest to the film. Even though their characters are lacking in appeal and are two-dimensional in structure they do breath a spark into them. It's just a shame that we don't get more of the Farmer, Mr Thatcher as I think Fletcher does a brilliant job with him. Eve Myles tries to Vamp it up as Vanessa but doesn't quite come across sexy enough - close though. Then you have the likes of Tony Curran as Boniface, Mackenzie Cook as Larousse, and Annette Crosbie as Alice... all of which are underused.
So what we have is a nicely directed and well acted mostly dull and boring story. The entire thing would do well with a complete overhaul. The idea is strong and sound it just needed handling better, especially with the horror and comedic elements.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who likes vampires or horror movies to rush out and grab a copy. Wait for it to come onto telly... and then, only if there's nothing else worth watching.
Unfortunately the acting is only average and starts to seem bad from the point where two losers unnaturally force a long uninformed sermon on immigration into a scene. After that awkwardness, the low education standard of the writing really shows and it's hard not to see all the flaws
It may have been trying for all three (And perhaps I missed a few other tropes.)
Sadly the result misses out on everything. The premise is basically sound - British vampires meet up to discuss new "Membership" - but from there on, story, characterisation, and humour often falls flat. Dexter Fletcher, mostly shines with his comedic efforts, but that just shines a spotlight on the paucity of the writing for the rest of the cast.
Probably best observed with friends, playing a drinking game - take a shot every time you say "Oh dear!" to yourself - on the other hand, perhaps not, I wouldn't want to encourage irresponsible drinking!
Some movies do not pretend to be brainless blockbusters or over-the-top complex intrigues. Many well-thought movies manage to set up an atmosphere, a calm one, allowing you to enter it and fathom unexplicited details about the situation and the characters. Take Only Lovers Left Alive, for instance.
I admit it that, at first, I was highly doubting of the value of Eat Local. The first scene is long, quiet and silent. Who does that? But this is exactly what encouraged me to keep watching (I had then no idea of what I was looking at, save for a vague two line synopsis and I hadn't looked at any trailer): the movie tried something unconventional.
Then, boom, surprise, the casting. I couldn't believe my eyes! Even though I had doubt over the following scenes, the atmosphere and cast locked my undivided attention for good: every character had something peculiar, a personality and behavior of their own. Alike real life, you had to stick with them to find out who they were and be positively surprised.
And it all tilted in my head at the first military scene and at the arrival of Billy Cook and Eve Myles to the meeting. I realized the subtle humour that was embedded. Be it awkward pauses or poses seeming off or sweet gestures or forced laughters, the tragic setting of the movie brilliantly collided with its lightness in recounting the story.
And then, I can only remember enjoying every bit of it. At times I was surprised at the unconventional characters and feared any foreseeable outcomes or lines. But there were none. I was being surprised and led from laughters to more surprises. But there was NO MISTAKE AT ALL. Not one cliché apart for humour's sake. And this, this is so uncommon that I had to immediately watch it all over a second time! (in French, for the sake of comparing little details)
Yes, this movie is not what one can expect at first glance. It goes deeper, it is more subtle and incredibly more poignant than most of other attempts out there to do impressive crazy stuff. Many vampire movies are shot to entertain us, but rarely to make us think (between two smirks). That's the hidden strength of Eat Local and its incredible cast and crew, who deserve so much more recognition and who are way too much underrated.
I can't wait to see the sequel: Eat Global.
We have some colorful characters and a set up that promises to be fun. Which it is, just not as much as it could. The actors still have fun with their respected role and morality is thrown overboard. No matter who you root for, there does not seem to be someone you could call a good person in this. If you don't mind and just want to have some meaningless fun, this will do the trick