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Insidious: The Last Key (2018)
Superior horror ... from a franchise?
An old clairvoyant brings her team to tackle a haunting at her childhood home, and her family comes back to haunt her.
Wow. The only bits I enjoyed about the previous movies were the screeching violins, the lamp-lit journey into the Further, and ... Lin Shaye. The box-office friendly Scooby Do element was always lame, and it proves the same this time around, but there's a lot of depth along with creeps and scares and excellent film making.
The cinematography is beautiful, with muchos lamps and torches in the darkness, and I loved the close ups on the aged face of the lead actress. Also the sound design, especially in a sequence with the hand held detector, which may be an audio equivalent to the brilliant lamp-lit sequence in the previous movie.
What really got me was the reflection on violence and how we imprison ourselves, to the point where it feels political without being partisan. Lin Shaye is glorious in the lead role, and shameless in her sympathy for women and victims - this takes a serious crack at what it means to be oppressed and is far more significant than Get Out. I recommend watching the indie horror Flowers for a right-on gross out of fascinated disgust at what women have to put up with. Yet there are layers to the male characters, with an overall feel of sympathy and humanity. Takes a lot of skill to pack that in to a horror movie.
The pace is good, and the music is spooky and well judged.
Overall: Highly recommend, and I suspect the actress playing the niece has plenty to do in future instalments.
A Thousand Junkies (2017)
Three men in a boat. Sinking
Three guys start the day in their crappy car, hoping to find a fix of heroin before the sickness sets in.
A picaresque tale! I guess the title refers to all the junkies who have followed, and are to follow, the same path. This is a nice find, and gives the impression of well studied performances from actors who have seen this behavior in people they know. The only criticism is that the picaresque encounters ain't much violent or humorous - I'm not looking for exaggeration, just the natural absurdity of desperate humans colliding at random, without moralizing. Although there is one judgmental scene, with the charming dancing daughter refusing her dad's plea for help.
The editing, cinematography and sound are all good, and the pace keeps up nicely. And the LA locations are as charmingly ugly as ever, with all that sun-bleached concrete. Outstanding element is the music, which creates some romance out of the hopelessness.
I wish someone would bless America.
A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)
Shirley doesn't live here anymore
A driven joker pushes his way through Harvard and on to comedy stardom, but the fun begins to get manic ...
Clever story telling that takes a while to get the right mood, but once it hits the American Hustle-style montage pace with the '70s period look it just rolls along. Plenty of decent laughs, but with good introspection by the lead actor. I didn't know much about this guy, and his stuff was just before my time, but I found the story really engaging, and of course there's the satisfaction of spotting a host of comedy stars at the start of their screen careers. Biggest laugh was Chevy Chase trying to pour a drink at the parents' new mansion.
The meta narrative is amusing, with a pointed reference to the source of the movie's title, but it also pulls a clever trick in setting up a shock ending for anyone who doesn't know this man's life. Only complaint is that there's no killer line. Maybe: "All you had to say was don't call me Shirley".
The performances are good all round, and the direction, editing and cheerful music keep it bubbling all the way through.
Overall: Nice surprise, big recommend.
Derry Girls (2018)
Can I be Jim?
Gang of idiot schoolgirls and a dumb boy get everything wrong, every time. In Derry. During war.
Plenty of laughs, and it felt like a synergy of Father Ted and Two Packets Of Crisps. Really liked all the characters, and lovely performances from the chubby anxious girl and the drawling diary reader. Pace keeps chopping along, and the music is peppy.
The writer has great instincts, but I guess it's one of those gems that could be polished or tarnished with extra creative input.
Their Finest (2016)
Heartening romance lets in the light and the dark
During the Blitz a struggling copywriter gets a job to help write a propaganda film about the Dunkirk evacuation, but the men in her life are not always helpful ...
Lovely period drama, with a good balance of humour and hurt, and well produced all round. It's a long run time, but the pace is good, and the location switches keep the interest up. The story is love in a time of war, and there are several ups and downs amid the grim cruelty, with the added irony of the characters suffering the screenwriter's trick that they themselves apply: keep upping the ante until they have no choice but to resolve their predicament.
There's also amusement in the camera trickery.
One complaint: there is a brutal twist, which does tie in with the theme of life not being structured like stories, but I am bewildered by it and feel it wasn't handled right.
Some of the humour comes from the chemistry between the screenwriters, but mostly from the crew on set down by the seaside, where Bill Nighy is on good form. The lead actress shows how good she is with quality material, and the cast delivers a solid performance. I particularly liked the scene with the twin sisters in Devon.
Overall: Heartening romance that lets in the light and the dark.
Dead Set (2008)
Classic love story
Two unhappy young lovers are separated by a zombie apocalypse, and to reunite they must find strengths they never knew they had. Will they, won't they?
Cynical satire layered over a crystal clear story, with great rhythm in the writing and editing. This comes in 3 episodes (alternative format 5) but apart from the recaps at the start can be watched as an unbroken whole like a full length feature of 140 mins. Too long, you say? Nah - they get it right.
It's a mix of Dawn Of The Dead, using the satire of the original and the energy of the remake, with the matured version of UK Big Brother, using Endomol's privileges to get the most into the production. Davina gives a performance that will define her forever.
The plotting and pace is good. Characterization good too - although the tone of the extreme characters is sometimes annoying rather than grotesque. I'm thinking of the conflicts between the tranny and the northern bloke, and the scene where the producer slices up the corpse. But the lovers are well played and ... lovable. Acting never awkward.
Overall: My favourite zombiedom after Dawn Of The Dead 2003.
Inside No. 9: Zanzibar (2018)
Bum spankingly good
The bellboy of a plush hotel oversees a farcical muddle among the guests on floor 9.
The writers of this series have earned the privilege of a script in iambic pentameter with rhyming couplets, but can they do the biz? I was a bit cautious to start, but once I got past the black suit's devious aside to camera the spring-loaded plot and delightful characters swept me along.
Nobody can write better single location drama than these guys and, while poetic dialogue can be irritating, they set the balance just right. Only other time I've seen original meters done well was in Dangerous Beauty, but that had no feel for the plotting of a Renaissance farce, whereas this gives joy in the way things move apart and come back together - like a dance.
Lovely performances from all, and the direction is bum spankingly good. Music and sound nice and light. I did get the set design reference to Hotel Budapest, but why Zanzibar?
Overall: Perfect distillation of a bright spirit.
Black Mirror: USS Callister (2017)
Brilliant story, brilliantly told
A novice games coder is trapped in the nightmare world of the genius she idolizes, and must use her smarts to liberate herself.
Can't praise this enough. Lots of IMDb reviews have complained about plot holes, but they miss the point that without suspension of disbelief there is no drama: if a digitized clone is not sentient, it has no connection with the character we care about. Please ignore those reviews, because they were written by Robert H. Daly. If people want to see a plot hole let them look at the Last Jedi's treatment of an unsuited body in space, and compare that to the emotional description of the same given in this episode of BM.
Apart from that, this is Brooker at the height of his power, with help from a wonderful co-writer: love of genre leading to satire of society, with a rich icing of terror and humour. Plus lovely plotting and pace.
I would say lots more about the wonderful actors and set design etc, but IMDb has now made it practically impossible for me to access my review of the Twilight Zone episode from 1961 It's a Good Life, which I thought probably influenced Brooker's concept for Callister. Now I'll never know, and I can't see the point of reviewing on IMDb anymore. But had to do this last one, before the Mirror turns completely Black.
Brilliant first half
After his little brother is taken by a ghoulish clown, a teenage boy and his gang of loser friends are threatened by visions of the killer and must uncover the secret past of their town to figure out how to defy him.
First instalment of an adaptation of a big, fat novel. I remember reading this way back, finding it a great story while skipping much of the overwritten prose. Then came the mini-series, which was OK but didn't do justice etc. So with all the hype, and budget, and marketing I was expecting this to be a bit bloated, and defanged in a James Wan kind of way.
But Woh! The first half is brilliantly rich and balanced. The opening sequence introduces the scares immediately, with a wonderful re-imagining of the clown, including rabbit teeth and a voice that melts from candy to bile. Then the small-town environment is introduced as we meet the characters growing up with the constant threat of bullying and adult oppression. Yet there is some lovely humour over teen awkwardness and young love - one scene has a passionate little fella trudging off with his headphones trailing on the ground. Reminded me of Homer Simpson in his tattered rags. And another where the lads gaze at the sleeping dreamy girl, only to look away when she opens her eyes.
So lots of themes and interactions are delivered, interspersed with the frights, and I don't think I've ever been as happy watching a horror movie at the 60 min mark. After that we get a climax, then suck it up and go again for a second final act. This is where the movie reaches for the big set piece, and it works well, not perfectly, with good pacing.
One thing that may have been misjudged was the synagogue scene with the strange painting, as it seemed to introduce a religious element that wasn't necessary - perhaps they were laying pipe. Whatever - there is plenty to build on for the next instalment. And one joke I thought they missed: the writing on the cast should have spelled out LOOSER.
Acting all round is good, with some stand out performances from the kids - I liked the actors playing Bev and Ben. Photography is good, but a lot depends on CGI despite the early brevity of the fright scenes. The music and sound are lavish but not overwhelming.
Overall: Brilliant introduction, plenty to chew on, and hopefully the next one reaches and maintains that standard for the whole movie.
The Party (2017)
Congratulations are in order for the hostess of a London drinks party, but the guests aren't comfortable. And there's a gun.
Fantastic cast, big issues, weak dialogue, poor characterisation, nicely shot, well edited. And the ambient music is enjoyable.
Disappointed. The situation is tightly wound, but fizzles out in unreal conflicts with zero humour - apart from the snappy end twist. The obvious source for laughs is the sore-thumb banker, but he's just a ball of sweaty nerves and passes up the opportunity for good lines when trying to dispose of the gun. Every character is a place holder for particular attitudes that do not define a human being.
It's short, and many people have praised it. For me, it was slight and not well developed. Grrr.
Thoughtful, bit of a drag
On arriving in small town USA a troubled girl is contacted by the dead, and her family must fight to end her troubles ...
A slow but evenly paced drama that treads the line between the literal and the metaphorical. The intro delivers a blunt shock, then we explore the world of the heroine as she mopes about before contact is made. The horror effects are mostly jumpy, with a few imaginative visuals, but I don't think this really hits the horror mark.
It's similar in tone to The Babadook, which was draining to watch, but at least this movie has some literal spooks and doesn't make the mistake of leaving the story on the metaphorical level. It's also less affecting than Magic Magic, which deals with a girl spiralling into madness and isn't so linear. The drama is underpowered, I think, because the heroine doesn't change when contact is made - really, she just gets a little more depressed and erratic, so there's no contrast.
There's almost zero need for male input, which would be interesting if the female characters weren't forever falling tearfully into each other's arms. The priest seemed pointless, and there's one odd scene with a guy in mask, which I wanted to see play out but may have been a left-over from a theme that was edited out. One thing I did appreciate is how miserable the American way has become, with bills for useless medical treatment and military service and underemployment - although indie films like this pack nowhere near the punch of similar stuff from the '70s.
The acting is good, with good dialogue and timing in a flashback scene at the swings. The sound creates a spooky mood through plucked strings and humming cellos, and there's an off-key folk song that gets repeated. Effective, but the music is constantly "on" with no space for silence, so I ended up wondering how the story would play with just ambient sound - probably unwatchable. The photography and editing are good.
Overall: Thoughtful, bit of a drag.
Stage Beauty (2004)
An aspiring actress in Restoration Britain switches dominance with her cross-dressing mentor, but will the switch stick?
Good concept with a sound historical basis and the opportunity for clever interplay. The choice of the murder scene in Othello as a plot device makes for comedy in the different styles of performance and delivers a final dramatic rush. And the story moves with pace from playhouse to court, leaving a vague impression of historical London.
Biggest problem was with the lead actress, who played a linear part earnestly. Her mentor's story had some twist, which almost came through in his audition before the king, but I was hoping both actors' parts would be mischievous and deceptive, self promoting and self harming. Instead it's all about honest aspiration and just rewards, and misses out the essential weirdness of play acting in a tyranny. But it does come together in the end - a great climax onstage, which had me going with the audience and wondering did they/didn't they?
Most awkward performance is in the part of Nell Gwynn - again, on the nose, but I guess that's down to the writing. The king and the company manager are played brilliantly; rest of the cast as good as you'd hope for in a Brit period drama.
Music was lush - no historical references, as far as I could tell. Full fathom five.
Overall: Entertaining, could have done with more weird.
The Last Legion (2007)
Doesn't add up
The infant emperor of Rome turns to a faithful legionnaire to rescue him from captivity and assist his flight to a far off land ...
The story is based on a novel, which I bet was plenty fat. There is a huge amount of history and incident packed into a very slim 105m run time, to the point where our heroes survey a snowy Alpine pass for a moment before a map-montage of Transalpine Gaul flashes up to represent their epic journey to Britannia, where they conveniently step to shore from a boat. And it turns out this is a prequel to a very famous myth, promoted to the status of legend by its Roman associations.
So the story is hugely ambitious but with only a fraction of the resources needed to deliver a satisfying production. At least that's the way it feels, yet it has a stellar cast and a huge budget. And the script is by a renowned playwright, and some of the locations are interesting (especially the recreation of the Isle of Capri). Something doesn't add up.
It's not just that the dialogue is painfully plain, but the editing and writing keeps hurrying us along through what should be a fascinating land of oddities and magical encounters. For some reason the story is coy about magic, only hinting that it's anything more than a clever hoax, and the climactic battle is extras in a field spinning and kicking and roaring, while the showdown with the nemesis opens with a "startled!" sound effect as a little girl looks around and ... he's there! Just bizarrely bad. I imagine the screenplay came in at 180 pages, and the producer said, "Great - cut it in half. With a sword."
The cast do OK with stiff lines, and the actress with the amazing blue eyes has less difficulty convincing us she's the unlikeliest all-action knife twirler than that she enjoys any chemistry with the glum leading man. The music is lavish orchestral stuff, but no big deal.
Overall: Interesting concept, underwhelming delivery.
Better Watch Out (2016)
At his parents' house a teen boy tries to seduce his blond baby sitter, while a menacing intruder circles outside in the Christmas snow ...
Well made thriller - not a horror - that struggles to set the right tone. All the technical stuff is good, and the first act is engaging and well paced - although maybe a bit too flat in its attempt to lure the audience in. But the thrills kick off with a twist at just the right point, and the gore and mayhem plays out in a well written screenplay with a clear climax and resolution.
Plenty of quips and jokes, but they come off as mean spirited and I didn't laugh once. Yet the violence is almost all done with cutaways, with no sense of exploitation, and so it seems a bit polite, as if determined to avoid a high age-classification. The biggest complaint is with the music - constantly on, with hardly a pause for nerve-jangling silence, and it really is Nancy Drew cliché all the way. I guess we have a director/producer problem.
The performances are good, especially those self-satisfied little dance moves - they reminded me of Michael Parks during his sermon in Red State.
Overall: Good structure but didn't choose a single direction, and the music is unfknforgivable.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
On vacation in Spain two American girlfriends meet a tall, dark and handsome artist who satisfies their needs in unexpected ways.
A curious little romance that putters along until about the halfway mark, when the introduction of a new character adds some tension and darkness. The sensibility is middle class - safe and responsible - so nothing really dramatic is promised and the story resolves on a minor note: not too comfortable, restrained in emotion.
The performances are good, particularly from the ex-wife. Locations are idyllic. Music is gorgeous. Only complaint is the odd voice-over of the narrator, which lords it over the story and is very much tell-don't-show.
Overall: fairly interesting, fairly engaging.
At a gathering in a country house a jealous little girl intervenes in her sister's love life, and things will never be the same ...
From an interesting novel that had an engrossing first half but, for me, trailed off in the second. So I had a different experience with the film adaptation, where the country house scenes are not quite satisfying but the following war story is brilliantly told. The narrator is a fascinating little character, but looking back I think her motivation needed to be colder and her atonement more problematic. In the end the story is wrapped up with a talking head, which I guess was unavoidable but not the mark of a great movie.
The long tracking shot on the beach at Dunkirk is amazing - not only a technical marvel (the amount of ground covered, the multiple interactions) but it creates a great sense of chaos and despair.
Performances are good, and it's no wonder people raved about Ronan. The music is excellent and plays about with the rhythm of a tapping type writer. Photography too, although I didn't get the sense of oppressive heat in the first act.
Overall: interesting and impressive, but some big flaws.
Gods and Monsters (1998)
Queen and groom
A gardener sits for his portrait by a retired film director, who reveals more than expected about his ailing life.
Well balanced biopic of an interesting character. The story is elevated a few degrees by the lead performance, but weighed down a touch by the character of the gardener. Wikipedia hints at a more interesting end-of-life relationship with a foreign lover, but I guess that would have complicated the dynamic and so we end up with Fraser struggling in an awkward role. And a monstrous hair-cut.
The pace is surprisingly good for a dialogue driven story, with the first hour flying by, and the climax is well nailed. The theme is of companionship among outcasts, which is nicely illustrated with the war scene and the movie clip with the blind man. I could have done with more integration of the horror sensibility (replace the recumbent soldiers with rotting cadavers), and I'm not sure the monster metaphor worked.
If there were in-jokes and tricks involving Whale's innovative camera work or Universal Studios' horror music, I didn't notice them.
Overall: worth it for McKellen's close ups.
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Less worse - still not good
A girl afflicted by polio moves into a new orphanage, but things go bump in the night as the dark secret of the old couple who run the place seeks her out.
Improves on the first movie - this is a prequel - but by how much? Again a lot of care is taken in creating the period feel, and there are plenty of jump scares, but this time the story powers to a climax rather than limping. The opening sequence is a neat bit of story telling, and there's plenty of material to work with from the setting of the big house to the array of characters.
Problem for me is that the screenwriter - the same guy as for the first movie and, apparently, for the next one too - is not so hot. He has fertile territory in the group of young girls, but never really gets a dynamic going. There is a hand-over of heroines that's not done right. The old man doesn't do anything except shuffle about. Sometimes the dialogue is awful. And it's not an origin story, as the only thing we find out about the evil is that it's opposed to Christianity - no idea where it comes from.
The direction is good, the performances are OK, and the music keeps us headed in the intended direction, but the story is so plain and the tension so slack that the long running time gets tiring. A few good scenes - sheet falls away, under another sheet with a torch, and finding safety in a bunk-bed - but the frights are not deep, and some are ruined by OTT CGI.
Overall: If you've got the budget spend it on the writing first.
The Limehouse Golem (2016)
When a successful actress goes on trial in mid-Victorian London for the fatal poisoning of her husband, a struggling detective finds links between the dead man and a series of notorious killings.
Lively and stylish period mystery that doesn't really bring all its themes and influences together. The pace cracks along as the narrative switches between courtroom drama, police procedural, and flashbacks. There are a few set pieces involving famous writers from the era, but they're pure diversion, and the Jewish theme seems confused (I guess it had more heft in the novel). And the procedural device of handwriting tests isn't convincing. Greatest dramatic weakness is that, while the music hall atmosphere is well created, the stage performances are just ditties with little thematic or plot substance.
I didn't anticipate the reveal, so the whodunit process was fairly enjoyable, but an unnecessary tell at the start of the third act meant there was no surprise. I also didn't get the coda - why?
Performances were good, although the lead actress is never a cockney. Favourite was the Spanish actress - would like to see more of her ... Music, photography, sets and editing excellent. Plenty of gore, but not many frights.
Overall: Enjoyable fluff.
War's a horrid thing
A troop of British soldiers lost in battle seize an enemy trench, but their survival is threatened by its ghastly mysteries ...
Good concept - basically the writer/director has converted the legend of The Marie Celeste to the killing fields of WWI, and let loose the psychology that we've built up around that conflict. Or you could think in terms of Dead Calm, maybe even Aliens or 2001. Gasp!
From the opening battle sequence it's clear there was money behind this production, but it didn't carry the impact of the over-the-top finale to Blackadder, so I could have done without all the Boom-Boom-Boom in favour of just slipping into the claustrophobic trek through the mist.
The star of the film is the trench - I got the sense of it as a deadly command centre turning its hostile attention inward. But the mythos of the story is confused, juggling the paranormal and the psychological, with a twist that is telegraphed early on and a conclusion that has it both ways.
The performances are OK, but the actors have to struggle with cut 'n paste dialogue and characterisation, although the hero does come through well in the climax. I loved the rotting corpse gore. Music was ham-fisted, trying to distract from a lack of heart in the story.
Overall: Great setting, but tangles itself in barbed wire.
Lights Out (2016)
Tiny wild man
An estranged daughter rescues her little brother from her mother's home, but once they get to her apartment things start going bump in the night ...
Solid horror, with good pace and structure, and the characters are damaged so there's room for them to develop. The use of light is intrinsic to the story and, while it's fairly original, it didn't feel all that stylish. For example, in one of the Insidious films there's a scene where the psychic goes into the otherworld holding a lamp aloft in the suffocating darkness and the effect is gorgeous and spooky - but nothing in this compares. The ghost is menacing, but nothing we haven't already seen in vintage J-horror.
The screenplay delivers a literal manifestation of mental illness, and a pointed dilemma at the climax, which for me is much more effective than metaphorical horror like The Babadook. Maybe the story would have benefited from more emphasis on the mother's anguish, instead of clunky exposition on a long gone loony bin. And one good line: There is no you without me.
The acting is good, especially the terrified close-ups of the lead actress. Several so-so jump scares. Don't remember much about the music.
Overall: Effective, no complaints
Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)
Just a shot away
Wonderful exploration of the surprisingly small world of backing singers in the US music industry.
One observation by Sting gets to the heart of it, when he says the difference between the talented singer and a star is down to circumstance, luck, destiny ... whatever, but that the best people deal with it. He's not being harsh, just accepting that only a very few have the completeness to achieve stardom. Or maybe he means the best are those who survive and live good lives.
We're shown the greatness of heart and the bitterness of failure among those who don't have that completeness. In the end it is sad, but nothing can take away from the commitment of the performers, as their faces light up in remembrance of glory or grow blank with despair. As one guy says, If you get hooked on music you are forked!
A lot of emotion, but two especially powerful moments, with the performances of Gimme Shelter: the original singer says she decided to "blow them out of this room" and the isolated track of her vocal cracks, and the later singer overwhelms a live audience.
One Hundred Mornings (2009)
A couple come to terms
Two couples struggle to survive through rural savagery, but who means it more?
The best Irish film I've seen since From The Dark. Perfect balance in the pace and mood and characterisation, and excellent restraint in the story telling. Had no idea about this production when I pressed play, so at first I thought it was set in the north-west of the USA, then maybe Canada, before I twigged the accents (one English).
It's not ambitious, but perfect for what it is. And the most perfect moment is when the the two couples form a symmetry of double dealing on the porch.
Performances are good, use of music and sounds just right, and the editing keeps it clipping along. Cinematography is limited, but so wha'?
Overall: Refreshing survival.
It Comes at Night (2017)
What's the story?
A family in lock-down during a plague season in the wilderness. They choose to save another family. Will things turn out well?
Slow, stylish, moody - but kinda pointless. This is well shot, well performed, the pace is good, and the sounds and music are sophisticated. But the story is hopelessly underdeveloped, trailing red herrings all over the place and in the end selecting the one trail that was obvious from the start.
Comparing other reviews it's clear people are divided on the merits, but nobody can argue that this movie followed through on its promise - from the spooky title, to the mysterious hiatus just before the father brings the alien family back home, to the inter-racial dynamic.
It was hard to write a logline for the review - there's no hero, and no looking-glass moment when reality is turned upside down. The red door has visual significance, but the effect is a bit blah and impractical. The nightmare scenes are good, with a chiaroscuro effect using the lamplight. I only noticed the changing aspect ratio later on and didn't care.
Overall: Style over substance, mood over story.
It Stains the Sands Red (2016)
Fix the niggles, and the rest flows
A stripper-mom fleeing a zombie apocalypse finds herself alone and stranded in the desert as one of the creatures stalks her ...
Good concept with an interesting twist and energetic climax. Plenty of style, with fine cinematography and a few big-bucks effects. This is from the writer/director/producer team behind Grave Encounters, so you might expect a bleak and harrowing story, but it's surprisingly big hearted if not quite optimistic.
But surprise surprise - this experienced team allow a lot of niggles to interrupt the story, with constant lapses in plausibility and logic. For example, in the opening scene the getaway car digs its rear wheel into the sand and won't budge - instantly I thought of a way to dislodge it, but the characters didn't even begin to think - even for the comedy effect. Later, there are plenty opportunities to exploit the creature's weakness, but the heroine doesn't have the wit to even try. A safe-haven house appears and disappears for no reason. The story is peppered with these problems, which kept dragging me out but are easily fixable. It undermined the humour and pathos the story was aiming for, so that's frustrating.
The final act has a serious change of tack, which kinda works. It does deliver on character and emotion, but its awkwardness might have been less if the earlier story had flowed more smoothly. So there's plenty to enjoy in this movie, but the script was just a bit off.
The landscapes are gorgeous, and there's a good car-shot with a face in the wing mirror, plus a fire-lit reveal of the monster creeping up from behind. Also plenty of gore and skin.
Lead actress does well, with a great squeal & scarper when trying to confront the zombie. And the zombie's movements are well done, and he even generated sympathy. Was the chemistry believable? Would have helped to have better dialogue.
Enjoyed the music. And the title comes from a gross-out snack.
Overall: Quality, but sloppy.