Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Adam Leader & Richard Oakes.
Starring Christopher Mulvin, Neal Ward.
Horror, UK, 96 minutes, certificate 18.


Released On Demand 13th November by Bingo Films


After Jed’s partner passes away from an eating disorder, the young man’s grief leads him to seek solace in the company of Lionel Flack, a gregarious American. Jed’s nightmares of his dead girlfriend begin to lead him down a suicidal path, one that Lionel actively encourages by convincing Jed to volunteer himself for a cannibalistic act of self-sacrifice. Despite signing a contract that absolves Lionel in the eyes of the law, Jed soon regrets his decision as Lionel’s already bizarre behaviour, not to mention his obvious wig and loose accent, begins to increase in more troubling ways as he attempts to lead the forlorn Jed down a twisted path of self-discovery.


Adam Leader and Richard Oakes previous directorial outing HOSTS was a fun little spin on the home invasion film with its sudden outbursts of shocking violence and outlandish twists. With what appears to be a slightly bigger budget and more resources, this time, they attempt to wrong foot the audience once more, but the results are a lot less successful. If the plot as described above sounds bizarre, the execution of how it unfolds on screen stretches it beyond breaking point, resulting in a slice of low-budget horror that is distinct and memorable but perhaps not in the way that its filmmakers intended.


This is a mishmash of a film that lurches from grotesque League of Gentlemen-style comedy to extreme gore before stumbling into sentimental scenes of heartfelt emotion, often in the same scene. That it does so regularly quickly leaves the viewer struggling to grasp it. While there are scenes of wince-inducing gore amid a grotty backdrop, it is trying to do something more than your usual low-budget torture porn piece, but what that is feels frustratingly out of reach throughout.


Dream sequence imagery heavily involving hearts leads into glaringly obvious metaphors, while Neal Ward’s performance of Lionel is played in such an off-putting and bizarre manner that it leads the viewer to suspect something else is afoot. Such obviousness, however, is offset by some genuinely smart and inventive direction. One sequence set in a restaurant culminates in an impressively extended take that concludes memorably with a smart shock.


No doubt the film's many idiosyncrasies will garner as many admirers as it does detractors. It does prove that Leader and Oakes are directors of ambition and have a keen visual style with a twisted sense of humour to back it up. Hopefully, in the future, their command of tone will gel more successfully and result in something more successful while just as memorable.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans