GORE IN THE STORE
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans
WICKEDLY EVIL **
Directed by Garry Walsh.
Starring Joseph McGucken, James Farrelly, Darryl Carter, Louise Bourke, Cat L. Walsh.
Comedy/Horror, Ireland, 97 mins, cert 15.
Released in the UK on digital platforms by 101 Films on November 13th
In this amusing Irish crime comedy horror, there is plenty of colourful swearing, a dash of violence, and something even more horrifying than a repeat of MRS BROWN’S BOYS lurking in the dark for our anti heroes.
After robbing a notorious crime family, bumbling Irish gangsters Frankie (Joseph McGucken), Dancer (James Farrelly) and the unlucky Gaz (Darryl Carter), who has been shot and is slowly bleeding out, hole up in a remote countryside safehouse alongside a kidnapped member of the crime family Clare (Louise Bourke). All they now need to do is to wait things out until everything blows over but is their friendly neighbour, Sadie (Cat L. Walsh), with her thoughtful offers of lasagna and casual chat over recreational woodcutting, on to them? And who is the policewoman asking about the missing local couple?
WICKEDLY EVIL has moments of sparkle and wit, including a particularly funny werewolf joke, but is overall let down by feeling too familiar to more polished films that have come before. It doesn’t help that the very first scene, which sees two of the gangsters bickering over the disappointing masks that have been purchased for their big job (Ninja Turtle masks were requested, but they ended up with generic frogs, the “cousin of turtles” apparently), reminded me of a similar, and funnier, scene in BABY DRIVER. This immediately set me off on the wrong foot with the film, as it didn’t give me hope for much originality to follow, which, unfortunately, is mostly the case.
I imagine the director and co-writer Garry Walsh is a fan of IN BRUGES and RESERVOIR DOGS, as this film feels heavily indebted to those super sweary, darkly comic gangster flicks. Still, unfortunately, without the slickness of Quentin Tarantino’s and Martin McDonagh’s scripts, sometimes the dialogue here doesn’t always work and can feel a bit forced.
Also, sadly, the mix of comedy and horror isn’t particularly well handled as, apart from some very minor elements, the proper horror doesn’t arrive until around the last 10 minutes. I won’t spoil what specifically the horror is, but the fact that there is a horror element is mentioned by the marketing (and strongly hinted at by even the font of the opening titles) so it isn’t as if the film turning into a horror in the final scenes is intended as a last-minute twist. As it currently is, it feels like an unearned, tacked-on element rather than something that is satisfyingly woven into the story throughout.
The cast is good but would have been better served by a script that didn’t seem indebted to McDonagh and Tarantino. James Farrelly as Dancer, the most unhinged of the trio (likely due to his ongoing cocaine snorting), has the most stand out moments, including the aforementioned werewolf joke and an extended phone call scene where he’s trying to get information from a hospital.
The film has clearly been made on a low budget and filmed in a limited set of locations, but it is competently and proficiently put together. There’s nothing particularly stylish or creative about the filmmaking here, but then there’s nothing embarrassingly amateurish. This is Garry Walsh’s feature film debut, and I can see he certainly has promise, but his potential hasn’t quite yet been reached here.
Overall, WICKEDLY EVIL is an amusing but undercooked crime comedy that doesn’t fully utilise its horror elements but has engaging performances from a game cast, making it a watchable diversion, if not too much more.
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans