The Stag had little competition for attention: an entirely empty cinema (due to a scheduling clash rather than disinterest). Deserted auditorium plus a marginally childish viewer = overexcitement. However, this anomaly really allowed a test of this Irish comedy in all conditions: front row, back row, dead centre, on the floor…
This is the kind of film that creeps up on you, lures you into a false sense of security in a condescending “oh look what a twee Gallic jape” sort of way, until all of a sudden that bloke who’s not very fond of Benedict Cumberbatch is lilting melancholy folksongs and your face is wet. “Why is my face wet?” you say. Because you’re crying, although goodness knows when that happened and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
If you’re a manly man who likes anything that involves a mallet and aggressively reinforced gender stereotypes, you may be momentarily unsettled by this. Don’t worry, the feelings won’t get you, just look at the floor and shuffle your knees a bit, soon enough they’ll all be knackers to nature and lost in the woods. This film about a stag do gone awry is not The Hangover. This is not your usual overdone stag do movie. This is something quite different that just happened to take that form.
The Tumblr user inside was confused as to why Jim Moriarty was singing On Raglan Road and talking about risotto, but it worked. The cast, including Sherlock’s Andrew Scott and Brian Gleeson, works incredibly well together, and really makes it something special. It’s a real rarity to see such a quality and consistency throughout an entire (if smallish) cast, but The Stag has it.
This film succeeds because it is almost none of what you expect it to be. It really takes the audience away from their expectations and plonks them in the middle of nowhere, drops their keys in a burial mound, sets fire to the tent, and flings them naked into an icy and suspiciously brown body of water. For whatever reason you go and see this cinematic snowflake, just do.
The Stag is in cinemas nationwide on 14th March 2014.
Watch the trailer for The Stag here: