In 2002, the gory, incendiary Dog Soldiers caught the attention of the entire British film industry with a meagre budget and a DIY attitude. The attention to detail, the claustrophobia, the dark humour and most importantly how terrifying the werewolves themselves looked resulted in a recipe for well-deserved success. 17 years later, Eat Locals attempts to create the exact same movie (except this time with vampires) and stumbles horrendously into every hurdle along the way.
The tenuous plot follows six vampire overlords who gather in a rural mansion for their bi-centennial meeting. Little do they know that they will also be joined by Sebastian Crockett (Charlie Cox), an unwitting Essex lad who is chasing a cougar who turns out to be a vampire, and a SAS team of Special Forces vampire killers who have bitten off more than they can chew.
Director Jason Flemyng fumbles between wanting to follow in the gory footsteps of his indie horror predecessors and flamboyantly camp humour, resulting in a bizarre Carry On atmosphere. The film’s star, MacKenzie Crook, barely keeps it together as the colonel of the SAS team (Larousse) who is constantly outwitted by the ancient demons. Crook is a comedy legend but is forced to play his character as a straight-laced action hero, leaving the gags to the rest of the cast in a bizarre turn of the script.
The feature offers some funny, gross-out moments and uses some impressive practical effects in the non-stop action sequences. The battle set-pieces are well choreographed and entertaining but become so long-winded that they undermine the story. At times Eat Locals attempts to reach the B-movie trash aesthetic of flicks such as the Sharknado series but lacks the self-awareness and the zany originality to do so.
Indie horrors are a staple of the British film industry because creative filmmakers find ways of overcoming their restrictive budgets to create something new and interesting. Eat Locals is a confused, by-the-numbers shoot’em up that seems content with churning out old gags.
Eat Locals is released nationwide on 1st September 2017.
Watch the trailer for Eat Locals here: