Sunday, May 28, 2017

Eat Locals – review

Director: Jason Flemyng

Release date: 2017

Contains spoilers

One of the advantages of the internet is that it opened a vistas of markets up. Thus, whilst the film Eat Local is not available in its own local market as of yet (the UK) it can be purchased from Germany.

It is the directorial debut of Jason Flemying and whilst it perhaps doesn’t come across as an auteur piece it shows a strong knowledge of film-craft, which was also helped by gathering a very strong cast. It is a comedy – probably more in the realm of Cockney’s Vs Zombies' level of knowing humour and certainly a damn site funnier than other Brit comedy efforts such as Lesbian Vampire Killers.

Angel and Alice
The film starts with a kitchen and a man, Henry (Charlie Cox), comes in and sits. Following him is an elderly woman, Alice (Annette Crosbie), who also sits at the stable and starts to knit. A second younger woman, Angel (Freema Agyeman, Doctor Who: Smith and Jones), comes in and sits in the window. Three more men enter, The Duke (Vincent Regan), Peter Boniface (Tony Curran, Blade II, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen & Underworld Evolution) and Thomas (Jordan Long). We hear struggling from off screen.

Billy Cook as Sebastian
Number 18 (Johnny Palmiero) is running panicked through the woods whilst radioing through to Colonel Bingham (Robert Portal). Bingham tells him to face his perceived pursuer. He reluctantly does and counts to five. The Col. suggests that they are not chasing the soldier, after all he got to five. At a train station we see Sebastian (Billy Cook) disembark. He has some banter with some young kids.

number 18 and the Colonel
Meanwhile 18 is watching a farm, which is guarded by a lone man, Chen (Lukaz Leong). The six we met are in the farm kitchen and it is a council meeting of the 8 vampires of the UK. Inside there is debate over territory and quotas (strongly enforced by the European Council). There is talk about taking immigrants (no one will miss them) but Henry points out that they send money home and have become integral to the very fabric of society.

staking Thomas
The point soon comes out. Thomas has been taking victims above quota including children (an attack which has made press headlines). Boniface is shocked, Thomas was his friend and the Duke hadn’t discussed the situation with him prior to the meeting, but the judgement stands and Thomas is staked – turning to dust. His remains are unceremoniously thrown down into the cellar.

Eve Myles as Vanessa
Whilst this has been going on we have also seen that Sebastian, an orphan with no support network, has been picked up at the station by Vanessa (Eve Myles) - in a car with the number plate "Bram 1". She has essentially groomed him (he is a Romany and is described as being several generations pure but the significance of that isn’t explained) and he is taken to the farm. There is a rule that the vampires must be eight and he is to replace Thomas but he knows nothing of their nature (cue lack of reflection moment and vamp face etc). Unfortunately all the vampires must unanimously agree and Boniface does not. Sebastian must die.

angered
He escapes the farm, is intercepted by Chen and this is noted by the soldiers who have all arrived. They have equipment that shows body heat and recognise one cold and one warm body and are about to intercept when Boniface also appears. The Col. aborts the mission to the disgust of the Vatican representative Larousse (Mackenzie Crook, Demons). He orders a strike at the farmhouse, just before the vampires feast on Sebastian… The first squad is decimated with one casualty for the vampires. The film then follows the misadventure of the siege, with the vampires needing to get out before dawn (they show their age and nature in any UV and quickly catch fire in the sun) and the soldiers betraying their mission to get a sample for a cosmetic firm. The farmers Mr (Dexter Fletcher, Dead Cert) and Mrs Thatcher (Ruth Jones) are also tied up in the cellar and may not be the most innocent pair ever…

turning to dust
I think I have covered the main lore – pierce the heart to kill, sunlight kills, reflections aren’t cast etc. We do discover that Henry only feeds on animals – because he was human once – and a bite turns as long as the bitten doesn’t die (the death aspect is implied not explicitly stated). However the more fascinating bit was the entire idea of the vampire society, which was explored just enough to give a tantalising glimpse but not enough to bog the film down. Excellent performances all round helped and there is just something visually and comedically so satisfying about an elderly (looking) lady firing off assault rifles with a devil may care attitude.

makeshift cross
This was genuinely funny, without drifting into (too much) slapstick. It was tightly shot and I liked the idea of a cosmetic firm being involved. The religious aspect was only touched upon (as mentioned Larousse would appear to work for the Vatican but the only moment of religious interaction we actually see with the vampires is Sebastian making a makeshift cross that completely fails in its intended purpose). There is a sequel planned, according to the credits, and I am looking forward to Eat Global. 7.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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