The Dinner Party (Review) Make sure you’re on your best behavior…

THE DINNER PARTY

THE SETUP

Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Diane Brook over at OctoberCoast PR for allowing me early access to an online screener of the new Horror/Thriller film “The Dinner Party”, Co-Written and Directed by Miles Doleac (Hallowed Ground). The Dinner Party sees promising playwright, Jeff (played by Mike Mayhall) and his young wife Haley (the lovely Alli Hart), attending a lavish dinner at the Victorian-style home of elitist couple Carmine and Sebastian (played respectively by Bill Sage and Sawandi Wilson) with the hopes of procuring a bankroll for their planned venture. The couple has no idea what the hosts have in store for them though. The film also stars Miles Doleac (Don’t Kill It) Lindsay Anne Williams (Hallowed Ground), Kamille McCuin, and Jeremy London.

I had the opportunity to see Doleac’s previous feature Hallowed Ground (of which he also starred in) not too long ago. Now, whilst it didn’t really gel for me I still respected the production values and liked the Native American sliver of the story. Some shared themes are once again on display in Miles’ latest horror film but the end result is disappointingly much the same. Let’s talk about what I did like though. Big tick in relation to Michael Williams (who has built a nice resume in short films over the last decade) with his consistent and smooth cinematography – the film appears to be presented in full CinemaScope, which I liked. The early establishing shots (pre-credits) are stylish, the wides look great, and everything is nicely framed and well lit. The audio track is clean, there’s some effective sound design here and there, and composer Clifton Hyde has a few memorable sections early in proceedings with what sounds like either an oboe or a bassoon, used in order to get a unique sound. The action is on the scarce side for what was marketed primarily as a horror/cannibal flick. That said, there is a bit of early red stuff and some decent kills and practical blood and gore in the closing stages.

I was genuinely excited to see Bill Sage (who most will remember as Van Patten in American Psycho) pop up in this one, and he turns in a nice little stagy performance as Carmine, co-host, and chef. The pairing of Mayhall and Hart initially appears a stretch given the obvious age gap, but as luck would have it, certain details come to light that gives credence to support the duo’s relationship. Both deliver serviceable performances, so to Kamille and Lindsay, who play additional guests to the party. I can certainly see Sawandi Wilson going places though, now it helps that he’s given a majority of the meaty dialogue and therefore more room to wiggle in terms of theatrics, but he still has to pull it off – which he does. From the moment he answers the door to the overeager Jeff and his trepidatious partner Haley you know the cogs have begun turning. I hoped to see a little more of Haley’s psychological damage further explored, as she was easily the most interesting character in the film.

There’s something that’s quickly become a pet hate of mine, and that’s more prominent performers (name actors for lack of a better term) being disingenuously top-billed (on credits) for films they only appear in for a very short space of time. I understand many films and filmmakers have done it and continue to do it, and so it’s likely going to come off as a little unfair blaming any one person or those responsible for marketing The Dinner Party like they’re the only ones, but still, the same has been done again here in regard to Jeremy London (best known for Kevin Smith’s “Mallrats”). London appears in a singular flashback as Haley’s stepfather, and in fact, his face isn’t even shown. He has a couple of lines of dialogue and that’s it. Yet everywhere you look he’s at the top of the list of actors associated with this project and that’s just wrong. It’s a tough industry and I understand that getting your product out there isn’t easy, but for genuine cinephiles like myself, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth when these sorts of things occur. All that said, some mismarketing isn’t the real issue with The Dinner Party, that lay with the extremely inflated near 120-minute runtime and the sluggish pacing of the whole thing. Those two pieces of the puzzle, in a nutshell, are mostly what holds the film back from being identified as an indie-made gem. There are a few other issues such as Doleac’s patchy British accent that ends up sounding more like Jason Statham doing an Australian accent. Moreoever, some of the particulars feel a bit stale as we’ve seen most of them done before and in better fashion.

The Dinner Party feels like a cross between something like “The Invitation” and the underappreciated “The Perfect Guest”, only this one, unfortunately, wears out its welcome. I’ll never understand why independent filmmakers feel the need to stew in their own self-indulgence, especially when pacing and length is everything these days. I can’t help but think that didn’t have to be the case. If you were to simply omit the excessive regurgitation at the dinner table of themes of famous operas and how they translate in real life this would be quite nice to digest at around 80 minutes – the result would be a very tight, concise and much different one, but alas. Still, one can’t deny the quality camera work, the sharp audio, and sound design, coupled with a solid band of performances, all of which are worth praising. Those of you who are partial to a real slow-burn (and I mean slow) may be better equipped to extract a little more from this one than I could. Feel free to give the trailer a little look and the film will officially be available on DVD and Digital platforms from June 5th.

The Dinner Party – 4/10

Mutti (Review) She wants some body…

THE SETUP

Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Everstory Productions and both Writer, Benjamin Rider along with Director, Xavier Baeyens for allowing me early access to an online screener of their 7-minute Horror/Sci-Fi short, “Mutti”. Mutti is a German-made short about a soon to be groom (played by Nicolo Pasetti) who gets more than he bargains for when he’s lured back to a young woman’s (Raquel Villar) apartment to meet her new roommate, Mutti (played by Stefanie Wermeling).

I’ve known Xavier (at least in a networking and social media capacity) for a couple of years now, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had to see some of his work first-hand. Mutti has a 70’s like aesthetic appeal apparent from the outset, mostly in regards to its color grade and lighting. I’m a sucker for 70’s films and so I was immediately engaged, particularly enjoying the early conversation while green lens flares bleed from a background table mirror. Tim Strecker’s cinematography comes together well, the edit is clean, and Maciej Kulesza’s electrofusion score is perfect and calls to mind similar music from the likes of Cronenberg’s “Spider” or Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival”. Each of the performances is solid and the interactions natural, Wermeling and Pasetti especially good with their alien body movements. In hindsight, one could perhaps deduce that the opening shot is somewhat of a birthing of Mutti, an arrival if you will. Rider introduces a touch of social commentary via the preferential treatment of men with the framework of our current social hierarchy. The notion that all men get a certain way when they’re inebriated could be construed as rather mass-generalization, but I understood the long and short of those remarks. Issues are few and far between, though the voice-over work at the beginning wasn’t really necessary as it’s later repeated by Mutti once a not-so-subtle Jack enters the fold. I was also a little bemused as to why the woman didn’t react in the way that most people would have had they been placed in the same situation. Why didn’t she ask any questions or seek any answers?

Mutti is an extremely polished little short film with solid writing and great direction. The production value is consistently good and each of the technical aspects is well-conceived. I can see the film continuing to do well on the festival circuit throughout 2020. Aside from a couple of minor things, Mutti is hard to fault and will likely be a strong candidate for one of the best short films of the year. I can’t wait to see what Everstory does next, be sure to keep an eye out for this one soon!

Mutti – 8.5/10

Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver (Review) He was a real speed demon…

RICHARD NIXON: GETAWAY DRIVER

Firstly, I’d just like to start off by saying thank you to Co-Writer, Brian Lonano for allowing me access to an online screener of he and his brother Kevin’s, 5 minute Mystery/Thriller short “Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver”. Shot on authentic Super 8 mm and set in an alternative reality (or is it?), Nixon (played by Denny Holmes) sits in the oval office with a tape recorder recounting his escapades as an impromptu getaway driver for Phil Ochs (Dave W. Campbell) – the man secretly behind the Kennedy assassination.

I happened to stumble upon a screengrab from Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver that really caught my eye, add to that its strange premise and is it any wonder that I could hardly pass up the opportunity to check it out. With modern technology and equipment being as advanced as it is these days, there’s little demand left for content shot on super 8 mm. So when something like this comes along, the film geek in me gets a touch gitty. The marginally wider than 4:3 aspect ratio suits a film like this, one which is compiled of stock footage and simple low-budget additions. I loved the manic synth score in the beginning as well as the attention to detail in the 60’s aesthetics such as vehicle types and the look of the gas station interiors (or at least as much of it that was in their control). The sound mix for Nixon’s narration aptly fits the cadence of a worn tape, not to mention Holmes tone sounds great and the dialogue flows naturally. My only two minor criticisms of this not to be taken too seriously account were that the brief uses of sporadic background colors (obviously depicting a drug trip) in those visual effects-heavy sequences end up feeling more like a distraction. That and Campbell is clearly having a little too much fun interacting with Holmes in his early exaggerated behavior that he drops out of character momentarily and can almost be seen laughing.

Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver was definitely a quickie, but a surprise that I’m glad I happened upon. I can really appreciate the ambitious approach behind making something as out of left field as this is. The opted format was certainly a throwback that put a smile on my face, the set design and aesthetics look great, and the sound mix and score fit the tone perfectly. I’d be lying if I said a part of me didn’t want to see more of this alternate reality of Nixon’s criminal life explored in another installment. Stay tuned for more news and a release date for the film soon!

Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver – 8.5/10

Killer Sofa (Review) It ain’t no lazy boy…

KILLER SOFA

THE SETUP

Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to the team at High Octane Pictures for sending me an online screener of their new B-movie Horror/Comedy “Killer Sofa”, Written and Directed by Bernie Rao. Killer Sofa is a New Zealand production that follows Francesca (beautiful first-timer Piimio Mei), a young woman with a knack for entrancing men who inevitably become possessive over her. After hearing news of the death of one of her previous jealous and unstable lovers Frederico (Harley Neville), Francesca discovers a hidden past and the fact that she’s the bearer of an evil recliner chair intent on killing all those in her life. The film also stars Nathalie Morris, Jim Baltaxe, Jed Brophy, Stacey King, and Grant Kereama.

Crossing over genre lines into the farfetched inane notion of inanimate objects trying to kill people has long since been a done thing in the B-movie sub-genre. If I recall correctly, 1978’s “Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes!” was one of the earliest to do it and other low-budget examples followed, such as “Death Bed” and cult classic “The Refrigerator”. Since then, we’ve seen films about murderous snowmen, violent backpacks, runaway tires, and even crazed donuts all attempting to kill innocent people. So with that in mind, Rao’s surprisingly dour film about a killer lounge chair shouldn’t really come as any great surprise, at least to those of us well-versed in the world of schlock. Like it or not, Killer Sofa is yet another original concept in a particular niche that’s constantly attempting to up its wacky factor. Bernie has built a resume working in short film but this looks to be his first feature-length film. The film contains solid production value, and at just 80 minutes, the pacing is quite direct. Rao’s framing and camera work are both competent, and the crisp audio track and sound fx work are further upsides. The strong neon lighting of reds and blues creates a good bit of atmosphere (even if it’s purely artificial and somewhat overdone) and a couple of the key performances are serviceable. Francesca’s friendship with Maxi (Morris) appears to be the sole vehicle for any drama – the watchability aided by the two very pretty actresses. Some of the animation with the recliner adds a bit of charm as well.

With this review being based upon a screener, I’m hoping that some work will be carried out on a couple of the technical aspects before the film is officially released. The overall master seems rather low and the edit comes off as clunky through numerous transitions in scenes that don’t feel like they’ve really concluded. Without singling anyone out, some of the secondary performances are also lacking, though the actors aren’t aided by some less than stellar dialogue at times. For some unbeknownst reason, Francesca insists on constantly calling Maxi by her name anytime the two interact with each other. Why? Friends don’t talk to each other like that in real life, so why here? The way in which the two police officers carry themselves is a little odd as well. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be played for laughs or what? There’s a couple of moments involving some practical blood spray but it looks awfully cheap. Not to mention that the film ran well past the forty-minute mark without any kills or on-screen action to speak of. How can a film with this potential for batshit craziness (at least on a surface-level) be so void of fun and entertainment value? Killer Sofa is so dolefully stern and composed and with no obvious rationale as to why. So if you’re like me and you’re just looking for a dose of cheesy madness, you’ll likely be left disappointed. Why not go all out with this idea instead of opting for something that’s tonally murky? I’m not sure how Rao thought that taking a bee-line dramatic approach to a concept so outlandish was the way to go. There’s an origin to proceedings but it feels elicited from somewhere else (not an actual movie just another reality), and I simply didn’t care about the fray between Rabbi Jack (Baltaxe) and his father, which sets in motion the early discovery of visions that support more of the source.

Killer Sofa is a puzzling one. In spite of its reasonable production value, it creates the impression (at least externally) that it brandishes all the elements of a second-rate B-movie that you can have fun with when you want to turn your brain off, but alas. Unfortunately, it’s conservative beyond belief and with the exclusion of some stylish lighting, fine camera work, and a couple of pretty girls, it’s just not the romp most will be wanting and hoping for. If the concept sounds intriguing and you’d rather see something non-sensical but taken more seriously with detail and purpose you might get something from Killer Sofa that I couldn’t. On the other hand, if you’re looking for the more absurd and bloody extravaganza I’d definitely recommend something else. You can check out the trailer below and the film will be available in October.

Killer Sofa – 3.5/10

Scooter (Review) When the going gets tough, friendships are tested…

SCOOTER

THE SETUP

Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to October Coast PR and Traveling Dog Films for allowing me early access to an online screener of the Drama/Thriller film “Scooter”, Written and Directed by Matthew Wohl. Scooter presents as found footage and revolves around popular Miami YouTubers, “The Three Amigos” as they travel 800+ miles across the country on 50cc scooters as part of a group challenge. Will, the self-proclaimed leader of the trio (played by Joshua Zimmerman) eventually clashes with Paul (Dondre Tuck) after an error in judgment at a mermaid park, and Juan (first timer Stephan Pineda) finds himself playing devil’s advocate. Things only get worse for them on the first night when they witness a violent crime. The film also stars Mitch Lemos, Rachel Comeau, and Brett P. Carson.

Scooter is a mostly POV (point of view) style chronicle of events and it’s one that comes with the same cliche disclaimers and redacted cuts we’ve come to expect from footage in the found footage sub-genre. This is Wohl’s first full-length feature and he does his best to present us with semi-interesting characters who have outgoing personalities and adventurous drive. The pacing is generally quite good, the audio consistently clear, and the camera footage made up of a nice assortment of angles. The shots are mostly steady, and the addition of some drone footage elevates what could’ve otherwise been a fairly average production value. The history within the dynamics of the Three Amigos feels natural, and each of the performances is decent irrespective of two out of the three actors having had no previous experience. There’s a cliff notes introduction to the Millenials and their social media accomplishments thus far, helping you in a quick get to you know type phase. From there, the film has a few funny moments, namely the banter and scenes of the guys racing each other on mini tricycle’s. When things go up a gear (pardon the pun) though, Scooter feels like it’s lacking in intensity.

The camera does get a little bouncy in the third act, which given what transpires, shouldn’t come as any great surprise. The trio is supposedly heading cross country but you can tell quite clearly that the whole thing takes place in Florida (though it sort of fits the timeline). I really couldn’t get into Ray Fernandez’s erroneous score which consists of what mostly sounds like bad and repetitive “hold music”. The drama kind of hinges on the bond between the three guys and unfortunately the interpersonal stuff is rather threadlike and forgettable. There’s a significant feud that develops between Paul and Will over Will’s impromptu sexual interlude with a mermaid park employee. I didn’t really think it warranted such commotion. That particular absurdity only further highlighted after the group’s unfazed reaction to actually seeing something truly concerning. The crime portion of the film could’ve been better and more suspensefully handled instead of the rushed bumbling reveal that ultimately materializes. Surely once you’ve seen something violent take place you’d get the hell out of there? Even if it was night and it meant leaving some of your belongings behind, after all, it’s a matter of life and death. On the surface, things appear as though they’re on the upturn once the Sheriff enters the fold. However, Lemos’s interpretation of the figurehead isn’t so much the strong and silent type I’d hoped would impact in a more subtle way, but rather the overtly motor-mouthed townie with a small mind and plans to rid the place of the lowest common denominator. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t just shoot the drone down if he was worried about evidence? I was longing for some much-needed desperation from the Amigos amidst the climax, but I think some indecisive writing and raw acting stifled the likelihood of that component – that was a bit of a shame.

Scooter is a solid debut feature-length film from Matthew Wohl. With an adequate premise, serviceable technical aspects, and mindful pacing of which unfolds in a swift 72-minute runtime, it reminded me a little of another micro-budget film called “Shades” *see review* https://adamthemoviegod.com/shades-review/. Scooter is never boring and the actors do a fine job, it’s just a pity the writing lacks conviction and Matthew’s design of the antagonist wasn’t as compelling as it could’ve been. The music doesn’t do anything for the suspense of the piece and the emotional stakes don’t ever really hit the necessary beats to parallel when the going gets tough. Stilll, if you’re looking for a road trip film outside the parameters of a teen comedy or coming of age flick, I think Scooter’s certainly worth a look. Especially for those interested in independent filmmaking. You can check out the official trailer below! The film will be available in select theaters through September and October so stay tuned.

Scooter – 5.5/10

The Boat (Review) Alone at sea and out of control…

THE BOAT

THE SETUP

“The Boat” is a brand new Mystery/Thriller film produced by Latina Pictures and Hurricane Films and Co-Written and Directed by Winston Azzopardi. The Boat centers around an anonymous man (played by Co-Writer/Actor Joe Azzopardi) who while fishing, stumbles upon an abandoned sailboat and eventually becomes trapped on it. I’ve been wanting to circumnavigate these waters for a while now as the premise sounded intriguing. I’m quite fascinated with the mechanics of stories that involve minimal characters and locations. Wasn’t it Steven Spielberg who said don’t ever shoot a movie on water? Well, evidently, the Azzopardi pairing didn’t get that memo, or did and chose to sail on due north anyway… okay that’s quite enough of the nautical puns – now onto the review.

Azzopardi deep into the fog

It’s glaringly obvious from the opening tracking shot, in which our sailor leaves his domicile headed straight for a gaudy tinny and out to sea, that this film was going to boast the highest of production values. Polish DP, Marek Traskowski employs a number of really gorgeous shots on location in the waters of Malta, and when the film transitions into its controlled portion, Daniel Lapira’s tight edit ensures that it does so coherently. Footage on and around the boat looks superb. It puts you in the moment, but does so in a way that’s visually pleasing and doesn’t induce a headache. Through acute sound design and a moody score by Lachlan Anderson, Winston captures perfectly the endlessness of the ocean and the fear of isolation that one can imagine would come from being lost in the middle of it. Doing so by deploying severe changes in weather and atmosphere over the course of the ninety minutes. The man finds himself drifting into a heavy mist, then shortly thereafter taking in a beautiful blue sky ahead of what ultimately becomes a dire survival situation when a big storm hits.

The Boat can accurately be described as a slow-burn, but in actual fact, the pacing is much more fluent than perhaps that label would ordinarily suggest. Although you’re stuck with only one character and virtually no dialogue, things are never boring. The unnamed fisherman first hops aboard the sailboat to see if anyone’s actually on it and quickly discovers remnants of people. Before long, he realizes that his boat is gone and he’s stuck. From there, things just continue to get worse as he attempts to call for help, gets locked in the bathroom, and finds himself on a collision course with a shipping container. Azzopardi gives it his all in what’s clearly an emotionally and physically demanding role. Irrespective of some of his decision making, the character means well when he stumbles across the vessel and what he gets in return is nothing short of taxing. If you’ve ever been trapped before then you’ll certainly be able to relate to at least one particular helpless scenario Azzopardi winds up in. Not that you’d know it, but there’s also plenty of visual fx work that went into The Boat and it all looks very impressive. Weather changes are introduced seamlessly and the storm is impressive.

Some of the character’s decision making had me shaking my head more than a few times though, and that somewhat dented his credibility. A poor choice was made in not fastening his tinny to the larger sailboat, and after a previous lengthy battle with a door lock, he later lets a second door close behind him (clearly something you wouldn’t do again). He leaves a small window hatch open and pays the price when the storm hits, though I’m not sure why he didn’t just turn the snibs and shut it in order to stop the water flowing in? Fortunately, our sailor also shows some nous at times. Prior to nightfall and with arms outstretched through a hatch, he attempts to salvage some rope and a few bits and pieces to use. I was disappointed in his design for the rope, as I initially thought he was going to utilize the mast and strong wind and tie the rope to the bathroom door or its lock with the hopes of pulling it off the hinge, but alas. However, his resourcefulness does become more evident when he builds a makeshift raft encase of the need to abandon ship. On the other hand, he has a map and compass (I think?) yet can’t seem to get his bearings (I know I said no more puns but I couldn’t resist). The final ten or fifteen minutes of The Boat headed in the direction I figured it would, and it’s fittingly eerie, but with absent detailing of origins or methodology, you’re not left with a whole lot to extract. The duo of writers has clearly derived the machinations of this story around other-worldly mysteries from something like The Bermuda Triangle.

I had high expectations for The Boat and overall I think it’s risky filmmaking at its finest. Props must go to father and son and all those involved with the making of this film. It draws on the likes of Stephen King’s “Christine”, by way of a survival film like “All Is Lost” or the contained thriller “Dead Calm”. A nice mix of all three and melded by top-notch cinematography, effective sound design, and a great score. Joe’s one-man show is an achievement in an of itself and the fisherman’s plight kept me on the edge of my seat for the duration. There are a few weak patches of writing and active plot devices that are clearly introduced just to propel the narrative forward, that and the lack of a basic “why” regarding all of it probably hurts the end result to some extent. Still, if you’re a fan of these thrillers on the open sea I suggest you give The Boat a viewing because it’s one of the best there’s been for quite a while. The film is currently available on Amazon (the US only) and available on DVD from the 1st of October. You can check out the official trailer below!

The Boat – 7/10

My Fair Zombie (Review) You can’t teach an old zombie human tricks…

MY FAIR ZOMBIE

THE SETUP

2013’s “My Fair Zombie”, Written and Directed by Brett Kelly (Jurassic Shark and Murder In High Heels), comes to us courtesy of Camp Motion Pictures. It’s an independent Horror/Comedy/Musical set in an alternate early 1900’s England in the midst of a zombie outbreak. In a twist on the flower girl turn lady verdict of the infamous My Fair Lady, here, it’s the professor attempting to teach a zombie social etiquette with the hopes of turning her into a proper English lady. Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins (played by Lawrence Evenchick), wagers a bet with a colleague Colonel Pickering (Barry Caiger) that within a short period of time he’ll be able to teach Eliza Dolittle, a recently turned zombie (played by Sacha Gabriel), the in’s and out’s of lady protocol – humor and gore ensue. The film also stars Jennifer Vallance, Jason Redmond, Gabrielle MacKenzie, and Penelope Goranson.

Canadian-based Brett Kelly Entertainment has become synonymous with their DIY approach to independent filmmaking. Kelly has been working in the industry in one fashion or another for almost twenty years, writing and directing all types of films. From creature feature b-movie’s like “Raiders Of The Lost Shark” and “Attack Of The Giant Leeches”, to western’s such as “The Last Outlaw” and “Jesse James: Lawman”, he’s even ventured into exploitation and comedy over the journey. In addition, My Fair Zombie now serves to add “musical” to his repertoire, and whilst I haven’t exactly been a fan of all that I’ve seen from Kelly, I can still respect the ongoing grind in getting these projects off the ground. I think this period piece boasts the highest production value of any of Kelly’s other work (or at least what I’ve seen of it). Jeremy Kennedy’s camera work is simple in structure but consistently good, utilizing tripod still shots for the bulk of the character interaction. Moreover, audio levels are as clear as they’ve ever been, and Stephen John Tippet’s musical numbers are surprisingly colorful with hooky lyrical content to boot.

The minimalistic set design (on a budget) and authentic costumes both help sell the state of play, and the performances, by and large, are reliable and entertaining. In her first on-screen appearance, Sacha Gabriel exhibits an assurance of her surroundings and appears to know when and where Eliza’s theatrics are called for. However, it’s really the copious amounts of quickfire delivery between Evenchick and Caiger’s well-to-do gentlemen that make My Fair Zombie a pretty fun watch. The former has been a long-serving go-to for Kelly, having collaborated with him on a number of projects. I was most impressed by Lawrence’s ability to stay in character with his British accent, and the older Barry Caiger nails the colonel’s diction faultlessly. I’d wager that both of these actors have spent time in the theatre. As far as action goes, there isn’t a lot to be found here. There’s only really one extended moment involving some practical blood spray with Mrs. Pearce (Vallance), the caretaker. There’s a handful of gunshots that occur in the beginning and there’s a couple of frames showing a brain that looks suspiciously like red jello (haha).

My Fair Zombie is light on character and simple by design, and therefore even an 80-minute run-time feels like it’s been padded out a bit. The film lacks attention to detail in unusual places not necessarily gauged by budget constraints e.g the makeup fx and some of the set dressings. The zombie makeup is far too soft and the application looks to barely consist of contact lenses, eye shadow, and some foundation. Those who know their zombie content may be disappointed with the absence of cornerstones like prominent veins, discoloration, and the blood. There’s also no attempt made to age Eliza as she inevitably decomposes (or one would think). Forgotten specifics aren’t always a good look, such as no tea in the teacups when actors are supposed to be drinking. Some of the discourse feels a touch repetitive and the editing techniques are lacking a bit of dare that would have better suited this musical. Accents do waver from some of the secondary players at times, but that’s probably to be expected when the cast isn’t English. Unfortunately, the horror flavor is scarce because it ultimately takes a backseat to the comedy, which doesn’t hit home all that hard either.

I had no idea what to expect from My Fair Zombie, and if I’m honest, musicals as a whole have never really been my thing. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed this one and I think it’s probably Kelly’s most polished film. The cinematography is solid, the audio is sharp, and both the sets and costumes appear to be period accurate. Where the film is its strongest is in the three lead performances. I found the pairing of Higgins and Pickering quite entertaining with both actors possess good timing, and Gabriel turns in a fun physical performance. I think the below-par makeup fx and the forgotten particulars concerning several facets do hurt the film, so to some of the inconsistent acting from secondary characters. The pacing and edit are both guilty of being a bit casual and neither the horror or the comedy rise to any great heights. Still, if you’re a big fan of musicals or have a better knowledge of My Fair Lady than I, you’ll likely get even more out of the film. My Fair Zombie is now available to purchase online and you can check out the official trailer below!

My Fair Zombie – 6/10