Well, it’s been a long time coming for the release of the Swedish made Horror/Comedy film “American Burger”, co-directed by Johan Bromander and Bonita Drake. I have been following the film for almost a year and this week it was released to VOD worldwide and the online screener can also be purchased from the film’s website. American Burger tells the story of a group of young American high school kids on a bus trip sightseeing in Europe. On board you have the jocks, the cheerleaders and of course the nerds along with the caretaker teacher. After stopping at a burger stand in the middle of nowhere the class decide to do a tour of the “American Burger” factory. They meet the demented butcher (played by Fredrik Hiller) and discover that they are soon to become part of the fresh new batch of burgers. Nerds get paired with Jocks, Teachers stumble upon strangers in cabins and the Preppy guy and his fat friend aim to survive and score with the ladies and have the best summer ever!
The film stars Lena Bengtson, Madeleine Borg, Benjamin Brook, Liam Macdonald and Aggy Kukawka along with many more. It’s problematic when you go into a film with pre-conceived notions of what you’re going to get because often you are left with that disappointed feeling one has after watching a film involving Jesse Eisenberg. Sadly American Burger left me with a bad aftertaste.
I was originally drawn into the idea of this film because of its fun, albeit unoriginal story of a madman feeding unsuspecting tourists burgers made out of American flesh (think Motel Hell and any countless other films). Combine the story with the cool artwork and the fun trailer and you are on your way to a successful end result. But the film opens with a rather dull introduction where a crazy chef is shooting some kind of ad for his American Burger franchise. Even though this film is a Horror/Comedy I found the scene very unnecessary. I think the audience can assume at some point the demented chef will appear and instead it should have opened with a gory kill sequence to get the ball rolling. However, the intro credits are really awesome they combine a unique and diverse score with some well illustrated drawings of some of the characters and scenes from the movie. The technical aspects like the camera work and audio are equally as impressive but with the estimated budget of a couple of million dollars I would expect nothing less.
The location choice and cinematography holds up against some of the best films this year in any genre. The heavily wooded areas are a luscious green and make for some wonderful backdrops. The music and score as I mentioned earlier were fantastic. It cuts between a score that is very American and patriotic and the next it’s like an Action/Thriller chase film. I enjoyed the fact that the characters don’t really have names that was a nice touch. The entire film is a cliché (on purpose), so why not keep with the stereotypes when it works. The action sequences and the blood were good but both were few and far between. Not much thought went into the blood it would mostly just shoot out when victims were being attacked which is okay but not great.
It could have just been my high hopes for this film but I don’t think the necessary ingredients were there to make a great Horror film nor a great Comedy. The campy over the top and or underplayed acting (depending on how you see it), works some of the time but when your trying to create a scene of suspense you have to be a little more serious. Most of the cast don’t have a lot of experience so I can forgive that but what I can’t forgive is the terrible accents of those who are supposed to be American kids! I don’t understand why the crew didn’t cast actual Americans…. Seriously there are English people in this and Liam Macdonald was born in my hometown of Adelaide, South Australia and the worst thing of all is that 80 percent of the cast is European and they are playing Americans but don’t even sound remotely American! I mean what the hell??!!
If you can look past the issues galore with the nationalities and accents of this entire cast you won’t be able to look past the clunky dialogue and the lack of any standout aspect. From a gore point of view there aren’t any impressive kills and nothing in the film’s short running time even resembles anything close to a prosthetic effect. It’s not like this crew didn’t have the budget to set up a few “Tucker and Dale vs Evil” style gags, they just didn’t care and didn’t bother. There are no weapons other than a few knives and machetes and the fighting choreography is pretty amateurish. From a comedy point of view it’s mostly guy talk about European fetishes and getting laid while on vacation. It’s the type of humour that won’t appeal to anyone over the age of 15 and can be likened to the emotional maturity of those that enjoyed this year’s “Bad Neighbours” (some were older than 15 roles eyes…)
American Burger doesn’t excel in the Horror department and it’s not anywhere witty or clever enough to being a successful Comedy which leaves it nowhere. I really built this one up and it’s probably my own fault for doing that but damn. Don’t worry folks It’s not all bad, it has a fast running time of just 72 minutes so I think it’s worth a look if you have nothing to watch. It’s got some decent blood and a few scenes worthy of a chuckle but sadly not even the sexy Madeleine Borg showing her bare booty due to lack of underwear can make this worthy of a second viewing… well I dunno… haha.. maybe.
My rating for “American Burger” is 4.5/10