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  Eat Local Blood Group
Year: 2017
Director: Jason Flemyng
Stars: Charlie Cox, Freema Agyeman, Billy Cook, Mackenzie Crook, Tony Curran, Dexter Fletcher, Eve Myles, Vincent Regan, Nick Moran, Nicholas Rowe, Ruth Jones, Tine Stapelfeldt, Annette Crosbie, Ben Palmiero, Robert Portal, Lukaz Leong, Jordan Long
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sebastian (Billy Cook) is in for a Hell of a night, but as far as he is concerned, when he shows up at this remote rural location he is going to have an evening of fun with an attractive older lady who has been courting him for a while. What he does not know is that Vanessa (Eve Myles) has belonged to a vampire hierarchy for some time, and they are gathering at a farmhouse nearby because a small matter of one of their number breaking the rules has arisen. The head vampires across the country have each decided on which practice will sustain them, and that means not drawing too much attention to themselves - don't feed on and kill children, basically. So what should they do when a bloodsucker does precisely that?

It's Night of the Living Dead with the monsters under siege, as actor Jason Flemyng's directorial debut joined the ranks of British low budget horror movies, a genre that had been booming ever since the turn of the millennium. Not that the results were not often mixed, to say the least, but every so often some filmmakers would find inspiration struck and they delivered a neat little shocker with promise, or skill, or both: call it the Shaun of the Dead effect, but it seemed everyone with access to a film crew and a love of horrors wanted to have a go themselves. Naturally it was a little lazy to identify that Edgar Wright movie as the inception point, for anything from 28 Days Later to Dog Soldiers had a hand in this renaissance.

As the title of this suggested, there was a sense of humour at work in Eat Local (the poster added a letter S to the end of that), but much of it was unexpectedly sincere and serious-minded, particularly in its opening quarter hour as it established its plot and characters, including the soldiers who are gathering around the farmhouse. Those troops have gotten wind of this council of the undead head honchos, and intend to wipe them out once and for all to remove their blight from the land, leaving the audience in a state of uncertainty as to who we were meant to be supporting here, as vampires had gained a certain cachet in pop culture and here that appeared to have been carried over in Danny King's screenplay, leaving us respecting them if not sympathising.

The fact that they execute the member of their group who has done the unspeakable must count for something, one presumes, as they may be monsters but they're not perverts (one may quibble at the ill-specified definitions here), though this does result in a space at the table they wish Sebastian, who has an attractive (to them) bloodline, to fill by turning him into one of them. He is understandably reluctant, and it seems the rest of the movie will be a cat and mouse around the cottage and its environs as we see if he can elude them, but if anything, Flemyng and company overcomplicated what could have been a straightforward chase 'em up chiller. After a while, you would either be going with the over-egging of the pudding or rejecting it, but if you wished for something ambitious on slender means, this was valid.

Certainly Flemyng had called in some favours for his efforts, as evinced by that cast which if it did not include any megastars exactly, assuredly featured a bunch of recognisable faces from British film and television. Obviously Doctor Who fans were going to be interested to see Freema Agyeman and Eve Myles share the screen, more so than Primeval fans were to see the director's endeavours as a creative force, it had to be said, but as well as them vamping it up Daredevil himself Charlie Cox was playing one of those ambiguous creatures too, as was the, in hindsight, appropriately titled for this One Foot in the Grave star Annette Crosbie, here getting a scene reminiscent of Richard Briers in Cockneys vs Zombies when she toted a machine gun. In truth, Flemyng and King littered their work with references to other movies (including Zulu, pertinently) which was more distracting than they intended, but that mishmash quality was by no means detrimental for what was not going to join the pantheon of its genre favourites, but had a can-do attitude that was engaging. Music by James Seymour Brett (with the regulation out of place pop song oldie present and correct).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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