Eat Locals, 2017.
Directed by Jason Flemyng.
Starring Charlie Cox, Freema Agyeman, Mackenzie Crook, Tony Curran, Eve Myles, Ruth Jones, Annette Crosbie, Vincent Regan, Nick Moran, and Dexter Fletcher.
Facing difficult times and with their glory days long gone, the eight undisputed British vampire overlords gather up for their semi-centennial meeting. However, before the break of dawn, there will be blood. And corpses. Lots of them.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was a career launching pad for a number of its stars. Notably it made Guy Ritchie the hippest director out of the UK in many years, further cemented with the follow-up release, Snatch. It gave Vinnie Jones an acting career and introduced the world to Jason Statham. Producer Matthew Vaughn has since overtaken Ritchie as a director, on account of his ability to do films that are decent. A skill for Ritchie that seemingly burned up with Ma’s caravan in Snatch. It’s also worth noting that a number of the Lock, Stock cast have all subsequently turned their hand to directing. Nick Moran had some success directing Telstar: The Joe Meek story and The Kid (which starred the new Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker). Dexter Fletcher turned from jobbing character actor to acclaimed director with the fantastic Wild Bill and the impossible to dislike crowd pleaser, Eddie the Eagle.
Now it’s the turn of Jason Flemyng. As opposed to starting in crime or drama he’s opted for horror comedy. The Ritchie/Vaughn connections continue as he’s able to call upon Moran and Fletcher in his support cast, as well as procure the services of Charlie Cox as the lead in a film which is likely to bypass theatres (aside from perhaps a token limited release around the capital). Cox and Flemyng both appeared together in Matthew Vaughn’s fantasy, Stardust. It’s good to have mates you can pull in. It also gives the cast list a level of gravitas that might otherwise escape a film of this genre and budget level. You can further add Vincent Regan to that list and Mackenzie Crook. It’s an impressive cast list.
The film sees the eight undisputed vampire overlords coming together for their once in half a decade meeting. Difficult times are abound, only complicated by the appearance of the blissfully unaware Essex boy Sebastian and a group of Special Forces vampire hunters (with unclear motives). Blood and carnage ensues. That’s as far as the story goes. It’s simple to say the least. Not necessarily a bad thing. The major remit of the film is to have fun.
As you would expect, given the cast and the director involved, everyone has fun here. The film has Annette Crosbie toting a machine gun. That should be the film’s poster. Then you’ll know without question what you’re in for. Billy Cook, as Sebastian is the lead of the film. Coming in as an unknown with a cast of established actors can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand you have that quality to fall back on. The flipside of course, is the danger you get consumed by gravitas. Cook ably holds his own as the cheeky chappy, Sebastian and manages not to overplay him into levels of annoyance. Charlie Cox, fresh off his Daredevil success could have turned up and coasted but he’s very good. Oozing easy charm and charisma. The others, including Crosbie, Tony Curran and Dexter Fletcher all enjoy themselves.
The film lacks any depth. It’s unapologetically escapist with no attempts at offering anything else other than some light-hearted comedy horror. We’re not talking Shaun of the Dead by any stretch, but it’s all good fun. Flemyng is lightly touching the wheel of a vehicle that is blessed with very good cruise control. He does a fine job but given the budget of the film and the plotline, this sort of thing is usually a lot less blessed with such an impressive cast. They elevate things more than the direction but saying that, everything behind the camera is fine. Although the best sequence, which seems like it’s been jammed in from another, is a cracking one take fight sequence which was directed by Jason Statham. Again, it’s nice to have mates in high places I suppose.
Eat Locals is a jovial and passable escape. It won’t linger too long in the memory but the sense of enjoyment from everyone is clear and it certainly benefits from luxuries afforded to it for having Flemyng behind the camera.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★