★★★ out of ★★★★★
Filmed entirely in Hertfordshire, England, this charming vampire flick starts slowly, but saves itself with an action-filled second act and a thoroughly satisfying ending.
Directed by Jason Flemyng
Though they may have jumped the undead shark about a decade ago (yes, I’m looking at you, ya sparkly Twilight bastards), vampires are still alive and kickin’. So to speak. They tend to show up in horror/comedies these days, but that kind of thing goes in cycles. We’ll have funny vamps for a while until someone gives them their fangs back like Robert Eggers’ The Witch (2015) and The Pierce Brothers’ The Wretched (2019) did for witches. Not that witches have fangs. Gave them their wicked back? Well, you get the idea.
In Jason Flemyng’s directorial debut, Eat Locals, all eight of Britain’s vampires are meeting at a remote farmhouse — as they do every 50 years — to hash out any territorial disputes, mete out discipline as required, and just generally chat about the state of all things vampirey. On this particular evening, however, they’ll be joined by guests both invited and surprise.
The invited guest, a young lad from Essex named Sebastian Crockett [Billy Cook; Trespass Against Us (2016)], thinks he’s there for a fun weekend alone with an older woman. As it turns out, his friend Vanessa [Eve Myles; TV’s Keeping Faith (2017 – 2019)] might have left out a few details when she asked Sebastian to join her.
The surprise guests, on the other hand, know full well why they’re there. As a crack team of Special Forces vampire hunters, they’ve been waiting for just such a chance and they’re ready to make them bloodsuckers pay! Hoo-rah.
Or, at least, that’s the idea.
Eat Locals starts out a bit on the slow side. Slow and somewhat confusing, to be honest. I’m not exactly sure what writer Danny King was aiming for with all the initial running through the woods, but I don’t think he hit whatever it was. However, if you can temper your viewing with a little patience, you’ll be rewarded with a great horror/comedy/action movie mashup.
All of the main actors are industry veterans and do a fantastic job. In fact, if you’re a fan of Doctor Who, you’re already familiar with:
- Freema Agyeman [Doctor Who (2006 – 2010)]
- Annette Crosbie [Doctor Who (2010)]
- Tony Curran [Doctor Who (2010)]
- Eve Myles [Doctor Who (2005 – 2008)]
Not a member of the Doctor Who Fandom? Then how about this: Eat Locals is also the very first time the original cast from Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) have been reunited. Actors Dexter Fletcher and Nick Moran are once again in front of the camera. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Jason Flemyng has traded his acting hat for the director’s chair and shark puncher extraordinaire, Jason Statham [The Meg (2018)], is showing them all how it’s done as the film’s 2nd Unit Fight Director.
The special effects are simple, but well done. The nice thing about vampires — from a special effects standpoint — is that they just look like regular people most of the time. Easy peasy! With a budget in the neighborhood of $1.5 million, though, the filmmakers didn’t have to do as much corner cutting as we often see in our favorite genre. Most of the effects are practical which is always a nice touch. There were a few added in during post-production, but never to an annoying degree.
And, aside from the film’s somewhat awkward beginning, the writing for Eat Locals settles down nicely and provides some decent tension coupled with a few good chuckles; often of the dry, English variety. Billy Cook (playing Sebastian Crockett) gets the lion’s share of the funny stuff and, perhaps consequently, shines as the most charismatic of the bunch.
While it might not be the deepest, most thought-provoking movie in the world and it doesn’t free vampires from their current comedy/horror pigeon hole, Eat Locals is a charming slice of vampire action.
Eat Locals is currently streaming on iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, and several other platforms.
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Review by Robert Zilbauer.