The UK has a long and rich history when it comes to homegrown horror, from The Omen and The Wicker Man to Shaun of the Dead and Eden Lake. It’s always refreshing when a new film scampers into cinemas, plucky and defiant in the face of yet another American film about an evil doll or a nefarious poltergeist. Of course, for every Dog Soldiers or Under the Skin, there’s bound to be a decent number of disappointments. Eat Locals is sadly one of them.
A low-budget vampire flick set in Wales, it’s actor Jason Flemyng’s first foray into directing (you might know him from Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or X-Men: First Class). Written by horror author Danny King, who previously worked on Wild Bill with Dexter Fletcher, the story concerns a coven of vampires who meet for their twice-a-century gathering to…discuss vampire things? It’s never really explained what the purpose of the meeting is. They argue about their territory, and await the arrival of a particularly vampy vampire called Vanessa, who’s brought along a new recruit. Unfortunately, they’re not alone – there’s a crack team of soldiers honing in on their location, and come the morning, there will be bloodshed. Unfortunately, Eat Locals just falls completely flat.
Despite boasting an impressive cast of British talent including Doctor Who and Torchwood alumni Freema Agyeman and Eva Myles, and Daredevil himself Charlie Cox, the story is convoluted and the jokes unoriginal. It’s difficult to root for any of the characters as you never really get to know them, and baffling subplots emerge even right up until the credits.
The concept in itself seems to borrow heavily from Dog Soldiers and Kiwi vampire flick What We Do in the Shadows, but it doesn’t bring enough to the table itself to really establish itself as a credible comedy-horror. The special effects are naff, the characters are boring, and we’ve seen it all before, and done much better too. A vampire film without any bite, Eat Locals is sadly one best avoided.
Eat Locals is released on September 1st.