A snappily written Brit/Aussie co-production that happily juggles the humour of both cultures, Two Heads Creek is a fun frolic of a lightweight horror, pitching itself as a slightly rosier spin on the black comedy of Severance and The Cottage. And while it might not quite prove to be as laugh-out-loud memorable as either of the above, some well-placed heart and a focus on family helps to keep things sunny enough to weather the cringier stretches.
Things kick off in a decidedly racist post-Brexit Britain, with mismatched twins Annabelle (Kathryn Wilder) and Norman (Jordan Waller – who also wrote the script) cutting ties from their apparently false Polish routes, following the death of their adoptive mother. Craving more from their stunted lives (as a failed actor and struggling butcher respectively), the pair head Down Under in search of their long-lost birth mother, only to wash up in the off-grid Two Heads Creek – a borderline shantytown ruled by toothless locals and a deep, dark, meaty secret.
A huge amount of the film’s humour comes from the sort of fish-out-of-water set-ups you can imagine might sprout from such a plot. And while director Jesse O’Brien’s stylish hold on the comedy at times echoes a cheaper Edgar Wright, the slapstick pacing and pantomime performances do start to grate quite quickly.
Waller in particular is an earthy, likeable lead, and Wilder’s wildly unapologetic, laxative-peddling “drama-queen” packs enough punch to win over a game audience. But it’s the supporting cast that are a little too in-your-face mad, even after Waller’s script takes a predictable turn towards the obscenely gruesome half-way in. While a decked-out, platinum blonde sheila warbling into a severed penis as a microphone is funny, the small army of literally hopping mad locals surrounding her aren’t so much, and by the time O’Brien starts dispensing the fire hoses of fake blood, there’s no real discernible sense of danger (or really any punchlines) left in sight. Just crazy locals, doing crazy shit, because they’re crazy.
And by its third-act, Two Heads Creek is just about getting by, doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing – cheap humour and buckets of latex goo – without much fire left in its veins. A fairly ominous swing towards human trafficking goes a bit too undisturbed, and when all is said and done, Waller’s script ties things up tightly, but a bit too cleanly considering just how hard the finale tries to go. For all its welcome rosiness and family-driven character arcs, it’s never quite willing to go the emotional distance too, perfectly happy in simply slapping everybody together and that being the end of it.
It’s fun and (yes) fairly harmless for an 85-minute horror comedy, but there’s not enough meat on Two Heads Creek’s bones to chew on for long after the credits have rolled. Some decent jokes and dressy camera-work will keep most genre fans in check, but it’s unlikely to top many lists or make too much of a splash beyond that.
Two Heads Creek was screened as part of Arrow Video FrightFest’s Digital Edition 2020.