Script: Christopher Smith, James Moran
Cast: Andy Nyman, Babou Ceesay, Claudie Blakley, Danny Dyer, David Gilliam, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny, Toby Stephens
Rated : 6 Stars
A lot of the marketing around this film is comparing it to Shaun of the Dead, and if you enjoyed that you will Probably enjoy this too. It shares the same sense of humour with a wonderful amount of death and gore.
Palisade Defence are sending a team of employees on a team-building weekend away after they’ve been touring around Eastern Europe building up the market and developing products. Or doing something, what exactly isn’t important, just that they are in the middle of nowhere when their bus driver gets in a bit of a mood and dumps them at the side of the road. Straight away, manager Richard decides they’ll continue on foot. After all the lodge they are heading for can’t be that far away, can it? Only an inch on the map, although they don’t have any clue about the scale.
Along the way Steve thinks he sees something in the woods. A man, in a balaclava, and carrying a suitcase. Make that a hold-all. But then again, he may just be tripping as did consume some magic mushrooms on the bus.
Eventually the team reach the lodge, and it certainly isn’t the “luxury” lodge they’d been hoping for. Although there is a pie! but the pie also contains a tooth. A bit put out by this fact the group head to bed. Only to be woken by Jill’s screams. She saw a man at her window, wearing a balaclava. No one is seen when the others investigate, but the next morning they decide to leave anyway.
Things aren’t so easy as they soon discover, what with their bus driver turning up dead, and Gordon losing a leg in a bear-trap. And things only get worse.
I really enjoyed this film. Plenty of blood and death, with a nice menacing atmosphere. But also some lovely humour thrown in. Dyer is perfect as Steve, the slightly clichéd “cheeky chappy”out for a good time. And more importantly the comedy aspects don’t overshadow the horror, nor does the reverse happen. You just don’t know what’ll be next; wincing in horror as someone gets knifed or laughing as Steve tries to fit a leg in the fridge to keep it cool. The script also plays a little with the usual horror conventions. The infamous “I’ll be right back” line gets used, as does the whole killing the baddie only to still be in huge trouble.
We also had the origin story of the film’s baddie. Or a few versions as the characters sit around wondering what the lodge was used for they swap conspiracy stories. They do work for an arms-manufacturing company after all, there are plenty of rumours about Eastern European operations.
And all of the cast deliver, Nyman’s overly-eager to please Gordon, McInnerny as the ineffectual manager, Stephen’s as the more practical, almost unpleasant Harris.
Funny and scary, check it out.