Review by Ryan Unger
“Sometimes, there is simply no clinical explanation for why a person is completely bat shit. The old noodle is fried…period.” This is apparently a quote from Jack the Ripper’s first cousin Jim, and it opens the movie Gravy, a macabre indie flick about cannibals. The premise is straightforward: Three flesh-eating lunatics hold a group of friends hostage one Halloween night in a cantina and commit gruesome acts of violence. While this may sound like a recipe for horror it’s actually a very dark comedy, and it works.
The biggest name in the movie is Sarah Silverman, although she gets very little screen time. She is in the opening scene and the final scene, bookending the film with her odd sense of humor. Another actress people will recognize is Academy Award nominee Gabourey Sidibe from her role in the movie Precious, who now plays a tough-as-nails security guard. The rest of the lesser known actors all do their jobs playing the terrified victims of the cannibals. It’s the three cannibals—brothers Anson and Stef, and Mimi, Stef’s girlfriend—that make the film a comedy. Their dynamic is hilarious; although psychotic at their core, they seem slightly incompetent which almost makes the viewer side with them out of pity. The leader of the pack, Stef (played by Jimmi Simpson, who viewers will recognize as Liam McPoyle from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), has a sharp tongue and a dry sense of humor that makes for amusing dialogue throughout.
The plot of Gravy is easy to follow with no real twists or turns along the way. It’s a straightforward “hostages-get-tortured” formula peppered with twisted jokes and plenty of gore; there’s beheadings, stabbings and extreme disfigurements. As the film progresses, the victims start thinking of way to escape their predicament but, unfortunately, all attempts end in failure and lead to the increased displeasure of the cannibals. I won’t reveal what the outcome of the movie is, but I will say it leaves room for a potential sequel in case the director wants to continue the Gravy saga.
Gravy is a movie for people who enjoy sick humor. The over-the-top violence gradually builds throughout and leads up to a blood-soaked climax. The death scenes are brutal, but they have a goofy comic feel which make them less upsetting to watch. The soundtrack is fun, upbeat and never truly fits the action onscreen, but the contrast between horrific violence and feel-good tunes never gets old. The plot is simple and most of the acting is satisfactory at best (besides Jimmi Simpson, who is great), but nobody goes into a movie like Gravy for Oscar-worthy performances; they go to laugh and cringe, and Gravy will have you doing plenty of both.
Open in cinemas (Los Angeles and New York) on October 2 and arrives on national home entertainment shelves, Digital HD and On-Demand everywhere October 6.
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