Monday, October 12, 2020

Broil's Meaty Soup Barely Simmers: A Film Review

*full disclosure: a Blu-ray copy of this release was provided by Well Go USA.

Director: Edward Drake.

Writers: Edwards Drake and Piper Mars.

Cast: Jonathan Lipnicki, Avery Konrad, Lochlyn Munro, Timothy V. Murphy, Corey Large and Annette Reilly.

In the Greek play Oedipus Rex, Sophocles writes: "the pain we inflict upon ourselves hurt most of all.” And, there is more pain than pleasure in a viewing of Broil, unfortunately. From director Edward Drake and first time screenwriter Pipers Mars, these two filmmakers have put together a story of a demon coming-of-age, with the teenager Chance (Avery Conrad). Shot in Vancouver, B.C., the exterior scenes look great. However, the writers' attempt to create a Greek Tragedy with Broil mostly falls flat. The genre swings towards being a demonic family drama and this is not what this reviewer was hoping for. Also, Broil is sometimes strangely shot in a music video style. Finally, as the credits roll, Broil just fails to bring sharpened fangs to the screen.

Outside of Chance's coming-into her vampiric womanhood, the story involves a family reuniting for a blood sacrifice. Some of the family members are to be served up on a plate a-la Thyestes' sons in Seneca's play of the same name. However, the long, slow hobble to get there takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. In the meantime, there is an autistic chef to sour scenes, with his flat affect. A flurry of action takes place late in this picture. But, by this time some viewers may have already rested their eyes, or moved onto something else.

Not Sure What is Happening in this Scene.
Co-writers Edwards Drake and Piper Mars have likely gone way back for their script material - Greek Tragedy. You can see elements of Oedipus Rex here as the patriarch inappropriately kisses his daughter, with passion and in an incestuous way. Don't ask who Oedipus marries in this disturbing fifth century play! Later, characters consume a family member as their cannibalism emerges, much like Atreus serves his brother, Thyestes, his own children - in another gruesome play. A daughter is sacrificed (think Agamemnon and Iphigenia). And, the film even mentions "Greek Tragedy" in one scene. So, the writers are sourcing quality material here; it is just the execution that fails, on a couple of levels.

The film is hard to classify in genre. While the source material is mostly clear, the film plays out somewhat like a family drama. Cousins and daughters and fathers bicker amongst themselves. The daughter, Chance, is confused by her parent's action, likely just as much as the viewer. Partially a horror film, the characters act in deviant ways, but there is no real terror or tension here. This viewer was hoping for a few more surprises or twists. But, the film mostly settles for family infighting (in cinema, or otherwise), which is rarely entertaining.

Finally, director Drake has seen a few too many music videos. Initially, there is a scene where Chance is at a party. The music and lighting are well done. But, these scenes grow tiresome and even slow the already near non-moving plotline down - significantly. Another music video scene plays out during dinner, with characters devouring human meat and it just breaks up the pacing too much. Drake is still developing his craft. But, music videos inside of a film are rarely a great way to shoot action, in this viewer's opinion.

Broil released on Digital way back in the summer (July). Now, Well Go USA is bringing a DVD and Blu-ray to audiences during Spook-tober (October 13th). The film is sourced from the best; but, the actual film does not play out in an effective, nor affective way. Almost all of the characters are unlikeable. And, the repetitive dinner scenes become a drain over time. Part music video and part family drama, Broil's story is mostly skin and bone.

Overall: 6 out of 10.

Broil at the Well Go USA website, with more details: Broil at Well Go USA

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