Starring: Jacob Anderson, Sophie Stuckey, Adam Deacon, Jessica Barden, Calum MacNab, Duane Henry, Geoff Bell,
Running Time: 90 Minutes
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Extras: Behind The Scenes, Extended Interviews
‘From The Director Of KIDULTHOOD’ aren’t exactly a set of words that inspire confidence when approaching a film. This is yet another British take on a well-worn genre that adds very little to rules and events set out many years before. COMEDOWN sees a group of youths trapped inside a derelict tower block who get taken out of the equation one by one.
The film begins like a spiritual successor to KIDULTHOOD. We are introduced to a bunch of incredibly unlikable characters that seem hell bent on having us hate them. Possibly a technique used to make the kills more gratifying later on, it also serves as a distancing device as we try our hardest to connect with these characters.
The opening sees our protagonist just out of prison, another character admits to burning and killing a number of pet pigeons (perhaps the loudest instance of Chekov’s Gun in recent memory), and a pregnant girl who will gladly sit between and close to two friends which are smoking. Yep, looks as though I’ll be cheering on the killer.
It’s a shame about the characters really because the actors all do an excellent job at creating a rapport with each other. No matter how unlikable, this is a believable gang of friends. Their care and worry for one another and their arguments seem to come from a genuine place. Unlike many horror films that will try and fit in as many contrasting archetypes as possible, COMEDOWN would rather have its central unit be a believable one.
The film offers nothing new for the slasher/horror genre itself. You can probably predict the survivors very early on, and there are very few twists to grab your interest. With no sense of mystery, and characters we want to see fried, we’re taken through the motions with the occasional treat of some fairly brutal violence and one terrifying moment for anyone with a fear of enclosed spaces and heights.
The building itself becomes a frightening antagonist, and it’s easy to see how it becomes a labyrinthian death trap. What is a bit less understandable is the killer’s teleportation abilities. He can appear anywhere at anytime, as long as the script calls for it. This means he must be doing a hell of a lot of running up and down stairs to make sure he revisits his captives, but at least he enjoys his role as a murderer. He arms himself with some nifty gadgets and has decorated his abode with red tinted light bulbs, just to remind you of how evil he is and how unwelcome you are.
I certainly didn’t hate COMEDOWN but I’m just disappointed with it. It’s so well assembled, with excellent cinematography, gorgeous shots of the London skyline, some snazzy and grotesque practical effects, and well delivered performances, that had it had the balls to try something new or exciting, it would have been a very wise investment.