It's Halloween night. A trio of costumed misfits with very special dietary requirements invades a Mexican cantina and forces the staff to engage in a late night of gluttony. The only caveat is what's on the menuand who will survive until morning!
In the film, GRAVY, it's Halloween night, and Chuy, and his employees at Raoul's Mexican cantina are throwing a going away party for Kerry, after hours, as she is going off to another job. However, before the party can kick off, they are interrupted by 3 mysterious strangers; brothers, Anson and Stef, along with Stef's girlfriend, Mimi. Like the staff at Raoul's the three are dressed in Halloween costumes, but they did not come to partake in the festivities already on hand, as they have plans of their own. As it turns out, they are a trio of cannibals, who plan to eat their victims, but not before some fun and games. Games, which include a round of the popular, "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. However, in the meantime, the staff at the cantina hope to come up with a plan of escaping the night of madness, as they watch as their friends, and co-workers are fried up and baked up in a variety of different dishes.
Halloween season is here, which means, just as every year, a number of different Halloween themed films are being released. Actor James Roday's Directorial debut, GRAVY is one such film. Here, Roday, the star of TV's PSYCH, who co-wrote the film with Todd Harthan, has gathered a number of his friends to create a film that is equal parts Horror and Comedy, which uses All Hallows eve as the perfect backdrop for a night of carnage(as well as laughs).
Yes, there are a number of Horror Comedy films out there, but not all of them blend the two styles perfectly and seamlessly. Most of the time we usually get more of one and less of the other. But when it comes to GRAVY, i'd have to say that there is a pretty even amount of both Horror and Comedy within. The first half of the film is pretty much on point and solid. I was actually pretty surprised at how fun it was, seeing as the film's trailer raised no interest in me. But, the film does indeed take off with a bang. It's fun stuff. However, usually when a film takes off with such momentum, the question becomes, "will it be able to maintain it for the long haul". Will it still be as fun, as it nears the end, as it was in the beginning? GRAVY is a film that just so happens to struggle to achieve this throughout. Because after its initial half hour, it loses some of its comedic flare in favor of more one-on-one dialogue between characters, as well as separate, character related vignettes. In my opinion, these things slow down the film's quickly progressing momentum. At the mid-way point, things just aren't as fun anymore, however there is a plus side. Because between these things which slow the film's pace, there are still many great moments, as well as many funny lines of dialogue, to both see and hear, resulting in a film, that as a whole, that is still very enjoyable.
One of the best things about GRAVY are its lively set of characters. And bringing them to life are a number of easily recognizable faces. Firstly, the film's villains; a set of 3 cannibals who go out on the prowl, each and every Halloween looking for a "feast". They are brothers "Anson" and "Stef", as well as his girlfriend, "Mimi". They are portrayed by Michael Weston, Jimmi Simpson, and Lily Cole respectively. These 3 Actors have fun in their roles, it's obvious, and so, they are fun to watch. Weston and Simpson play well off of each other as a duo of quirky brothers, and Cole is a femme fatale, looking very cute in her black cat costume. And on the other side of things, among the staff of Raoul's are; Gabourey Sidibe. Paul Rodriguez(as "Chuy"), and Sutton Foster. A lot of the films focus eventually shifts to Foster's "Kerry" character, who is a strong female type in the end. She does a good job of becoming someone we can get behind over the course of the film. However, among the staff characters, Sidibe's "Winketta", is who I feel is most fun. There has been other times which Sidibe has been funny(like in TOWER HEIST), but I must say, that in this film, I found her really funny. But aside from the main cast, there are a few cameos as well, to be seen. Making an appearance as 2 ambulance drivers are the PSYCH duo of Director James Roday and Dule Hill, and as a convenience store clerk, whom Weston's character falls for, is the always great Comedienne, Sarah Silverman. But with that said, basically everyone involved works quite well as an ensemble, making GRAVY a mostly entertaining experience.
So, Overall, Roday turns out a fairly enjoyable film for his first time out, showing no first time jitters, I feel that the comedic overtones aided him in this, as comedy is something he is familiar with, as are most of the film's cast. As I said, the film gets off on a high note, only to stall a little midway, but beyond that, there are the additional moments in which it shines. Which in the end, ultimately outweighs the bad.
4.5/10 There are various things to be seen here, courtesy of KNB. Stuff like an arrow in the head, a disembowelment, severed limbs, multiple flesh wounds, and other things. Well it isn't as gory as one my think going in, there are some decent gore gags here.
7/10 Aside from a traditional suspense score, the film feautures a varying range of music tracks, ranging from indie Rock, to more well known hits such as "Walking on Sunshine"(by Katrina & The Waves), and I Just died in Your Arms Tonight(by Cutting Crew).
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
As I said above, when I watched the trailer for GRAVY, in order to get a feel for what to expect, it really did nothing for me, in terms of getting me hyped for it. In fact, I really wasn't looking forward to it. But there comes a time that a trailer isn't the best representation for a film. And this would indeed be one of those very times. As GRAVY is a lot more fun than its trailer makes it seem. While it does have a problem, in that its pace shifts midway through, it is still a good time, seeing as things do even out in the end. Had it been able to maintain the momentum that it built early on however, throughout, it would have been a much better film. But as is, GRAVY is still very much enjoyable, and I feel, it could easily became an annual, holiday viewing staple.
Special Features include :
- Audio Commentary With James Roday, Sutton Foster And Jimmi Simpson
- What Is Gravy? Featurette