Thursday, 20 May 2010

Necroville (2007)

I never really got the Jay and Silent Bob/Clerks thing. Sacrilege to many, I know, but despite being a quintessential under achieving product of Gen X (I blame Kurt Cobain) I just never got the joke. However, if Jay and Silent Bob had been a bit more like the boys from Necroville I might have appreciated them more.

Jack and Alex are BFFs. They’ve grown up together in the same small town and now work together in a video store and spend the vast majority of their time indulging in the appropriate level of BFF type banter. Alex is chubby and is surprising skilled with weaponry, Jack isn’t chubby but is inexplicably involved in a toxic relationship with obnoxious live-in girlfriend, Penny. For her part, Penny mostly sits round the house eating, smoking and whining, calling Jack to pick up cigarettes and food for her and waiting for money for massage classes in much the same way actors wait for Godot, she also likes to round out her days with a little more whining. Needless to say she’s a catch. They all live in the town of Necroville, near Albuquerque, New Mexico and things in Necroville have been going a bit downhill recently. Hordes of zombies mill freely through the streets and the town is also frequently besieged by werewolves and vampires and all manner of other supernatural entities and assorted goths also call it home. This is just part of everyday life in Necroville.

When Jack and Alex accidentally destroy the video store whilst wrangling with a zombie they find themselves unemployed and, for Jack, this does not go down well with his unpleasant, equally unemployed masseuse in waiting girlfriend. Fortunately the pair are not out of work too long as, after and impressive interview, they manage to secure positions with local supernatural exterminators Zom-B-Gone. The new position puts them in the role of exterminators. Now, for a nominal fee, they can set to work cleaning up this damn town and continue to indulge in their preferred manner of dilatory conversations. But, just as things were looking somewhat rosy for our slacker heroes, amid the zombie battling and monster slaying, a new danger saunters into town in the fey shape of Jack’s old martial arts nemesis, and coincidentally Penny’s ex-boyfriend, Clark, who just so happens to be a master vampire, and one of his nefarious, vampirey plans is to win Penny back. Apparently she is a catch.

Naturally the boys can’t be having this and what follows, between the liberal dispatching of monsters, is a personal journey of self discovery for the brow beaten Jack whereby he must finally face his own demons and prepare for the inevitable, and long time coming, showdowns with childhood nemesis and also vampire Clark and with his grasping succubus of a girlfriend Penny.

While there are many things wrong with Necroville; maybe it could have done with more scissor happy editor, the cast are clearly not actors and a lot of the humour is sabotaged by the delivery, the script seems, at times, self indulgent, there is a lot more that makes up for all that. Necroville may be low on production values but it is big on heart, infectiously enthusiastic and boasts some nifty gore effects. Despite the lack of budget the filmmakers capitalise on what they have and, in some cases, I found, what was lacking actually proved to be charming addition to the overall piece, for example there was something completely disarming about the badly made up werewolves with little blackened noses that I totally appreciated within the confines of this fictional universe. That fictional universe itself, in fact, another plus, it is surprisingly well realised with its streets teeming with the restless dead, innocuous suburban vampires, the homeless begging for bullets rather than change and its business specialising in the eradication of paranormal pests.

When the comedy works its works remarkably well, there is a nice comedy-basic piano drop vampire kill, a running joke about holy water that has an amusing payoff and a fun scene involving a BDSM club of vampires. Also its soundtrack is rounded out by the awesome Zombina and the Skeletones so that wins all the points.

I can overlook a lot in a film if I’m feeling a genuine love of the genre from its makers and an exuberant sense of fun from its cast and you definitely get that from Necroville and more besides. In a world of bland remakes and formulaic torture fests I’d much rather watch an independent labour of love like this any time.

2 comments:

  1. I'm curious about this nice comedy-basic piano drop vampire kill. What exactly is a one of those there then?

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  2. Maybe I should have said ACME piano drop vampire kill. Does that explain it better? I'd probably also better clarify that I meant nice as in cool not as in kind or polite. Although, now I mention it, a polite kill would be interesting and I think I'd like to see one.

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