The Snarling – Don’t Cry Wolf this Halloween! DVD Review
With a new zombie horror movie being filmed in the village, locals Les (Laurence Saunders), Mike (Chris Simmons) and Bob (Ben Manning) take the opportunity to get involved as extras in the film – unfortunately for them, fame is not the thing which the film has brought to the village. When a series of gruesome murders leaves a trail of dismembered bodies in the local woods, it is left down to the local Detective Inspector (Pablo Raybould) and sergeant Haskins (Ste Johnston) to try and solve the case. As the killings continue questions begin to rise; could these murders have anything to do with the film? Is there any connection to the full moon? And who ate all the breakfast?
The Snarling is a new horror-comedy from writer-director Pablo Raybould, which despite the story revolving around a series of gruesome murders, succeeds primarily by focusing on the comedy. Pablo utilises the remote landscape to create some tense moments and exploits the characters to continuously toy with the audience regarding the identity of the killer, but it is the comical delivery where the film really succeeds.
The comedy and genre references come quick and fast throughout the film, so it is unlikely that you will spot every quote or visual placement on the first watch – so it is definitely a film which you need to watch more than once. There several of the jokes which are signposted (literally), but many of the references are a little bit more obscure and harder to find.
The brilliantly funny script and the comical timing of the cast keep a consistent flow of comedy, that you can easily miss the following gag. After watching it a second time I found several new jokes which I had previously missed, where I was laughing previously – and in a sell-out screening at Horror-on-Sea I wasn’t the only one laughing.
The humour manages to maintain a tight balance between being clever and becoming a parody. This keeps the film from straying away from the path of the more serious horror elements and on more than one occasion manages to integrate the two. A great example is the cut shots in which the flow of dialogue connecting two very different scenes to create some of the film’s most creative and memorable moments.
One continuous theme throughout the film is the numerous references to werewolves which reminded me of Joe Dante’s The Howling (1981). However, it is clear from the outset that the An American Werewolf in London (1981) is the main influence which it proudly acknowledges throughout. There are several nods both with the dialogue and visually which fans will recognise, although my favourite is a cameo from Albert Moses, in a sentimental scene which acknowledges his role as the hospital porter.
As well as directing Pablo Raybould takes on one of the leading roles playing it straight at the Detective Inspector, who with his inept Sargent (Ste Johnston) try to solve the murders. Their contrasting personalities work brilliantly to create a comical buddy style relationship, with Ste Johnston’s hapless nature creating much of their slapstick comedy. Their involvements at the crime scenes are particular are funny.
The central characters to the film are three locals. Ben Manning as Bob, the local landlord of the Dirty Hog pub. Chris Simmons as the cocky but extremely likeable Mike and Laurence Saunders as the dim-witted Les Jarvis. There is a natural rapport between the group which make the most of the scripted humour, although it is often their deadpan delivery in response to Lee’s misconceptions which create some of the film’s most laugh out loud moments.
Laurence Saunders stands out for me portraying both Les Jarvis and his doppelganger in the film actor Greg Lupeen. With very different personalities, Laurence seems to embrace the opportunity to depict both characters with very different results. His comic timing is excellent as Lee, but it looks like he was having more fun with his overstated diva portrayal of Greg. He plays both characters well on their own, but the chemistry (or not), when they are interacting together, is hilarious.
Delivering in the horror aspects wasn’t the main focus of the film, one of the elements which I really liked was the way you were constantly trying to identify guess the killer. There are subtle clues throughout the film which are easily overlooked on the first viewing but seem quite obvious on a second viewing. It is a great touch to the film, which again highlights the excellent script and detailed execution which proves it is more than just a comedy homage to the genre.
Being a low budget horror film, they were never going to match the visual effects of films such as An American Werewolf in London. However, where the effects are used throughout the film, especially the final execution of the werewolf look impressive. I was surprised that they showed the werewolf in full on screen, but thankfully the FX team what are to the job with the prosthetic design – and for me, it still looks a lot more effective than the CGI version which we see in An American Werewolf in Paris (1997).
Following its initial run on the festival circuit, it is easy to see why The Snarling has already gained a cult following, thanks to its consistently funny comedy throughout, which stems from the brilliant script and delivery from the cast. With its horror-comedy style and Easter eggs which add to the re-watchability of the film, I can see why there are natural comparisons to films such as Shaun of the Dead (2004). However, I think The Snarling has enough originality to stand out on its own merits as the funniest British horror-comedies in years and deserves its recognition as a future cult classic.
The Snarling DVD is available from 29th October and VOD from 5th November from Left Films. You can pre-order a copy of the DVD from Amazon now.
The Snarling DVD Review
Movie title: The Snarling
Movie description: When a new zombie horror film is being made in their village, locals Les, Mike and Bob see their chance to cash in and get famous. But it soon turns out the film is cursed… as the mutilated bodies begin to pile up. The local Detective Inspector and his hapless sergeant Haskins soon trace the killings back to the film set, and the race is on to stop the bloodshed before our local heroes get caught up in the real gore and guts.
Director(s): Pablo Raybould
Actor(s): Laurence Saunders, Chris Simmons, Ben Manning, Pablo Raybould, Ste Johnston, Joel Beckett, Julie Peasgood, Julia Deakin, Albert Moses
Genre: Horror, Comedy
The Snarling has already gained a cult following, thanks to its consistently funny comedy throughout, which stems from the brilliant script and delivery from the cast.