Hey there guys, how’s the first week of October treating you? Have you been playing along with the #31DaysOfHorror? Let me know what you’re watching on Instagram, or in the comments! Use the tag #BarleyDoesHorror if you want to. Anyways, it’s day 5, and this is Gravy.
It’s All Hallow’s Eve. A trio of costumed misfits with very special dietary requirements seizes a Mexican cantina and force the staff to engage in a late night of gaming, food and libations. The only caveat is what’s on the menu.
I’m sure that if you asked the filmmaker, in this case it’s Psych director James Roday, he’d tell you that this was a “black comedy” or a “horror comedy” and the trouble with those, particularly the black comedy, is that it doesn’t take much for your “darkly funny” movie to become mean-spirited. That’s kind of what I found in Gravy. Don’t get me wrong, I like a black comedy, hell I like a bleak horror movie from time to time, but this one awkwardly feels up both of these without ever getting a firm grasp on either. You’re introduced to a group of very likable, well-meaning characters and then spend the rest of them being killed off before you’ve really gotten to learn more about them. There are no secret reasons that these characters deserve what they get. It’s just 3 lunatics butchering and eating non-lunatics.
A movie like this one needs someone to latch on to, and this one is basically devoid of it. After they killed the sweet restaraunt owner in the first few minutes, and bit out Gabourey Sidibe’s throat, I was pretty well not investing much in anyone. There are some attempts to make one of the killer’s sympathetic, but it really just wasn’t working. As such, the movie feels mean, rather than funny or even particularly dark.
It’s definitely a movie full of familiar faces. We open with Sarah Silverman being weird, and Michael Weston (who I definitely thought was Charlie Day for a hot second) being that cliche “awkward charming guy” character. The two of them have a flirtation, and Weston then proceeds to become a murderer and eat the staff of a Mexican restaurant. The movie of course also stars Gabourey Sidibe (American Horror Story), who is really great and fun to watch, as well you have Jimmi Simpson (Always Sunny), and Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus). The actors are fine really, they commit and they are very watchable, I don’t really have a bunch of complaints in that department actually.
My issues are more with the tone, and the story. As I’ve mentioned, the movie seems to fancy itself a black comedy, but it’s not especially funny. A good majority of the jokes come from the banter and one of the most bumbling characters ever, dressed in a blue Dumb & Dumber tuxedo and the jokes that come out, really don’t seem to land. So the comedy is out. It’s definitely violent, and full of all kinds of disturbing imagery, like the dismembered bodies of characters who didn’t really have it coming. It’s also the kind of movie that kills of the character’s of colour right at the beginning, and part of me thinks that might have been a gag, but when your last two survivors are white people, and the movie has a pretty diverse cast… it feels like like a gag and more like being unoriginal.
All in all the movie doesn’t really work, at least for me. I have a feeling I’ll be hearing how good and funny this movie is, but it just didn’t register there for me. They even have a character drop an f-bomb (which here doesn’t mean Fuck…) and that word is so jarring in 2015 that it takes me out of the movie. Anyways, not great in the end so … yeah.