Eldritch USA - FrightFest Halloween International Premiere
Director: Ryan Smith, Tyler Foreman
Starring: Graham Weldin, Andy Phinney, Cameron Perry, Aline O'Neill, Weston McNew
Written by: Ryan Smith
Produced by: Brittney Greer, Christian Carroll, Sierra D. Payne
Cinematography by: David M. Watson
Original Score by: Yuri Radko
After a tragic accident turns his life upside down, Geoff seeks out a backwoods cult rumoured to have supernatural powers but ends up unleashing a sinister force on his unsuspecting, Midwestern town.
Comedy and horror are hard nuts to crack. They're two sides of the same coin and it's even more difficult to successfully blend the two genres together. Now when you add in a third genre; musical, well it becomes almost impossible to work at all. 'Eldritch USA' is a fun watch and I applaud its originality but it didn't quite do it for me, mostly from a comedic aspect.
Geoff and Rich Brewer are brothers who both work for a local news station. Geoff is the camera guy and Rich is the face of the news channel, often out on location reporting on the latest hot stories and sometimes catching the hot girls he meets on the way too. Geoff has always lived in the shadow of his older and more successful brother. There's a position as new anchorman for the station and both Geoff and Rich are up for it, but you've guessed it, the heads of the station want Rich to be the man. Once again Geoff finishes in second place.
But Geoff's life is turned upside down when Rich is killed in a tragic woodcutting accident and believing it to be his fault (it definitely was) he seeks the help of his friends Colin and Jill and a local cult who use sorcery to bring Rich back from the dead. Sadly Rich doesn't know he is a zombie and after a short stint of actually being a nice guy he resorts back to being a super egotistical dick and ends up recruiting his own zombie army in trying to take over Eldritch USA.
It's difficult to be too critical of 'Eldritch USA'. It's clearly a low budget indie film (it was a Kickstarter project I believe) and it feels like the cast perhaps aren't that experienced in front of the camera. However it is also difficult not to have fun with it too. It's entertaining and quirky and I love the fact that it's a musical. The songs are a bit basic for the most part but there's definitely 2 or 3 that stood out (particularly a track called "It Didn't End Well" I think) and I can see this working really well as a stage show. I definitely chuckled but I can't say it made me laugh out loud. Writer/Director was apparently inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, and that's clear to see, but he's worked some modern day television style comedy into the mix too. The writing is fine but there seemed to be something lacking in the delivery of a lot of the jokes.
Saying that, Colin is hilarious and was probably the best character in the entire film. Andy Phinney who played Rich was also a stand out as I wanted to punch his face every single second he was on screen. I did feel like I was zoning in and out every so often, the way you sometimes do when you have a daytime TV show on in the background while you're doing something else. While it's obvious the filmmakers are working within a smallish budget, the production values are actually quite good. It's a fairly sleek looking film even though it didn't feel overly cinematic. It almost felt like an extended episode of 'Schitt's Creek' or something similar.
I would 100% go and watch this if it was a musical stage show. It's campy, clever and charming and actually has an inspiring message and while the premise and situations that arise sound hilarious it just wasn't funny enough for me.
- Gavin Logan
'Eldritch USA' received its International Premiere at FrightFest Halloween on October 28th