THE SNARLING * UK 2018 Dir: Pablo Raybould. 83 mins
Unworkably creaky jokes abound in this well-intentioned but laugh-light British horror comedy, in which THE OFFICE’s Joel Beckett is beset with problems while shooting a low budget zombie in a small English village.
An early, heavy handed pastiche of the outstanding first reel of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON reminds us of a truly great humour / horror juggling act and precedes a series of grisly deaths coinciding with the full moon. Meanwhile, a local schlub with a strong resemblance to the film’s primadonna actor (both played by OUIJAGEIST’s Laurence Saunders) ends up doubling for the thesp. Debuting writer-director Pablo Raybould has all the right role models: he valiantly tries to duplicate the running gags and word play of great spoofs like AIRPLANE! and Mel Brooks’ YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN with dialogue exchanges like:
“It’s the work of a lycanthrope!”
“No! Not witches…”
Sadly, too much of the movie plays out like a horribly dated, barrel scraping BBC sitcom, with dopey procedural humour (a police chief noisily eating a Black Forest gateaux while watching footage of the killings) interspersed with random gags about Lidl, Milton Keynes and the hero’s oft-mispronounced name. Worse still, the presence of gay “jokes” revive the kind of phrases (“trouser bandits” / “bender”) your Dad stopped laughing at in 1989. It’s self-conscious and strained, and Saunders’ mugging performance(s) wear out their welcome quite swiftly. The West Midlands deserves a better werewolf farce.
Review by Steven West