25th Nov2021

‘Ankle Biters’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Zion Forrest Lee, Marianthi Evans, Lily Gail Reid, Violet Reid, Rosalee Reid, Dahlia Reid | Written and Directed by Bennet De Brabandere

I mean, with a title like Ankle Biters, I was intrigued before I even read the synopsis, but once I did… I was all-in. Written and directed by Bennet De Brabandere (and based on a story by Brabandere and Zion Forrest Lee), Ankle Biters (originally titled Cherrypicker, FYI) tells the tale of some innocent little kiddos, all sunshine, roses and candy corn… until they’re not and they become calculated and evil little toe-rags.

It is, in a nutshell, a tale of a group of children who set out to completely nuke their mothers life with her new partner (and the kids potential future step-father), not wanting to see their dad replaced by this hockey-loving jock fellow. The children feel like their mother is in danger (due to some violent sexual choices the adults make) and are worried about her, plus… the new boyfriend is a bit of a douche-bag. Not really treating the kids like a potential father should. It turns from a film that feels somewhat innocent and silly into an all-out horror-comedy.

The young actors who play the kids are really pretty good in their roles and are, in actual fact, the very best part of the whole movie. While much of the dialogue is iffy and some of the adult performances leave a lot to be desired, there’s still plenty here to like and enjoy, and the film is mostly an entertaining time. Comedy-horror is attempted a lot these days, and this one falls pretty much in the middle because the bad and the good elements kind of average things out. I did have a good time with Ankle Biters, it must be said, but I could have enjoyed it more if a little more shine had been added to the acting and the way the story unfolds.

I felt like there were some holes in the plot that made me feel like I’d held in a sneeze (and nobody likes that), and I wanted the film to feel more intense than it ultimately did. The cinematography from Carl Ester (A Northern Song) is solid, and the moments of horror and gore are finely executed. The final act, too… the climax to the movie, is a butt-load of wacky fun. I think there are some pretty significant issues with Ankle Biters, but there’s enough good stuff going on to make it worth dealing with them. Maybe give it a shot, but be willing to take the poor bits with the good.

**½  2.5/5

Ankle Biters is out now on demand and on DVD from Dark Star Pictures.

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