17th Dec2018

‘Cannibals and Carpet Fitters’ VOD Review

by Chris Thomas

Stars: Darren Sean Enright, Richard Lee O’Donnell, Zara Phythian, Christopher Whitlow, Dominic Holmes, Jessica-Jane Stafford, Alex Zane, Phill Martin, Mingus Johnston, Lee Charles, Tony Nyland, Laura Jean Marsh, Darren Maffucci, Grant Steven, Jenny Stokes | Written by Richard Lee O’Donnell | Directed by James Bushe

cannibals-carpetfitters-us-art

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Horror comedy is very difficult to get right. Managing to cause laughs and scares is always a tricky balance, especially over the length of a feature film. The Evil Dead 2 is often held up as the best example of the genre, but I would probably update this to Tucker and Dale vs. Evil which managed to be sweet, funny and feature some very memorable and violent scenes. Cannibals and Carpet Fitters is, much like Snakes on a Plane, a title that makes me smile. It earns an awful lot of good will through title alone. But beyond the amusing Cockney vs. Zombies-style title there must be a solid film to back it up or this goodwill is very quickly eroded.

Cannibals and Carpet Fitters starts off with a bit of found footage but mercifully this overused convention only runs until the title sequence when the hapless couple of campers we are introduced to stop rowing with each other long enough to (not unexpectedly, for us at least) run afoul of some of the cannibals. What follows is a collision between “Carpetfitters” and “Cannibals” that makes as much sense as it needs to. Frustratingly the trailer falls into the trap of showing us the best, most surprising bits of the film all in one go, largely eroding the need to watch the film rather than whetting our appetites for a tasty cannibal related entree.

The film is competently made, showing a good knowledge of the genre and a clear understanding of what the film is trying to achieve, limited as that might be.

Despite the simple premise there is an effort to characterise our carpet fitters that makes them likeable enough for us to root for them. The acting is a little uneven with some of the cast “really quite good” and others putting in cheesy performances but given the subject matter and tone of the film it works. Pleasingly, some of the action sequences are really nicely done. Of particular note is the martial skills of Zara Phythian, her acting is a bit uneven, but she puts in a terrific performance once the cannibals come after her. Richard Lee O’Donnell seems to struggle with the lead role as Dean but he just about gets the job done, albeit he gets some great lines that he doesn’t quite land.

What probably most interested me about the film was the idea of “working class people go to manor house.” I was expecting a bit of class war subtext but sadly this is non-existent. Rather than being bonkers toffs, the cannibals seem to be a family of chavs that live in an old manor house for some reason. Having said that I am never quite sold on this being a man0r house. It seems to be a large farm house.

As silly as it sounds more could have been made of the “carpet fitter” part of the film, it doesn’t really feature in the plot or is tied in any way other than people wielding carpet fitting tools at various points. Also, apparently, they don’t cry. I felt like there was probably another 15 minutes of footage that got left off the end as the film lacks any kind of ending or resolution. Things are still going on, we just don’t get to see them for some reason.

Is the film “good”? well.. I would say that it is good enough, if you see a film title Cannibals and Carpet Fitters and if you think it sounds like fun you are unlikely to be disappointed with what is on show here. Similarly, if you don’t think that sounds like a fun use of an hour and 20 minutes this is unlikely to change your mind.

Cannibals and Carpet Fitters is out now on VOD in the US.

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