Broil brings an interesting premise to the screen with a sprinkling of great moments, yet struggles to keep up with the potential to cross the finish line, one of the few films that needed more runtime to flesh itself out. This is a film that you jump in with both feet and the reward will sweep you up.
A listless grand-daughter, Chance Sinclair (Avery Konrad), is sentenced to live with her draconian grand-father, August (Timothy V. Murphy) after a violent incident at school and begins to question the source of her families’ immense wealth and power. When Chance’s scheming Mom, June (Annette Reilly), hires a troubled chef, Sydney (Jonathan Lipnicki), to poison August, the family’s monstrous secrets are revealed over the course of one bloody night. Every soul is up for grabs as The Sinclair Family Games Night gets underway and Chance learns that being a part of this family is a blood-in, blood-out proposition
Co-writer/Driector Edward Drake and co-writer Piper Mars have brought us an interesting film that from the start goes at an absurd breakneck pace. It doesn’t give its audience enough time to learn and feel about the characters. As soon as we begin to feel something towards them, we are onto the next part. This is a film that could really do with the extra 30 minutes to flesh things out. Situations are worked out by characters far too quickly. As if there was content written and filmed and it has been left to the way side. It is a shame as so much works here. It is also rare that you are asking a film to be longer to give us more of these characters and this world that has been created.
The world building is what one of the impressive aspects of Broil is, we are given these characters in a world and that you could easily delve more time in with the greatest of ease. This world is slightly off kilter and the lack of explanation of everything in the world will either frustrate the life out of you or will reel you in as you try to invest yourself into the piece. The inclusion of setting the film out of order is also a tad unnecessary as they are almost used as breaks from the madness going on within the house. They could easily be positioned where they should be and no one would be missing out on anything. It is small missteps like this that fail Broil.
With so much going on in the opening third, it almost comes to a relief when we return back to the Sinclair house and when Sydney enters there, the film settles and the focus comes back to the film that was on the cusp of losing itself. With this refocus the viewer finds themselves in an interesting mystery horror. Every Sinclair is seemingly out to get one another. This is one family gathering you would be more than happy to forget to attend. This allows the films scope to increase once again and become a horror supernatural mystery family drama. Yeah, a lot going on here. Our writers are insanely ambitious and all credit goes to them for keeping it on the tracks for as much as they do.
While some of the performances are hit or miss, some of the cast are all in with their performances. Be them hamming it up or taking it as seriously as possible. While others and you will know them when you catch Broil are just about putting the effort in with subdued reactions to literal chaos going on around them. The twists are aplenty and some work quite well. Whereas some seem tacked on to give us a tidy finish, which this doesn’t necessary need.
Technically this is a solid horror, we are given a lower budget Hannibal style cooking scene that is always appreciated. Additionally the cinematography always feels as if it is trying to help rise up above the productions budget. The score, occasionally comes across too aggressive in getting the point across. But the final discussion by the campfires score works wonderfully to help bring that added emotion that is needed.
Broil honestly didn’t seem like it was going to be as good a film as it eventually ended up being.. Is it ambitious? Very much so, but it has that little bit extra to help it become a surprisingly great watch. As soon as we get Sydney into the house Broil kicks on to be the enjoyable horror it deserves to be.
FrightFest Presents and Signature Entertainment present Broil on Digital Platforms 15th February
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