Gravy is the latest horror comedy, one that takes place in the cannibal genre, of all things. Directed by actor James Roday (Psych) in his debut behind the camera, Gravy tells the story of restaurant employees taken hostage after close by three cannibals, who simply want to play party games and eat their guests until they are so full that they can’t walk.
The movie’s comedy is not smart comedy like Shaun of the Dead, but is instead a zany comedy, as if Roday channeled the Looney Tunes while making a movie that alternates between disgusting and funny, sometimes in the same moment. It also pulls off a very difficult task when it makes the cannibal killers almost more endearing than the victims – or at least two of the killers.
The killers are brothers Aaron (Michael Weston) and Stef (Jimmi Simpson) and Stef’s girlfriend Mimi (Lily Cole). The movie starts with a bookened moment, which sees Aaron going to a convenience store and realizing that his goofy seems to connect perfectly with the goofy of the store clerk, played by Sarah Silverman. This gives the audience a chance to see one of the bad guys before any of the victims are introduced, and honestly, Aaron is a very likeable character.
Finally, the restaurant employees are introduced. Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) is Winketta, a security guard with a big mouth and an attitude. Molly Ephraim (Paranormal Activity 2) is Cricket, a waitress with an attitude. Sutton Foster is Kerry, a bartender who has a great personality and is clearly the person that the movie sets up as the Final Girl. Also on hand is a French chef, a kind restaurant owner, a small-time criminal turned boxer, and a drunk who happened to have passed out in the bathroom.
So, what we have here is a group of stereotypes who are set up as dinner for three cannibals who are more fleshed out than any character in the movie. Aaron is almost the protagonist, although he is also the main antagonist to the victims. Mimi is the evil member of the trio, someone who just wants to kill people and doesn’t care about the fun the brothers have. Stef is the voice of the trio and he is very funny throughout the movie.
Once the carnage starts, the gore is plentiful and the disgust level is high. The sight of the cannibals eating the victims is just gross, but it is counter balanced by the humor of Stef raving over the French chef, who they have cooking the body parts for dinner. The fact of the matter is that Stef and Aaron deliver most of the laughs, based on both their dialogue and their interactions with the other characters.
Not all is great about the movie though. Aaron, while a great character throughout most of the movie, is somehow too boyish at times and very vulnerable to trickery, something that seems more like a plot device than a real affliction. However, the scenes with his brother seem real at every point. By the end, the Final Girl is who you think it will be, and while the result of the final battle is a little swerve, the end really doesn’t give the horror fan anything fresh.
What the movie does give is some great performances by Michael Weston, Jimmi Simpson and Lily Cole as the killer cannibals. They carry this movie and bring the humor needed to possibly turn Gravy into a cult classic over time. Scream Factory released the Blu-ray and it might be the perfect horror comedy for a night of drinking with friends.
There are few special features on the Blu-ray edition of Gravy from Scream Factory. The main one is an audio commentary with James Roday, Jimmi Simpson and Sutton Foster. The commentary is lively, and pretty funny on its own merits. They talk a lot about making the movie, but also poke fun at the movie and themselves and remain a fun listen throughout. Next up is a short feature with Roday and Simpson interviewed about the movie, where Roday admits that he was influenced to make the movie because his father was a cannibal and his mother was not, making him a half breed. Most of this interview is tongue in cheek.
Other than that, there is the electronic press kit, a trailer, and an Easter Egg with a very disturbing music video for the traditional song “Deck the Halls” by Priscilla Ahn (Michael Weston’s wife).