The greedy members of the Remington family gather together to celebrate the birthdays of their two elderly aunts that have an enormous fortune. But after opening a gift from their estranged nephew, things get a little out of control.
Who doesn’t love a schlocky horror film every once in a while? I know I do! This movie is certainly not good, nor is it one of the better schlocky horror movies I’ve seen, but it does have some funny moments. Honestly, the only reason I watched and reviewed this film was because I had watched Cronenberg’s Rabid (1977) the day before, and had found that pretty decent (not great, but decent). As I was writing that review I stumbled upon a picture of an elderly lady with her mouth open to reveal rows of teeth, like sharks might have. Intrigued, I clicked on the picture and found that it was from a film called “Rabid Grannies”.
‘Rabid Grannies,’ thought I, ‘that sounds absolutely awful. I must see that immediately.” And thus, my roommates and I sat down and commenced the viewing of this-er- movie, if you can call it that.
The version we watched , sadly, seemed to have been altered slightly (as I’m writing this (8/2/18) the film is currently available on Amazon Prime). The film was originally produced in Belgium and France before it was bought by the Troma Company (a production company known for their rather schlocky B-movies), and repurposed for the US. The version we saw was cropped from its original aspect ratio to a 4:3 ratio, effectively screwing up the framing of the entire film. I’ve also since learned that the Troma Company cut out about four minutes of the film’s most graphic material (bummer) to not offend American audiences. I feel the need to point out that the version I saw, while the only one available in America, is probably not the movie that Kervyn had originally planned. Be that as it may, it was the version I saw, and the version I’ll review.
"They throw guts around like so many slapstick cream pies."
“Rabid Grannies” is made in the spirit of films like “Bad Taste”, “Dead Alive”, or “Evil Dead II”. It’s a film that uses superfluous gore in order to shock, but also to entertain. The gore is not meant to scare anyone, and that’s incredibly apparent by how ridiculous it looks. Gallons of blood are used in this film, people vomit green chunky matter constantly, limbs are hewn and thrown at people, and prosthetic gore is flung about the home like confetti at a parade, or, as said by one of the characters ‘like so many slapstick cream pies.’ There are some rather funny moments, and the gore is probably the biggest proponent of that. However, where the movie fails is when it tries too hard to be funny, when it tries intentionally to set up a joke.
There are a TON of problems with this movie, however, which gives me pause to recommend this to anyone; as a bad movie or otherwise. First off, there are no ‘Grannies’ in this film. The birthday party is for the Remington aunts. I guess Rabid Grannies sounds better than Rabid Aunties, but it still creates a little hole in the film. Second, there are absolutely no likeable characters. Everyone in this movie is after the aunts’ money; the only thing they care about is when the aunts will die and how the fortune will be divided. Why should I care about anyone who wants their relatives to die for their own benefit? Third, pacing in the first act is HORRENDOUSLY slow. We’re introduced to all of the characters in the film one by one, and all of them are boring archetypes of horrid people: the devil-may-care jock, the fat alcoholic uncle, a secretive sister, and irritating children, just to name a few. By the time the rabid aunties appear on screen, almost thirty-five minutes had gone by. Do you think people come to see “Rabid Grannies” for the character development at the beginning? No, they come to see little Suzy fangoriously devoured by her dear old aunties.
There are other parts in the film that, since this is a horror comedy, I was not sure if certain some elements were intended or accidental. The main thing I’m talking about is dialogue and acting, both of which- you guessed it- are terrible. The dialogue feels like somebody wrote it in a different language, then used Google translate to turn it into English, and called it good. The lines are stiff and unnatural, and the delivery is almost always stilted and strange. Again, since this is a horror comedy, I’m not sure if that was intentional or not- either way, the humor it provided worked only about fifty percent of the time. Another slightly smaller issue is that the movie never seems to settle on tone. Sometimes, the scenes are truly creepy (never horrifying); they feel like scenes out of a real movie. And other times, the horror element is played off for laughs. The tone bounces around so frequently that it’s hard to tell what the filmmaker intended us to be feeling at any given time. And then another issue, which might have something to do with the butchered cut of the film I saw, is that there are some characters that simply disappear and aren’t mentioned again. As I can’t be certain that there weren’t scenes that addressed that issue, I can’t completely hold it against the film, but for my viewing, it made things a little confusing.
This isn’t a great movie. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but if you’re really itching to see it, it is on Amazon Prime. There are some funny moments, and I wouldn’t say I wasted my time (I laughed a few times and I got to write this review, so that’s always fun), but overall there are infinitely better gore-comedies out there. If you want to see something like this, only done with a little more professionalism (and a lot more gore), try “Dead Alive” or “Bad Taste”. Those movies are funnier, plus, if you watch “Bad Taste”, you’ll get to see director Peter Jackson as a zombie.
This is part of our 31 Nights of Thrills Series. Not all of the movies we review for this series will be strictly horror, but all will have something to do with the spirit of things spooky or scary. If you like those types of movies, be sure to check back throughout the month of October!
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