I feel that horror has always had an association with Heavy Metal music. Most of the sub-genres of heavy metal are loud, aggressive and often very dark. There is a whole laundry list of heavy metal songs that mention satan, hell and other scary and forbidden imagery. None of that really bothers me like it did when I was a kid and I thought that words held literal magic instead of the figurative magic they actually hold. So after a certain age, heavy metal was never scary. Heavy metal was enticing, energizing and exciting. It gets my motor running in the morning and can bring me to that second wind in the evening. Still, I understand the connection between horror and heavy metal. Especially the album covers of heavy metal paint a horrific picture which is now as familiar to me as Bela Lugosi in Dracula or the puppets in Puppet Master.
I made an effort to try and include more foreign horror movies this year. In that vein, this movie comes from New Zealand. I have never seen a kiwi horror film but the inclusion of heavy metal definitely drew me in. By the time that I found out it was from New Zealand, I was already on the hook and had slotted it in to watch. I mean, it also has demons and demons are one of my all-time favorite monsters. Like faeries, demons have no rules and can be just about anything when they appear in stories. That makes them dangerous and unpredictable and exciting horror villains. You do not often hear this but demons are awesome. So let us sit back for a story of heavy metal and demons.
To start, I loved the feel of this movie from the start. Not only is it into Heavy Metal but it uses comic book transitions and animation to add to its irreverent spirit. My youth was spent listening to Heavy Metal, having long hair, reading comics and watching cartoons which are all things done in this movie. Of course, except for the long hair, they are all things I still do. The whole movie has a great heavy metal spirit to it. The great thing about heavy metal is that it is not afraid to be goofy as hell while desperately trying to sound serious and cool. Stuff like Brutal Legend and bands like Steel Panther have gone even farther toward mixing comedy with metal and now this movie has also mixed in some horror. This is also a high school comedy and our heroes are guys I could have hung out with in school. I was a total geek and hanging out with metalheads, dungeon masters and stoners would not have been a stretch.
I was impressed with the special effects in the movie. They did not have the best gore effects in the business but they were clearly practical and looked really good on screen. Starting off with humor, animation and comic book style stuff makes even the cheesiest effect acceptable. Over the top blood is one of my favorite things in horror movies because it is a combination of gross, awesome and funny. It’s also done with a lot of nonchalance which makes it both scarier and funnier somehow. Speaking of nonchalance, there is a lot of boobage and some very graphic sexual material that appears but if you have seen enough metal album covers you should expect that. The movie had no actors in it that were known to me but all of them were great. In particular, Milo Cawthorne was great in the lead role and I could really empathize with him the whole way.
Overall, I loved the movie. The kiwi accents, the comedy and the horror all blended together really nicely. It almost goes without saying that the soundtrack to the movie is completely awesome but I will go ahead and say it. The movie never dragged and was always awesome, funny, scary, strangely touching or some mixture of all of the above. It is kind of the high school movie that I needed to see while I was actually in high school but it means a lot more now. Also, kudos for having an action girl main character who is pretty fun and cool even if she is kind of a cliche. I definitely recommend this one.