R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Allan Moyle
scr Willem Wennekers
with Scott Speedman, Wes Bentley, Taryn Manning, Greg Bryk, Maggie Castle, Matt Frewer, Dax Ravina, Joe Dinicol, Jordan Prentice, Raoul Bhaneja, Shayne Wyler, Mark Parr
release US 5.Oct.07, UK 16.Nov.07
07/Canada Magnolia 1h30
Uh oh, we're in trouble: Bentley and Speedman

speedman bentley manning

edinburgh film fest

Weirdsville This absurd crime odyssey has so much gonzo enthusiasm that it's impossible not to enjoy watching these crazed characters bounce off of each other. Director Moyle and writer Wennekers merrily indulge in comedy so wrong that we can't stop laughing.

In the northern Ontario town of Weedsville, slackers Dexter (Speedman) and Royce (Bentley) owe a lot of money to their dealer (Bhaneja). The drugs have seriously blunted their brains, and when Royce's girlfriend (Manning) ODs, they opt to hide her body in an abandoned drive-in. But they interrupt a ritual by first-time Satanists (Bryk and Castle), who chase them into the night. And soon they have a gang of angry dwarves dressed in medieval knight gear after them as well. Yet they continue to seek money to pay their debt, planning a big robbery.

Moyle maintains a high energy level with witty direction that keeps the film smart and crisp, as well as stylish and sexy, allowing the nutty characters to emerge as human beings even as the film gets increasingly ridiculous. The plot plays merrily with all kinds of movie cliches, subverting everything with twists and turns we can't possibly predict. There's even some extremely playful moralising, mainly that drugs make you stupid and that even the dumbest idea could work. Maybe Frewer's invention of "Sprayonaise" isn't such a bad idea, but the cigarette-hot drink combo "Teacotine" (or "Cigatea"?) is just preposterous. Isn't it?

The actors are hilariously charming, delivering scruffy, lively performances as a bunch of knuckleheads trying desperately to get out of a mess that gets more and more tangled. At the centre of the storm, Speedman and Bentley are extremely likeable lowlifes. While Bryk and Castle are very funny as the demoralised wannabe Satanists plagued by junkies and dwarves. And even the smallest characters get amusingly defining moments.

As it progresses, the plot gets a bit strained, and perhaps too farcical. But we stick with it because of the amiable cast, Moyle's spirited direction and a terrific song score featuring Canadian indie bands. We emerge from the cinema laughing and shaking our heads in disbelief at the general silliness. In other words, it has cult hit written all over it.

cert 18 themes, language, drugs, violence 13.Jun.07

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Weirdsville Riley, Austin, TX: 4/5 "Destined to be a cult favorite. There are so many little moments and jokes that are original and hilarious. Pay close attention! The actors have an amazing chemistry together that it is hard to believe they didn't know each other before making this great little film. The music is incredible and really drives the movie. I will be looking for the soundtrack tomorrow. Don't miss this one. It is the most fun I have had at a movie in a long time." (6.Oct.07)
2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall