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Small Town Folk

DVD Three Stars
Small Town Folk caught my interest when I saw the stylised trailer for the film, the backdrops were done in the style of 300 (Filmstalker review) and with the budget that the film was operating on it was surprising how good these composite shots looked.

What's good about this small budget British horror is that this isn't the only part that does stand out, there's much more to it and the film is rather good fun.

Plot.pngSmallTownFolk.jpgSmall Town Folk is the story of a couple who are out for a trip, and while the sensible headed Susan, played by Hannah Flint, is sleeping, the adventure fuelled hero Jon, played by Greg Martin, decides to take a turning that promises something a little different.

That's just exactly what they get when they arrive at Beesley's Manor in Grockleton, a pub with a landlord, played by Chris R. Wright, and a "family" of followers who are all rather odd.

The locals turn out to be somewhat wary of strangers, and in fact rather deadly towards them. They set off on the hunt intent on capturing the visitors, not only for their trophies, but also with thoughts of expanding their little clan.

TheFilm.pngSmall Town Folk is an interesting film that really did surprise me. To begin with I was dubious, the idea of the film gave me the feeling that this was going to be a stock, simple, and pretty amateurish film. Yet the trailer I'd seen had showed me a glimmer of something different. The characters looked like fun, and the stylistic choice for the backgrounds looked interesting, and it all had a certain unusual feel.

Those stylised background effects are used throughout the film and give a cool and surreal feel to which adds to the equally surreal characters we meet once in the strange place called Grockleton.

However it's not all good, the opening is mixed and left me unsure of which way the film was going to go. The overdubbing of the main characters is very noticeable and a little distracting and takes a while to get used to, but once you do you start getting drawn into their stories, and the overdubbing passes as soon as the story really gets going. It doesn't take long to get going either, as the opening sets the scene quickly and races into the story.

That's something that does stand out about this film, the writing. The story is cleverly thought through and although the main plot is something we've seen time and time again, characters and events are different enough to make the film rather unique.

The film is essentially a horror, but what it doesn't do is stick too much to the stock horror moments, and when it does it usually does so with a little twist to make them feel a little different.

There's plenty of amusing moments and equally amusing characters who are created with a quirk and a flourish, but it's the two lead males that really take over the film. One is the hero character, who has some strong moments, but the best character by far is the lead baddie, the landlord from Beesley's Manor.

He's well played and has some great on screen moments, well written and well visualised on screen. Altogether he's a very non-Hollywood and very cool bad guy.

Some moments stand out for me, mainly some of the more imaginative death scenes and the surprisingly strong Hollywood style car fight scene which is excellently choreographed and filmed. There are also some nice homage moments to Indiana Jones and Star Wars in the film, nods which show that the film makers are indeed film fans.

There are some more downsides here though, the script doesn't keep up the strength it showed with some of the scenes and characters throughout and we are treated to some cheesy dialogue on occasion.

I did feel that in some places a faster cut could have increased the film's pace a little, something that it needed on occasion as, at times, the film felt like it was hanging onto shots a little too long.

On the character front the villain and hero are strong, but the female lead is far from the heroine of the film and for the most part sits open mouthed as the foil for the male lead.

It's difficult to comment on the picture since the backdrops were all so stylised. It did look good though and I was surprised at how well shot some of the outside scenes were. The film does look much better than you'd expect, stylish backgrounds or not.

Audio.pngDolby Digital 5.1
I don't remember that the audio track was strong, and to be fair I don't think there was much call for the surround sound element. However the DD5.1 option is there and does add a little extra to the film.

Extras.pngCommentary with Director, Writer and various other people from the production, Making of Featurette, Rollin' and Tumblin' music video, Trailer
Commentary with Director, Writer and various other people from the production
There's no skimping on the audio commentary as we hear from a group of those both behind and in front of the camera. Together they provide an entertaining and informative commentary that gives an interesting take on the film. After watching the commentary you do appreciate what was achieved with the film, particularly the work carried out with the lighting and physical filming.

Making of Featurette
This was okay, not the best I've seen, but it provides some interesting information. Not as rich and entertaining as the commentary though.

Rollin' and Tumblin' music video
It seems that some of the cast and crew are musicians and even made some of the music for the film, which can be seen by watching this music video. It's good, if it's your cup of tea.

Overall.pngThis film surprised me, I was expecting something a little more stock and a little less stylised and really something more disappointing than this. Although the story as an entirety is something we've seen time and time again, there are plenty of little flourishes in here to make it something a little more different.

A couple of strong characters with interesting traits, some cool scenes including the expected death scenes, a liberal helping of styling and some good filming deliver Small Town Folk into a bracket above it's expected fighting weight.

Overall it's an enjoyable film and does deliver something a little different from the normal budget made horror films. The extras offered on the DVD are good with a strong audio commentary.

Buy or rent from LOVEFiLM
Buy from Play.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Filmstalker stores

UK IMDB details
Official film site



Hey Rich
just caught this on Zone Horror - it was as you said much better than most low budget Brit Horror efforts...
some great imagery and more imagination than I'd expected!? Nice one!

Cool, glad it's getting an audience and glad you managed to catch it.

Wonder if these guys have anything else planned.


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