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By midlandsmovies, Jan 10 2020 06:54PM



Midlands Review - Damn Good Pie


Directed by Lewis Clements


2020


Elsy Pictures


Elsy Pictures serves up a dinner from hell with Lewis Clements' short film Damn Good Pie, a horror comedy engrossed in a world where “pie makes everybody happy”.


We are made immediately aware within the first few frames that this is no ordinary family sat at the dinner table. The father is joined by his wife, his son and his daughter but he acts as if he doesn't have this company as he brazenly sniffs his dinner, his pie, licking his lips. “That's good pie” he announces.


As the family say grace it is revealed the pies they are about to eat have been made with great sacrifice, there is a loud thud upstairs when this is said and the mother looks worried as she glances at the ceiling. This must be regular occurrence in this household as no one else appears to be concerned.


Elements of David Lynch's signature surrealism surround Damn Good Pie as we are unpleasantly treated to a gross fifteen seconds of the father consuming his pie. The camera lingers on his lips as he savours every bite, the sound of each bite was almost unbearable, something I think Clements intended and will enjoy knowing he has succeeded.


But not everyone is enjoying their food. The son, Edward, seems uninterested and instead of relentlessly enjoying his meal like his Mother and Father he is patting the pie with his fork, his mind elsewhere. Offended, his Father demands him to stop and reminds him that they do not pat pie in his house.


Hilariously, Edward replies back with a line I'm sure every parent has heard at some point “but Danny at school is allowed”. Now threatened with being sent upstairs with no dinner, Edward shakes in fear begging his Father to reconsider but to no avail.


What exactly waits upstairs is unclear but it is safe to say it is not welcoming, the mood changes and the score by Robson Janser & Daniel Kanenas creates an uneasy atmosphere.


Setting a film or a scene during a family dinner has always been a great opportunity to explore the dynamic within the household as it is something we can all easily relate to. I was reminded of the infamous dinner scene in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where an outsider also cannot conform to the rest of the family's behaviour as we lay witness to sheer lunacy and outrageous motives.


There is not an ounce of fat in Clement's film, the writing is razor sharp and the direction focused on featuring comedy and horror in abundance. I really enjoyed making the comparison between the pie in the film to religion. The faith that the father has in pie is unprecedented, and when his own child appears unfaithful, his solution is to deliver him upstairs, for someone of a higher position to mete out punishment.


In a statement by the writer and director Lewis Clements, it says he is looking to make a connection between “British society and bizarre horror” which definitely translates on screen here. That steely determination to protect what you love is shown tenfold but in this case what is being cherished and loved are...pies. Undoubtedly Damn Good Pie has delightfully mixed “the mundane with the fantastical” resulting in a deliciously fun, short film.



Guy Russell

Twitter @budguyer


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