Rarely do comedy and horror go together. They’re polar opposites. I’d argue that the last time I saw the two compliment each other perfectly was in Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Before that was in Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead. In Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s Extra Ordinary the two elements admittedly don’t always work - some jokes might not land or you may never be really scared - but they never clash either. Through the constant shift between horror and humor, the tone stays in tact. That, combined with the acting, writing, and overall direction make for quite the experience.
If you asked Wes Anderson, Judd Apatow, and Edgar Wright to create something together, I’m confident they would make this film. That’s how much it feels inspired by the three of them. Anderson’s composition, Apatow’s dark humor, and Wright’s wit are all tangible here. Ahern and Loughman’s voices never get lost though. For instance, there are a lot of on-the-nose references to iconic horror films like The Exorcist. There are also times where they could lean heavier into the horror genre, but instead opt to double down on the comedy.
One particularly hilarious scene that comes to mind is the “low speed” chase that happens in the third act. Without giving too much away, the name says it all. Overall, the directors simultaneously pay homage to old films while remaining wholly original, and their work is consistently elevated by the equally original plot.
The film revolves around a driving instructor by the name of Rose Dooley. Teaching people how to drive isn’t her only proficiency though. She can also communicate with the dead. Well, she used to anyway… until the death of her dad. That changes when a local teen is kidnapped. She teams up with the teen’s dad to find her, and it leads her to a former pop singer who wants to sacrifice the teen to the devil for a second chance at fame.
The story is simple, but it’s also really short. Clocking in at just over 90 minutes, it actually feels like it’s about 80. Certain scenes do drag on; for instance, there’s a pseudo seance in the third act. Others, like the climax, feel rushed. Overall, it would have been nice to spend a little more time with the characters, considering how interesting they all were and how well they were portrayed.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
No pun intended, but Irish actress and comedian Maeve Higgins is extraordinary in this. She plays Rose, and honestly, having never seen her in anything else prior, I was impressed. She’s the perfect balance between awkward and funny. I hope to see her in more films in the future.
While there is a decent ensemble, the only performance worth noting, in my opinion, was Will Forte’s. He plays the former pop singer turned satanist, Christian Winter. It should come as no surprise that Forte is a riot in this because he’s great in everything he’s in. From MacGruber to Nebraska, he’s never disappointed and has a distinguished yet underrated screen presence. Seeing him as the villain in this was especially enjoyable because he has fun with everything he does, from reading rituals to worshipping demons.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The overall sound is okay. While the score and the sound design are really instrumental in establishing the film’s tone throughout, there’s nothing new or noteworthy done that’s worth mentioning.
The film is pretty light when it comes to design. And with the exception of a finger sliced off in the third act, the use of makeup is also pretty light.There are a lot of effects on display here though. I’d say that maybe 90% of the film’s effects were done practically, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t done well. All of the animated objects and floating people look legit.
The only scene with heavy special effects is the climax, and that’s because it may or may not involve a demon. Despite being a little on the cartoonish side, it’s not enough to ruin the film.
"Can One Not Just Sacrifice A Virgin In Peace?"
Genre: Comedy. Fantasy. Horror.
This film is equal parts strange, silly, campy, and cool. I can honestly say that I haven’t seen anything like it in so long, and I doubt there’ll be anything like it for another long time. Just imagine if David Lynch directed a feature length SNL skit. I apologize for the double entendre, but it really would be Extra Ordinary.