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Weirdsville (2007)

by on 2013/03/15

Weirdsville (2007)

“I don’t care if your mom wants you to plow the driveway, this is Lucifer’s will!”

* * *

From the blurb on the back of this discount video, I expected a Weekend at Bernie’s, with Bernie’s corpse being dragged around Ontario.

Which might explain why it’s been sitting untouched for so long . . . and that’s a bit of a shame. It didn’t start too promisingly, but redeemed itself in the end, a bit like my recent viewing of Assassins’ Ball.

It’s more the sort of predicament where fate conspires to keep its pawns trapped in a small town despite – or because of – their desperation to escape.

It begins with down-and-out junkies Dex (Underworld’s Scott Speedman) and Royce (Jonah Hex’s Wes Bentley) confronted with the overdosed body of Royce’s girlfriend, Mattie (Taryn Manning).

First they decide to bury her and, later, to skip town. It goes without saying (but here I go) that both decisions are easier said than done. For one thing, they’re cursed with really bad judgment – not luck, judgment – making the experience of watching somewhat frustrating.

Fortunately, they’re surrounded by even grander ineptitudes, which cross their path and complicate things, but also add plenty of laughs. In fact, as the story goes along, and characters are added, it balloons into an ensemble, with comedy proportionate to the cast’s size.

Standout players are familiar faces for Canadian movie fans, including Raoul Bhaneja (Touch of Pink), Greg Bryk (Men with Brooms), Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer (Dead Fire), and Jordan Prentice (The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico).

I’m glad I wound up enjoying myself because, initially, I was concerned. While the production was certainly stylish, I can’t relate to the junkie experience. I found the “humour” unfunny, with its frantic screaming, delusions, and constant errors of panic and stupidity.

In time, however, better characters emerged from the doped-up shells of our anti-heroes. Royce considers himself a deep thinker and, improbably, so does everyone else. His occasional malapropisms were amusing, if somewhat overplayed, yet served to explain his inspired moments, solving problems with unlikely combinations.

For his part, Dex is less ostentatious. He’s there to be our gateway (forgive me) and provides compassion, humanity, and sometimes good advice. He exudes the suspicion there’s something more than their pitiful existence, and is patient with his “thoughtful” partner’s idiocies.

All in all, Weirdsville is a strange grab bag of contradictions. A small feature with a sprawling cast. A smart look at ineptitude. A comedy, but oh so dark. It’s got drug trips, curling mobsters, Satanic rituals, brain-damaged hippies, dwarfs out cruising for revenge, and violence aplenty. Somehow, for all its whirling chaos, it’s a modest little gem, one which I would happily recommend, assuming you like your heists and thrillers projected through a very cracked prism.

* * *

Rated 14A (Canada) / R (United States)

90 minutes

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