Friday, November 12, 2021

Ankle Biters (2021)

Movie Name/Year: Ankle Biters (2021) [aka Cherrypicker]
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Flax Films, Warehouse Film Distribution, Dark Star Pictures
Director: Bennet De Brabandere
Writer: Bennet De Brabandere, Zion Forrest Lee
Actors: Colin Mochrie, Matia Jackett, Marianthi Evans, Zion Forrest Lee, Jani Lauzon, Lily Gail Reid, Evert Houston, Rosalee Reid, Marienne Castro
Blurb from IMDb: Four adorable little girls plot to murder a hockey player after they mistake an act of lovemaking as an attack on their mom.

Selina’s Point of View:
Although Ankle Biters is labeled as a comedy horror, there wasn’t much I found funny.
All the humor was based on the shock value of 4 young children being psychopaths. The idea itself does have some merit. I’ve seen it play out successfully before. It just has to be done right. Ankle Biters never quite got there.
What I wound up watching was a disturbing thriller. I think, if they’d leaned into the horror aspect a bit more – completely abandoning all hope of comedy – Ankle Biters could have wound up being the kind of film you don’t watch with the lights off. With a few actors recast, and some script tweaking, it could have even been outstanding.

Unfortunately, it was like a first draft that someone gave up on and sent to the presses anyway.
Ankle Biters is not what I’m looking for in my comedy horrors.
If you want to see for yourself, it releases November 16 on demand and DVD.

Cat’s Point of View:
My skin is crawling. Everything is just creepier with kids.
Ankle Biters was definitely successful in bringing horror to the table, but I’m not entirely sure about the comedic element. I spent the duration of the film on a rollercoaster of cringe and horror, with the occasional face-palm. I just didn’t find where I was supposed to be laughing. It didn’t even find the dark comedy lane that has you feeling guilty for your laughter. Not even a chuckle, I tell you.
Part of what took the wind out of the proverbial comedic sails in those moments was that I already knew what was going to happen. The audience doesn’t have to guess because the framework of the story gave it away. It’s easier to find the humor in dark comedy if there’s a glimmer of hope that things might be ok when all is said and done. Ankle Biters was a bit bleak in that regard since the film was spent primarily in flashback. We’re learning how and why something happened. The outcome was a foregone conclusion.

There was just something…off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it while watching, and I am still struggling.
The cast performances ran a bit hot and cold for me. Some of the dialogue and action felt a bit bumbled. In other moments, I was buying what the cast and scene were selling. The little girls, who are all sisters in the real world, were actually pretty amazing – terrifyingly so. They were the high point of Ankle Biters.
With all that said, I’m still on the fence. I don’t think I hated it, but I can’t say that I loved it either. If you have the opportunity to watch it, give it a shot and see how you feel when the credits roll.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 1.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating2.5/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

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