Director: Menhaj Huda
Year of release: 2012
Country of origin: UK
Running time: 90 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Tagline: "It's fun getting high...but the comedown is killer".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: As a British urban slasher set on a rough London council estate, Comedown follows a group of youths as they attempt to set up an aerial on the roof of a derelict block of flats. As a means of getting a pirate radio station on the air the fitting of the aerial will reward the group with both money and drugs from the grateful radio crew.
After carrying out the task the friends make the error of remaining on site at the flats to partake in a little partying. Not only does this attract the attention of a rival local gang but it also serves to raise the ire of a reclusive madman who unbeknownst to all and sundry has taken up residence within the building. Before too long the hard nosed kids begin to realise they’ve made a grave mistake indeed in lingering within the abandoned tower block.
Good points: *I enjoyed watching the cast of six young friends who made up the group who broke into the flats to set up the aerial. Being rough, chav, wannabee gangster type characters as they are some may be turned off but for me I thought it made a change from the norm. They were well played as well by the actors filling the roles and all came across in a believable and authentic way.
Comedown has more of a final boy than girl which again sets it apart somewhat and this character, a young man named Lloyd was a bit more layered than the other thuggish types and comes across as more likeable. His character is played by Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm of GOT fame) so a familiar face to many who brings a bit of star power to the project.
The other characters such as Kelly and Col for example also held my attention but my personal favourite was Jason whom I found to be very charismatic and entertaining. As vile as he was at times he demanded my attention.
*Spoilers: Some of the death scenes are really good with a throat impalement through a door being a nice moment as was an intense scene involving someone being thrown down a dust chute. Again my favourite of the kills was related to the Jason character and his demise as a result of a nail gun. Unfortunately there aren’t nearly enough kills but at least the deaths which are featured are mostly worthwhile.
*The rundown abandoned block of flats makes for an effective setting and although it’s a bit too dark sometimes and hard to make out exactly what’s happening it’s an atmospheric backdrop. At the same time it ties in well with the gritty and dirty feel of the film as a whole.
Beyond the flats themselves the setting in general of a very rough gang infested part of inner city London offers a different taste to what I’m accustomed to in the genre and add to that the British accents and you have something that stands out among the rest of the pack.
Bad Points: *The caretaker killer Ray Grady didn’t do it for me and comes across largely as a disappointment. Appearance-wise he doesn’t fit the bill looking very ordinary and boring. Initially he didn’t look that bad clad in a big coat with a hood bringing up memories of Urban Legend. This didn’t last long unfortunately as he quickly sheds the coat to reveal a middle aged man on his way to becoming elderly. Any shred of menace he’d managed to establish fades away at this point at least for me.
As well as not looking the part he has little to no backstory either. All I learnt was that in addition to once being a boxer he is also a pigeon fancier. Indeed it’s pigeons and the fact that some of them may have been set alight and killed by one of the kids in the past which leads to Ray Grady going after the group. Killing people because of pigeons yes, It has to be one of the most ludicrous justifications for a killing spree I’ve come across. All in all the character comes across as underdeveloped and hastily cobbled together with the film suffering because of it.
*As effective as the block of flats is as a setting it makes things very dark sometimes making it tough to pick out what’s happening. One such example is when a character named Col discovers something related to pigeon eggs which had been smashed on the floor earlier but it was so dark I couldn’t make out what I was supposed to be seeing. Similarly there is a scene where rats are discovered underneath a box but I couldn’t make out when the box was lifted due to the darkness so it lost a bit of its power. Presumably said rats were supposed to have been feeding on a body part from a previous victim but it was hard to tell.
*I noted a few random things which I think either didn’t make sense or weren’t well enough explained. Firstly early on in the film the kids sneak past a security guard station type thing but I wasn’t sure why an old disused block of flats would have one of these or at least not one which seemed to be occupied which presumably it was for them to sneak past.
Later on there is a part where the killer is seen dragging a bag of gore along a corridor for no apparent reason as we never se what he does with the bag.
Mild spoiler: Lastly it was too hard to swallow that the stairwell exits could be blocked up so quickly with chicken wire as it seemed the killer would be otherwise occupied and simply wouldn’t have the time to rig it all up without an accomplice.
*Spoiler: The ending is a little silly as it’s far fetched that Llloyd would have the whole thing pinned on him. Maybe initially the police might mistake him for the killer or regard him with suspicion but I don’t think this would still be the case six months later. Even if much of the crime scene was destroyed in the fire the bodies of Col and Kelly wouldn’t have burnt so there would be evidence to be found there. I suppose you could argue the police knew Lloyd was innocent but pinned it on him anyway due to him being an ex con and not wanting to admit to the public that they didn’t know who it was.
*I wasn’t keen on the Saw inspired elements and the torture scenes with the gang member and Jemma. They didn’t add much for me and seemed poorly put together when compared to the rest of the film.
Verdict: A far from perfect slasher with a disappointing killer doing his best to upset the apple cart. In spite of some flaws I’d still recommend Comedown though mainly for the gritty and atmospheric setting of rough urban England together with the wannabee gangster type characters. Both contribute to a slasher with a different taste than most. It could have done with a bigger body count but as long as you don’t expect anything too amazing then you may have a decent enough time with this.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Gang member 1: Impaled through the back of the head with knife.
2)Gang member 2: Captured off camera, tied up and later tortured to death. Possibly may have even already been dead when we first see him so if so he would have been the first killed.
3)Jason: Shot multiple times with nail gun.
4)Kelly: Thrown head first down a long waste disposal chute.
5)Gary: Burns to death.
6)Col: Thrown off balcony after a lengthy hand to hand fight with the killer. Impaled on something during the fall, possibly a flag pole.