Weirdsville (DVD)

Weirdsville is one of those films that, a couple of minutes in, suddenly pauses, rewinds and then flashes up a caption saying "A week ago..." Now normally I feel a sense of dread at this point; it's such a tired, overused device. It should be banned, and the next director to use it should be forced, A Clockwork Orange-style, to sit through repeat showings of Norbit for a week, then his eyes poked out with the biro once used by the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael.

But I'm in a forgiving mood this week, and Allan Moyle (who delivered us such delights as Empire Records, The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag and Pump Up the Volume) has certainly crafted one of the more quirky films to come along in some time. The heroes of the story are a couple of stoner buddies, but they turn out to be more Bill and Ted than Jay and Silent Bob. Dexter (Speedman) and Royce (Bentley) are cruising along in life, dealing with minor day-to-day problems such as owing their drug dealer a substantial sum of cash and having to suddenly dispose of the body of their friend Matilda, who has overdosed. So they decide to bury her at the local drive-in (as you do) but are disturbed by a satanic cult who are also using said drive-in for a ritual sacrifice. (Doesn't anyone go to the drive-in to watch films any more? Actually, did they ever?)

Throw in an ageing hippie in a coma (Frewer), a break-and-enter with a garden gnome, a bunch of medieval-roleplaying midgets who run around hitting people with maces and a terrific indie soundtrack and you've got the perfect flick for a Saturday night in front of the telly with a pizza and a six-pack. It's a cheerful and charming black comedy that will make you smile more than laugh out loud. How can you not love a film that has a character who wears a Goatse T-shirt? Or that co-stars Matt Frewer, who once had 15 minutes of fame playing the computer-generated talking head Max Headroom? The two leads supply decent performances and have a comfortable rapport with each other, while the rest of the cast seem to be having a lot of fun with the silliness. And you will, too.

EXTRAS **** A featurette called The Unmaking of a Title, in which we spend time with the 'creative team' trying to decide what to actually call the film; a featurette called Callbacks, which goes behind the scenes of the casting process; an interview with writer William Wennekers on Writing Weirdsville; a series of interviews with the cast and crew, called A Brief Tour of Weirdsville; a featurette called The Bong Show, which is basically the producer and director shopping for a bong to use in the film; a featurette called Go With Satan, all about the filming of the rituals used in the film; and further interviews with cast members Scott Speedman, Wes Bentley, Taryn Manning and Matt Frewer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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