Friday, January 01, 2021

Broil – review

Director: Edward Drake

Release date: 2020

Contains spoilers

So there is little out there to suggest Broil is a vampire film (in actual fact the film flirts with the V word and then suggests it is much more complicated than that but the basic lore is vampire), indeed there is more to push you towards cannibalism (there is an act of cannibalism). That is unless you live in Germany where the film goes under the title Vampire Dinner. I do not believe listing it as a vampire film is a spoiler, the clues are there from the very start of the film.

Note the inverted cross

So, what we have is an interesting film that tells you less than you need to know but revels in its mysteries. A film that owes as much to Greek tragedies as it does the horror genre and a film that has a fascinating set of characters that deserved to be explored much more than they were but managed to keep you enjoying them.

cross gets hot

It starts with Chance (Avery Konrad, Van Helsing) who is sat by a campfire talking of her life as a member of the Sinclair family and the film cuts to her at a party. She walks to a room for a liaison, but another girl bursts in and takes her picture. Chance finds her and head butts her. We cut to the headmistress’ room where Chance lies sleeping across a set of chairs and the headmistress (Samantha Hum) tries to call her parents – they’ve been trying all night. The cross the headmistress wears suddenly glows hot and she rips it off and we see that a cross near Chance has inverted itself.


Chance is suspended for a day and her mother, June (Annette Reilly), and father December (Nels Lennarson, Van Helsing, Sanctuary, Blood Ties & Blade: the Series), leave her in charge of her sister Luck (Alice Antoinette Comer) whilst they go on a business trip. As they leave she is warned that it is supposed to be sunny so stay away from the windows and to remember her transfusion. The transfusion looks odd when she hooks the blood bag up by jabbing the needle straight into her stomach.

delivering Chance

The next day there is another altercation at school and the parents are phoned again. They are in conference with family patriarch August (Timothy V. Murphy), they *need 11 more* and argue that their siblings are taking the wrong sort of souls – addicts and weak people. June says that they are meant to serve a higher purpose. After the call she say to him it will be their last harvest – but he is not for releasing them from their duty nor letting her succeed him as head of the family. He suggests 100 more but eventually gives her an offer of 1 more harvest – plus their firstborn. Chance has to move to her grandfather’s home.

Chef and August

We also meet Sydney “the Chef” (Jonathan Lipnicki, the Little Vampire), a young man with a penchant for cooking and murder. He seems socially awkward and one habit he has is that for four years he has visited the same coffee stand every day, which is run by Dakota (Jenna Berman) and Adelaide (Megan Peta Hill). He is recruited by June to be the chef at the next harvest where he will poison August with a particularly poisonous type of Hemlock that grows in silver mines. The question is, will August be so easily fooled? 

the house

It is the Chef who raises the V word when he asks an ignorant Chance, “Sinclairs; vampire, demons or werewolf cult, which is it?” Chase believes she has a skin condition that is genetic and causes a reaction against vitamin D when in the sun and has to have her transfusions – the Chef concludes vampire. Chance counters with the fact that they are rich and therefore weird. The house seems to be in another dimension – an approaching car will vanish when it crosses a point on the road and the landscape has giant statues on display.

mirror image 
As for the family – there is a moment which seems to be the result of the harvest, with energy being transferred and gathered. They do need blood to survive, though only the specific hemlock, silver and sunlight are said to actually kill them (noting also that a Sinclair can kill a Sinclair with physicality, it appears). We do see Chance's reflection acting separately to her. They gained their power millennia before when August stole the power of the King of Horns (by ripping his heart out and we can assume that is the devil) and one of the names he has gone by is Dracula. 

Daughter May (Alyson Bath) does show fangs at one point, loses her eyes (and is told they will grow back soon) and there seems to be an incestuous relationship with August (though it is unclear whether any of the family are siblings by birth or just by patriarchal decree). Whilst comment is made that it is more complicated than vampires they are, for all intents and purposes, just that.


So, they are a vampire family of demonic heritage – though they were meant to serve a noble purpose and they seem to harvest the energy of souls. The film doesn’t use a totally linear storytelling pattern and often teases rather than reveals. There isn’t too much gore – despite the cannibalism on display. The strongest part of this is within the performances. Avery Konrad runs a pleasant performance – though the film itself thrust her forward as the central character and then pulls back to make her more of a semi-supporting role. Timothy V. Murphy is simply fantastically sinister as the family patriarch but the real star is Jonathan Lipnicki taking his character’s awkwardness and making something special out of it. Certainly worth a watch, I was intrigued as I watched and know it is a film I’ll return to. 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

On DVD @ Amazon UK

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