Written by James Rodrigues

From the opening moments, director and co-writer Rony Patel tells you what you need to know about this film. As we hear an officer talking on a police radio, a man walks to the camera with a menacing look on his face. He’s carrying a bag containing severed heads, while jaunty music plays, as though a feel-good heist is about to occur. We may be seeing a grisly image, but it’s clear the tone will veer towards the comedic.

After this, we’re introduced to The Matthews. Liv comes home from a day at work, to a meal prepared by her husband, Chuck. They have a home-made dinner date, share in some laughs, and have a tender dance scene. We easily buy into their relationship, thanks to how wonderfully Atala Arce and Jake Taylor sell it. We see their personal lows, as well as efforts to comfort one another, and are never in doubt of the love they share.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the end for their night together. A pizza delivery arrives at their place, delivered by the serial killer from the opening scene. Portrayed by an intimidating David Harper, the killer has selected the Matthews as his next targets, for his own grisly purposes. What then occurs puts a fun twist on the home invasion story, taking an unexpected turn that leaves you wondering what will happen next.

Making his feature debut as a director, Rony Patel has picked a fun idea to work with, one that would sustain a 10-minute short film. This is further reflected in the following 70 minutes, which doesn’t hold a clear idea of how the story should continue. There’s a sense Patel and co-writer Andrew Ericksen threw whatever they could at the wall, in the hopes that something would stick.

There’s a kernel of an idea here, about one night which keeps escalating out of the characters control. The creators of 2018’s Game Night gave this idea life, with exceptional results, but the chaos they created felt like it held purpose, where the laughs could naturally come forth. Meandering between ideas, without proper direction, just makes a short runtime feel unfathomably longer. Here, the comedic tone never truly lands, while the amount of off-screen violence may feel like a cheat for horror fans. It makes for an infuriating time, and before long, you just want to tell the film to “chop chop”.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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