The Horror Honeys: 'Gravy': If 'Psych' Were a Horror Movie, This Would Be It!

'Gravy': If 'Psych' Were a Horror Movie, This Would Be It!

A Slasher Honey New Release Review by Chassity

Gravy (2015)

It’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of James Roday (actor, writer, director, and horror movie aficionado). So naturally, I would be excited for any project that has his name attached. But when you put the name “James Roday” and the words “horror comedy” together, and it really can't get any better.

I’m happy to report that Gravy did not disappoint. 

So what is Gravy? It's an insanely disturbing, really dark, yet always funny genre commentary piece about three psychos who sneak into a Mexican restaurant on Halloween to terrorize the employees and… well, to eat them. It’s basically a home invasion film that doesn’t take place in a house, takes every bit of generic dialogue and all of the “people held hostage” clichés out of the equation, then turns them on their head. It’s a film that feels like it has something to say, but in such a way that it feels like it’s not trying to say anything at all.

Fans of the show Psych won’t be surprised by how good this movie is, as Roday has already proven his love of the horror genre, as well as his talent at writing and directing horror parodies/tributes. In fact, everything that Gravy has to offer is just another argument for why horror fans do know best when it comes to making horror films. 

First, let’s talk about the villains themselves. There’s Stef (whose name I suspect is Roday’s nod to Jimmi Simpson’s resemblance to James Spader and his character in Pretty In Pink.) Then there’s his brother Anson, and Stef’s girlfriend, Mimi. Here, Roday cleverly follows the formula of invasion movies; there’s always the leader (clever, charming, and although he always tries to convince his hostages that he’s not a bad guy, he usually shows himself to be the most evil as the time passes), the second-in-command (usually dopey, easily influenced/manipulated, and somewhat afraid of the first guy), and the girl (always a sex fiend, always the leader’s girlfriend, and usually the most blatantly sadistic.)

While the male captors usually have moments of humanity, the woman feels sorry for no one, and enjoys torture the most. But these three captors? They adhere to their stereotypes to an extent, but also unconventionally so. Stef isn’t domineering; he’s actually nice at times in a genuine way and almost makes you like him. They give their input and part of Gravy’s fun is watching them fall apart as they dig into each other, while their hostages come together. 

I’ve never really talked about a film’s music before, but in this case it’s definitely worth mentioning. The music is weird, absolutely fantastic, and used perfectly in every scene in the most ironic of fashions. It’s just what one would expect from a director who loves the 80s as much as James Roday. 

And speaking of references, it wouldn’t be a Roday film if it weren’t chock full of them. The first five minutes alone speak to Halloween and Charles Manson. And from there the list just keeps piling up. Only Gravy would have its captors play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to decide which of the victims gets a break.

On the diversity front, there’s even more to love about this film. There are just as many minority characters as white, and they give the film a sense of realism that isn't always found in films like this. For example: Gabourey Sidibe’s character. It could be argued that she’s a stereotype, but she comes across as something else: a unique, gender reversal/spin on the overbearing, overly macho dude who thinks he’s tough, but actually just causes more trouble, and eventually gets put in his place. Characters who antagonize their captor are often annoying, and she’s no different. It’s pleasing to see her get shut down, just as it is with male characters in horror films, and having more female characters like this would possibly go a long way toward blurring gender lines and stereotypes.

While this is absolutely a comedic film, make no mistake, this is just as much horror as it is comedy. The charm and disarming humor of two out of the three villains isn’t enough to make you forget that they are all absolutely out of their minds and have no intention of letting anyone live. And there are definitely horrific, gruesome moments that made me turn away from the screen on multiple occasions. 

I could go on and on about why everyone should see Gravy. And you should. It’s deliciously meta, it's endless entertaining, and Jimmi Simpson is just amazing. It’s worth watching for him alone. 

If you were a Psych fan, a Community fan, or if you just love horror comedy, Gravy will be the best thing you’ve seen in a long time. And look out for a cameo at the end that will make you giddy and laugh until your sides hurt.

Slasher Honey Rating: 5 ominous aquariums out of 5

Gravy is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Google Play, & blu-ray/DVD

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