The 2003 film The Locals has a title that sounds like it’s going to be one of those grisly backwoods torture films that are so popular today, but in reality, it ends up being more like an hour and a half episode of Amazing Stories. You know, a heartfelt tale veiled by some supernatural elements.
Two cute city boys hop in their car for a night of gallivanting through the countryside.
As their journey gets underway, the film keeps cutting to some mysterious plaid-wearing dude digging a grave.
But back to the boys. As night descends and they, of course, end up on a desolate dirt road in the mountains, they run into two females who are heading to a party—and look like they’re heading for a Madonna concert in 1985. The boys even ask if it’s some sort of 80s party, and one of the girls claims it’s going to be “rad” and then expresses her interest in their car, which appears to be a make she’s never heard of. Hm….
Anyway, the boys start to follow the girls to the party, end up in a car accident, losing the girls they’re following in the process, and are soon trekking along the dark country road with just a flashlight. Gee, I think I recently reviewed another film with this same exact setup. Anyway, this begins a chain of events that has the boys being chased by “the locals,” a bunch of ominous, deathly white trash guys in a pickup truck.
The film is intriguing and keeps your attention, with some tame suspense, limited gore, and little in the way of actual horror beyond the supernatural premise that unfolds. Still, it’s definitely an entertaining viewing, and actually has a melancholy payoff, which is where the Spielberg-esque twist comes in. If only there were a swelling orchestral John Williams score, your eyes would probably well up a bit.
My only major complaint about The Locals is the extreme use of bright lighting in the all-outdoor location! That sure is some strong moonlight! As a result of the saturation, it looks ridiculous having the lead character running around with a flashlight. You can barely see the beam because the lighting is so bright! Ugh! I expect so much less Hollywood lighting when I watch a low-budget flick!