It is a classic plot line and countless horror films strive on it; the tables are turned at some point during the third act of the film, and the hunter becomes the hunted. At first glance the UK short ‘Roadkiller’, written by Will Dingli and directed by Kate Cheeseman, is no different. When we first heard about the dry black-comedy horror, we expected a somewhat predictable interpretation of the same theme. But ‘Roadkiller’ turns out to be a pleasant surprise; a well choreographed and solid short with a classic feel and a twist you don’t see coming.
One dull day the greedy salesman Gavin (Philip Davis) murders a badger for food. For some time an animal cult have been watching him collect and eat road kill, but now he has crossed a line. His actions that day set off a weird chain of events culminating in a visit to a seemingly gentle elderly customer. However, Gavin has been lured into the clutches of an animal cult who are intent on bloody revenge. This is what happens when the hunter becomes the hunted!
Philip Davis’ convincing performance as the greedy and somewhat ruthless insurance salesman Gavin draws a regular picture of an average guy. So normal, it is downright creepy. He goes about his usual routine of preparing a meal on the side of the road as nonchalantly as visiting his customers to sell them an insurance policy. Since he obviously fails to see anything unusual in his behaviour, the thought of it being out of the ordinary or even offensive to anyone else, does not occur to him. Also Mrs. Aylene, played by Susan Tracy, a client he visits on business, appears to be just a charming nice old lady living on a remote farm with her son – until it all goes bad.
None of the characters of ‘Roadkiller’ are what they seem to be, a premise the film fulfills with great success to the very end. You have heard about the police arresting the nondescript bloke next door, enlightening the unsuspecting neighbours he is actually a serial killer? ‘Roadkiller’ causes exactly that kind of would-never-have-thought reaction. The setting on the small country roads and the remote, almost romantic farm in Surrey lulls Gavin into a false sense of safety and innocence, shared by the audience. Only when Thom Monckton enters the picture as the landlady’s live at home son in the fashion of classic horror movies, things develop rapidly towards the unexpected end. When you love classic horror and prefer a good dose of bone-dry dark humor to buckets of blood, ‘Roadkiller’ is for you.
HorrorBug: How did you get involved with ‘Roadkiller’?
Kate Cheeseman: “I was introduced to Will (Dingli) through a mutual friend that I had been doing some script editing for. He thought that Will had some interesting ideas and I was looking for a short film to work on and hadn’t been able to find any good scripts.”
HorrorBug: What was the inspiration for the film?
Kate Cheeseman: “Will’s idea of a film about a cult getting revenge on a guy who liked eating their precious badgers had been inspired by a documentary about a man who lived off road kill and the idea really appealed to me. Together we worked on the script until it was ready to shoot.”
HorrorBug: Investing time in a script is one thing, but producing it takes money. How did you finance the short?
Kate Cheeseman: It was impossible to raise money, as there is so little for short films and most goes to those who the film councils think are ‘up and coming’. We therefore financed it ourselves and begged favours from friends and people we knew. Phil Davis liked the script, agreed to do it, along with an old family friend Susan Tracy who is another great actress. Both were wonderful. Phil is presently in Fast Girls as the coach and in Silks. He has also recently been in Whitechapel and Brighton Rock.”
HorrorBug: How was filming ‘Roadkiller’?
Kate Cheeseman: It was shot on a farm in Surrey in the middle of woodland through the night… quite spooky! No badgers were hurt during the making of the film, though we did have to put a stuffed one on a skateboard!
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Release Date: (TBA)
Director: Kate Cheeseman
Author: William Dingli
Philip Davis – Gavin
Susan Tracy – Mrs. Aylene
Thom Monckton – Son