With plenty of style, some good early tension, a strong cast and a different idea, Broil really should have been great. Unfortunately, a muddled plot and lacking second half ends up stopping it reaching greatness. It’s still a good movie, it’s just not a great movie.
Directed by Edward Drake and co-written with Piper Mars, Broil stars Avery Konrad as Chance Sinclair. A teenage girl with anger issues that get her into a lot of trouble at school. Her initial introduction is genuinely brilliant as she outright headbutts one of the mean girls, breaking her nose.
Obviously, her school problems put her at loggerheads with her parents. It’s not just the fights or her health issues (she has to have regular blood transfusions and can’t be in the sun for too long) but that she is a Sinclair. A dynasty that dates back centuries and ruled over with an iron fist by Grandfather August (Timothy V. Murphy).
Her parents end up shipping her off to stay with her grandfather on his massive estate to hopefully learn what it means to be a Sinclair. What does that entail? Well, the film is very coy about the finer details but does reveal that the Sinclair harvest is due.
Chance’s parents want out but August refuses to let them go unless they take part in one more and also give up their first-born daughter, Chance. This is why she is sent to stay with him although she is not aware of that. Her parents aren’t going to give her up without a fight though and plan to poison August at the family banquet.
The chef (Jonathan Lipnicki) is hired by August to prepare the food but he has a secret extra mission and that is to take out the patriarch. It helps that he also happens to be some sort of assassin, capable of following orders with very little emotion.
Confused yet? Well, that is Broil. A horror that really does leave a lot up to the imagination. For example, what are the Sinclairs? Vampires? Demons? Something else altogether?
The lack of answers does make it feel quite haphazard come the finale but initially the mystery is very exciting. Especially as we see it from the perspective of Chance, who is about to find out just what she is. As well as the perspective of an outsider in the Chef.
The back and forth between the two characters makes for a frantic first half and it’s where the film’s strength lies. Especially as both characters are great and both actors do wonderfully. You’ll easily find yourself rooting for their survival.
It is a shame that the second part of the movie, the attempted poisoning and the aftermath, just doesn’t hold up as well. Messy might be the right word as it tries to dial up the gore, introduces horror that fails to land and makes some confusing attempts at humour. It all leads to a big twist ending that feels lacklustre only to then throw in another twist that feels totally unearned.
It’s not a complete waste of time though.
The Final Score - 6/10