Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Our friends over in Northern Europe have started to churn out a pretty cool stream of horror flicks in recent years. From the hilariously bloody Dead Snow flicks and slasher throwback Cold Prey to the haunting Let The Right One In, from Evil Dead homage Wither and dark fantasy of Thale to the jaw-dropping Trollhunter, our Scandinavian chums GET IT.
What makes these movies so strong (aside from a wonderfully rich and disturbing folklore from which to draw inspiration) is the decidedly kooky sense of humour inherent in them.
I was pretty damn excited when I first heard about American Burger, a screwball horror comedy that takes the familiar western teens end up in a bad place trope to some interesting places.
After a bit of back and forth with the producers of the movie I found myself sitting down and ready to tuck into American Burger.
Would it tickle the tastebuds? Or is this one bad meat?
Read on…


Dir: Johan Bromander, Bonita Drake
Starring: Fredrik Hiller, Lena Bengston, Benjamin Brook, Ben Thornton, Liam Macdonald, Charlie Petersson, Hanna Nygren, Gabriel Freilich, Madeleine Borg, Aggy Kukawka

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here but read on at your own risk.

As part of a cultural school trip a busload of stereotypical students, consisting of nerds (Brook, Thornton, MacDonald and Petersson), jocks (including Quarterback, played by Freilich) and cheerleaders (whose number includes Kukawka, Borg and Nygren) head to the tiny Eastern European nation of Kraketch.
After their teacher (Bengston) takes them off the main road to the factory responsible for producing the delicious titular American Burgers, they meet the bizarre mastermind behind the meat, the Demented Butcher (a wonderful Hiller). The butcher talks to the students and staff before giving a silent cue and sending forth an army of white-clad slaughterhouse workers with one thing on their mind — put more Americans in the burgers!
As the few surviving students flee into the woods, their plight looks hopeless. Who will survive? Is this really the 'Best. Summer. Ever'? And just how many clothes will the hapless Adorable Cheerleader shed on her journey?

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Much like Zombeavers, American Burger is a horror-comedy that is legitimately hilarious. Part Porkies-part Hostel, this is a deliciously heady cocktail of blood and belly-laughs. The cliched High School archetypes are well utilised and the dialogue is full of witty gags and quotable soundbites. Credit really must go to the writers (Bromander, Drake and Martin Wrench) for how funny they've made the movie. Visual gags, gross out humour and some of the funniest verbal exchanges I've heard in some time — this flick has it all!
There is no hiding from the fact that they've completely embraced the stereotypical nature of their characters — rather than give the characters actual names in the script or end credits they are instead given succinct descriptions such as Preppy Nerd, Ponytail Cheerleader, Quarterback or even Jock 1. It is not a movie that pretends to be about some deeper, more significant meaning — its sole purpose is to entertain and, by God, it does it in spades.
This is helped by the very attractive, enthusiastic young cast. It would be remiss to not mention how photogenic the cute cheerleaders and buff, athletic jocks are, but there is so much to the cast than that. They all possess impeccable comic timing and are no slouches in the acting department either. I especially liked the work of the brilliant Brook and MacDonald, whose comedy double act is one of the highlights of the film. The pair have a wonderful rapport and with an American Burger sequel on the way, I hope the filmmakers find a way to get these guys back. One of the finest performances in the flick came from fellow Nerd Petersson. As the perpetually pissed-on, unlucky, butt of the joke, he managed to give his character some real personality. He's one to watch for sure. 
Among the ladies the adorable Borg was just that, taking a ditzy character yet making her likeable while leading-lady-in-the-making Kukawka and tough and pretty Nygren prove themselves highly talented actresses too. It's a shame there's not more of Nygren who steals most of her scenes but the legitimately personable and accomplished Kukawka has plenty of great screen moments.
Of course, it's not just the youngsters who account themselves admirably — Bengston is a riot as the teacher who discovers an unexpected talent for kicking arse, but arguably the best performance in the film is the truly fantastic Hiller. Wide-eyed, jittery, a firm aggressive perfectionist and howling emotional wreck all in one, Hiller's Demented Butcher is up there with the very finest characters I've seen in any of the movies I've reviewed here at the House. When Back to Kraketch starts production later this year I have only one request — MORE HILLER. 
Equally fun is the film's soundtrack of very cool and very catchy tunes — I'll be downloading Best. Summer. Ever immediately!
Finally, I want to credit the film's production values — it looks, sounds and feels like a proper movie, missing the rough edges present in a lot of Indie horror flicks. From the beautifully shot lush green forest to the blood-soaked and splattery butcher attacks, Bromander, Drake and cinematographer Ævar Páll Sigurðson create a film as easy on the eyes as it is fun.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): One of the big complaints that I've seen levelled at American Burger time and time again, is the accents of the students. This is a film with a large European cast and, for quite a few of them, an American accent is a little beyond their grasp. Personally, I didn't care a jot and found the iffy accents a massive part of the European charm of the flick. However, if this sort of thing is likely to get in the way of enjoying a movie, consider yourself warned.
Some have suggested that the acting is not up to scratch with a couple of the actors — honestly I think the accent acts as a barrier here, the sometimes stilted sounding delivery being misconstrued as poor acting. Honestly, I had no problem with the acting and enjoyed most of the cast a lot.
Personally a couple of gags fell flat, but when there are so many others that are side-splittingly hilarious that really isn't a big deal at all. Suffice it to say there are FAR more hits than misses.
Finally, a few people may be a little disappointed at the lack of horror in this horror-comedy. Honestly, it's far more of a black comedy than a film that combines scares and laughs. It is frightening, but it is painfully funny. I was a little let down by the surprisingly low gore levels in the movie. Considering the subject matter (group of insane Eastern European cannibalistic butchers capture and slaughter people to make in burgers) there is very little in the way of entrails and dismembered, filleted body parts on display. Some stomach churning gore gags could have fit in nicely with the more visceral humour on display. Maybe that's something we'll see more of in Back to Kraketch?

THE VERDICT: American Burger is bloody brilliant. One of the best comedies I've seen in a very long time with a ghoulish frisson of the macabre just to give it a little more spice. When it comes to fun flicks, American Burger really is a whopper! I'd DEFINITELY recommend this movie to you, it has a great cast, it looks fantastic, the soundtrack rocks and , much like the white-clad Kraketch butchers, the laughs are unrelenting.
You can purchase or rent the film right here, so check it out! Also be sure to visit the film's official Facebook page here. Give it a Like while you do, the very talented folks over at LittleBig Productions deserve it!

Also, If you haven’t already, do please check out and Like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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