I recently posted (or re-posted) my review of filmmaker Chris Regan’s short horror-comedy film, Jenny Ringo and the Monkey’s Paw. I quite enjoyed that one, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating Regan’s follow-up, Jenny Ringo and the Cabaret from Hell. Well, he was kind enough to give me an early peek at it and, I’m happy to say I found Regan’s second foray into the weird, wonderful world of witch Jenny Ringo and her slacker roommate, Gavin, to be a delightful way to spend a half-hour.
From the synopsis:
Jenny Ringo is a witch who lives with her slacker flatmate Gavin. When a spell to help Gavin audition as a singer in a Cabaret club backfires Jenny finds herself trapped in her flatmate’s body! But there are far worse surprises waiting for her in the mysterious Cabaret club where the audience feast on the souls of the performers and the MC keeps a terrifying secret in a bucket in her office. Can Jenny reverse the spell, save Gavin and defeat the demon MC before they both become lunch for the thing in the bucket?
As with the first film, Cabaret from Hell, has its focus in the characters of Jenny Ringo, again brilliantly portrayed by Rosie Duncan, and her lackadaisical roommate Gavin, played with louche verve by Lukas Habberton. Duncan and Habberton are both as excellent as before, but with this outing they take their respective performances to the next level, mimicking one another’s mannerisms skilfully during the body-swapping sequence. While such stories aren’t normally my cup of tea, I quite enjoyed this one. I did find the lip-syncing during the sequence, with Duncan’s voice coming out of Habberton’s mouth and vice-versa, to be a trifle disconcerting, right up until a certain scene which had me laughing out loud. And the body-swapped duet at the film’s climax is simply wonderful, thanks to the chemistry on display from Duncan and Habberton.
Cabaret from Hell is, like its predecessor, a darkly comic fable, but there’s bit more meat to it this time around, despite the short running time. While the first film felt fairly self-contained, this one indulges in a bit of world-building, with the implication that there’s more to the supernatural scrapes that Jenny and Gavin have gotten into than is evident at first glance. The script, if not as laugh out loud funny as the first one, is more polished this time around. The pacing is improved as well, and there’s a real snap-crackle-pop to things that was lacking in the first one. Frankly, this instalment feels more like the opening film of a franchise, which, to my mind, is no bad thing where these characters are concerned. Whether or not this means that the promised third film will add another layer to things, and reveal a bit more about both Jenny’s abilities and the world she and Gavin have stumbled into, I don’t know, but I look forward to finding out.
Long story short, I enjoyed this second foray into Jenny Ringo’s world as much as I did the first. It’s a wonderful film, and I encourage you to give it a shot, if you’re of a mind to watch something about witches, evictions and horrible things in buckets.
The full film will be released on the 18th of June but you will need to subscribe to the mailing list at www.jennyringo.com to see it. I recommend that you do just that post-haste, and be sure to check out the first entry, Jenny Ringo and the Monkey’s Paw.