Lowlifes Banner

Lowlifes (2024) Review – Dark Bridges

A family loads up the RV and heads off to the secluded countryside in search of rest and relaxation, only to get hassled by unfriendly locals. Directed by Tesh Guttikonda (Just Another Ghost Story, Make Me Feel) and Saskatoon local Mitch Oliver (The Druid’s Hand), Lowlifes is a fresh take on some classic horror plots.

To reveal much more would certainly ruin the film for those eager to see it. Suffice it to say that the film deviates from the norm straight from the film’s cold open on the family enjoying their barbecue. Really enjoyed the tropes being turned on their heads, and loved the nods to classic horror that I grew up with, like The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Suffice it to say that it involves a family from the city Keith (Matthew MacCaull, Deadly Midwife, The Island Between Tides), Kathleen (Elyse Levesque, Ready or Not, Disquiet), Amy (Amanda Fix, North of Normal, Orphan Black: Echoes) and Jeffery (Josh Zaharia, Upside-Down Magic, The Legend of La Llorona) on an RV trip. After the inevitable mishap they find themselves guests of backwoods clan, the Clearys, Savannah (Brenna Llewellyn, Gray Matter, Role Play), Juli Ann (Cassandra Sawtell, Boy in the Walls, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) Neville (Kevin McNulty, Parallel, The Uninvited), and Big Mac (Dayleigh Nelson, Detective Knight: Redemption, Been There All Along).

Lowlifes 1

Some things I really enjoyed about the movie were the movie’s madcap pacing, the writing, the practical effects, and how the story’s slightly unreliable narrative makes the ending erupt in chaos. The film never slows down for a moment, and I always enjoyed how things got progressively weirder regardless of which conversation was happening between characters.

Al Kaplan’s (Zombeavers, Critters: A New Binge) writing is great, and some of the best lines in the film are the jokes he’s written into the script. Though I can’t reveal too much, the line “I eat pussy, not people!” made me howl with laughter. I would be remiss without a nod toward Todd Masters, a master of his craft in special effects. Famous for work like Predator, Tales From the Crypt, Dune Part Two, Sonic the Hedgehog and Slither, fans of his work will notice it here.

Lowlifes 2

At the Q&A, director Mitch Oliver came up with the answer to a question I was still trying to put words to when the question was asked. I don’t remember exactly how the question was worded, but it was a question about the tropes of horror cinema. Mitch’s answer was so thoughtful and intelligent.

He said when he was young, he had a huge place in his heart for classic horror movies, but he wanted to feel respected as a film goer. He said he wanted to make a horror film that respected his audience, with an awareness of and an appreciation for the audience’s collective knowledge of all the horror movies they might have seen previously.

I totally understood what he meant. Movies like The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies have stayed with me, making me into the horror fan I am today. But if I went back to those movies nowadays, I would find that they didn’t challenge me in the same way that they did when I first watched them as a young adult. This cognizance of and admiration for past horror films is something that audiences bring to the screening of Lowlifes.

Lowlifes 3

And this respect for the audience’s really informs the filmmaking process that goes into Lowlifes. And that respect for the process goes both ways. So many of us get to enjoy films and stories and talk about them. But for a humble Saskatchewan boy like Mitch Oliver, one can really see how he views being able to direct and tell the story as an immense privilege. With this in mind, he sees telling the quirky, fun story of Lowlifes as a tremendous storytelling responsibility, not to be squandered.

With Lowlifes and the Lowlifes film Q&A in the bag, it was on to enjoy a 45th Anniversary edition of George A. Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead, the second instalment of the ubiquitous zombie franchise. That was my coverage of the second day of June 2024’s Dark Bridges film festival.

Lowlifes is available on Tubi in the US and on Crave in Canada.

YouTube video
Where to watch Lowlifes
Our Score

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top