This British gangland horror movie – which shares a sense of underworld-at-the-end-of-its-tether numbness and enthusiasm for monologues that cast a sidelight on the action with Sean Hogan’s The Devil’s Business – rather cheekily lifts its broad strokes outline from Reservoir Dogs, which was itself famously a Quentin Tarantino skin stretched over bones assembled from earlier movies. However, its exhausted British crooks – who’ve fled to a rambling, derelict house in the country after a heist has turned into a shoot-out – are a world away from the strutting, sharp-dressed Misters of Dogs, and though the krewe has a police informant in their midst that’s not their main problem over the course of a long night as ghosts come out of the woodwork and paranoid fantasies lead to crack-ups.
The crooks are all named after horror writers or filmmakers – professional hardman underboss Carpenter (Finbar Lynch); soft-spoken garrulous old lag Barker (Struan Rodger); coked-up coulda-been-a-contender boxer Gordon (Johann Myers); worn-down club-owner with dreams of going legit Stoker (Kirk Lake); traumatised-after-shooting-a-copper Poe (Alex Wells), who is bothered by the chatty ghost of the man he’s killed (Philip Hancock); and gutshot, near-death HP (Simon Rhodes). The Godot-cum-Katelbach-cum-Joe Cabot figure is called King.
It’s a chamber piece which would work well on stage, but co-directors Matthew Benjamin Jones (who co-wrote with Lake) and Luke Skinner give it a big-screen feel even as action is confined to the house and grounds and more of that comes in dialogue – the contrast between verbal loose cannon Myers and the quieter, regretful Lake and Rodger is effective, and Lynch holds down the Harvey Keitel role with ice-eyed charisma. The score makes good use of original songs by The Limiñanas. An exercise in mood and texture rather than plot, it’s more wistful than terrifying but creeps up on you and is likely to linger in the memory.