The 14th annual edition of Toronto After Dark opened with an Irish hybrid – a horror meets romantic comedy that’s full of charm, laughs, and Will Forte as a Satanist.
Irish comedian Maeve Higgins is Rose, a sweet driving instructor who just happens to have a special gift when it comes to communicating with the spirit world. The daughter of a local medium, Rose is haunted by the death of her father who met his unfortunate end in an exorcism mishap involving the spirit of a dog and a haunted pothole. You know, totally relatable.
Inheriting her father’s talents, Rose is the go-to when it comes to ridding the local townsfolk of your everyday haunted rubbish bins and toasters. But when single dad Martin Martin’s (Barry Ward) daughter is put under a spell by washed up one-hit-wonder Christian Winter (Forte), he must help Rose shake off her fears and help him save his daughter. And if there’s time, perform a dead ex-wife-ercism.
There’s little gore, lots of puking, and plenty of endearing moments in the odd yet likeable Extra Ordinary.
At times downright silly, the film’s biggest strength lies in its star, Higgins, who deadpans her way through the film’s compact 95 minutes. As the story progresses from the ordinary to the extra ordinary, culminating in absolute hysterical mayhem and satanic rituals, Higgins performance holds everything together while Forte unleashes the weird.
As a man who makes a deal with the devil in order to resuscitate his career, Forte’s rock god is little more than a “Saturday Night Live” character, but that’s precisely what’s needed here. A wigged eccentric who favours ascots, flowing robes, and homemade capes for devil worshipping, Forte is best used in small doses, letting the budding relationship between Higgins and Ward shine.
The wholly unique movie is the first feature film by directing duo Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, who are collectively known as D.A.D.D.Y. The duo, who have previously directed shorts and music videos, earned raves for their film following its debut at SXSW, landing a talent development deal. The duo is also working on an original screenplay for Aardman Animation.