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By Jason Delgado | June 9, 2022

At the heart of director Edward Drake’s fantasy/horror film Broil is a dysfunctional family. But, in this day and age, what family isn’t? We all have our issues with relatives, but co-writers Drake and Piper Mars throw a supernatural element into the mix. Is this family, the Sinclairs, full of demons? Maybe they’re vampires? The film tries to keep you guessing as to the answers to these questions, among others, until the end.

After getting into trouble at school, Chance Sinclair (Avery Konrad) is sent to live with her sinister grandfather August (Timothy V. Murphy) in an impressive yet spooky mansion. August puts great stock in the family name and demands much of everyone in the family. Chance’s mom, June (Annette Reilly), hires a young, troubled chef named Sydney (Johnathan Lipnicki) to poison August in order to wrestle back control of the spell that August has over her family’s lives.

Broil is a slow build for the first half, which requires a patient audience, but the second half is more rewarding for fans of the genre. It reminds me of a darker version of Twilight, but without the focus on a sappy love story (or sparkling vampires). Also, much like the aforementioned teenage vampire flick, there’s a mix of good and bad acting here.

It’s nice to see Johnathan Lipnicki back on the scene after having starred in films such as Jerry Macguire when he was an adorable child star. I always root for people like him and Jerry O’Connell to make it in the business as adults because it seems like a rarity. His character of Sydney appears to be on the autism spectrum and is easy to root for as the film moves along.

“…hires a young, troubled chef named Sydney to poison August…”

It’s interesting that we follow Chance as the main character in the first half of Broil, but then it switches to Sydney for the second. You don’t see that very often, but I wasn’t very invested in the first story. Chance didn’t keep my interest as a character because she comes off as just another clueless, troubled teenager.

Timothy V. Murphy is fantastic as August, the evil, manipulative head of the Sinclair family. Murphy is a bright, shining light of darkness in every scene. Lochlyn Munro is also a standout as Freddie Jones, Sydney’s shady boss and mentor.

The score by Hugh Wielenga is good but too overpowering at times. It gets quite loud, to the point where it’s difficult to hear the dialogue in some scenes. A score should be like special effects, blending in and adding to the feeling of what we’re seeing on screen, as opposed to distracting. It’s easier said than done though, especially on a small budget.

Broil overcomes a slow start to become an entertaining family drama/fantasy/horror tale by the end. The performances that I mentioned were on point and build enough tension for a satisfying finale. I wish that the film had come out of the gate strong, but patience is a virtue that rewards those who stick it out.

Broil (2020)

Directed: Edward Drake

Written: Edward Drake, Piper Mars

Starring: Avery Konrad, Timothy V. Murphy, Annette Reilly, Johnathan Lipnicki, Lochlyn Munro, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

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"…patience is a virtue that rewards those who stick it out."

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