Written and directed by Skye Braband Chompy and the Girls is a twisted story of depression and horror. Jackson (Christy St. John) is troubled, even going as far as trying to commit suicide. She attempts to contact her father, Sam (Steve Marvel), and right the wrongs in her life. However, when the father-daughter duo witnesses something horrific, a man swallowing a young girl whole, their lives are thrown into complete chaos.
The horror-comedy begins on a dark note as it depicts the horrific act of attempted suicide, and in this moment, viewers realize that the rest of the film will be just as ghastly. However, just as quickly as these terrible visuals fill the screen, they are gone. The tone almost instantly changes, and audiences experience odd, ironic comedy. I’m not sure that I love this abrupt transition (and I’m sure the fact that suicide is being downplayed will agitate some viewers), as I was seemingly promised something far more demented and emotionally driven than actually received. I was emotionally connected to Jackson’s struggles in the opening, but that is quickly thrown to the wayside. The film isn’t ruined entirely by the twists and turns of the writing and direction, but it is knocked down a few pegs.
The beauty of Chompy and the Girls is the truly wacky writing. Let’s be honest, the story makes little to no sense, as it leads viewers on a journey of epic proportions to seemingly nowhere at all. There doesn’t seem to be any point to what occurs throughout. It reminded me very much of David Lynch’s short What Did Jack Do? Comparisons to the likes of Lynch is one hell of a feat, but it is warranted here due to the content and delivery. The characters are driven by nonsense, and if I’m telling the truth, I enjoy nonsense. It’s simply entertainment for entertainment’s sake, and sometimes that’s exactly what the world needs.
“…a man swallowing a young girl whole…”
There are certainly moral dilemmas, but in the grand scheme of things, the picture relies most heavily on absurdist comedy and storytelling. With the exception of the opening, the film makes little sense but still manages to entertain. A plot certainly exists, but, much like the moral dilemmas, it is not the film’s purpose. It guides viewers through the journey of Jackson and Sam to a degree, but the scene transitions are more for goofy effect than following a real arc.
There are certainly glaring plotholes throughout Chompy and the Girls, but I still believe that it manages to entertain. While I enjoy it, the issue that Braband creates for his film is that his left-of-center horror/comedy appeals only to a small group of viewers. I can’t imagine that the filmmaker will put too much stock into the negative reviews of those who don’t understand his work. Sadly, the reality is that to find success, Braband needs to appeal to as many viewers as possible.
All in all, Chompy and the Girls is refreshing, even if it abandons the highly emotional opening scene in the early going. The comedy and sheer over-the-topness of it all will win over several audience members. Braband doesn’t care too much about what the world thinks and has fashioned entertainment for the sake of entertainment.
"…entertainment for entertainment’s sake...exactly what the world needs."