The locals is the debut feature film from New Zealand director Greg Page, who has spent most of his career making award winning music video’s in his homeland. The Locals takes place over the course of one night and is shot almost entirely at night. Before you grown and think your going to be straining to see anything in the murky night, Page’s film is different. Page pours light all over the action making this quite possibly one of the brightest night shot films ever. Car headlights are beamed at actors along with floodlights meaning the action crystal clear and the night is almost enhanced as anything outside the range of the lights become very pitch black indeed. The scenery of New Zealand made famous by Colin Jackson and his LOTR trilogy and Pages choice of lighting means this is a great looking film for its budget.
The plot is fairly simple, but for this kind of directorial debut I think that’s the right choice, over ambition can often make lower budget films an overstretched disaster. Here Page concentrates on making this simple outline as effective as he can and for the most part succeeds. The main characters of Grant and Paul, are played to perfection, with some of the best onscreen chemistry seen in any film, they really do feel like two friends who have known each other for years and are relaxed in each others company. Again I think part of this can be attributed to the films simplicity, Page has given them real life dialogue and not that awful post Dawson’s creek era babble we have become used to in American PG-13 horror movies. The script has some nice little touches at the start that flesh out the characters more like the LOTR’s conversation and waving at the Japanese girls on the bus.
Greg Page’s debut is a fun film that achieves a great look for the budget; his “Bright Night” style is great and is a concept that works really well. The actors are all good in their roles injecting a lot of humour and personality in the film, particularly the leads who are perfect. Featuring some good twists and turns, humour, action and the occasional scare the locals won’t be giving your brain cells to much of a work out but it certainly provides good popcorn horror fun that’s a cut above a lot of its higher budget competitors.