Drunken louts wind milling punches at each other, even drunker women vomiting whilst their friend holds their hair out of the way, another squats in the gutter, knickers round her ankles as she has a pee, another couple are noisily consumating their relationship against a wall and all fuelled by excess alcohol. Yes, it would be true to say that the Editors wedding reception was a memorable occasion for all the wrong reasons (‘You’re fired’ – Ed). Footage of the UK’s drunken Friday night streets all set to the Britpop anthem ‘Going out tonight’ sets the tone for why the chav underclass all become victims in this week’s new horror film , ‘K-SHOP.’
Set in a Turkish kebab shop run by the father of Salah (Ziad Abaza) a university economics student desperately trying to finish his dissertation whilst looking after his hospitalised father who insists on returning to run his ailing kebab shop. It all ends tragically one night when some yobs push him over as he tries to close his shop and dies in his Salah’s arms. With the business on its last legs with unpaid bills and unable to buy kebab meat for the shop Salah accidently finds the answer one night when things get out of hand when one of his drunkenly abusive customers ends up with his head horribly mutilated after its been in the deep fat fryer. From here Salah becomes a modern day Sweeney Todd supplementing his kebab meat with dead customers who, apart from one sober and decent couple, all seem to be vile, foul mouthed drunken chav scum and it makes Salah’s actions perhaps more justifiable, even sympathetic, as these people seem to be getting their …ahem…just desserts. The story unfolds as one of his victims turns out to be running drugs for a local night club owner who is something of a micro celebrity having been a former Big Brother winner and a David and Goliath battle begins between their business interests.
First and foremost this is a horror film and there are plenty of shots of bodies being chopped up and meat being pushed through a mincer but this also wants to have its kebab and eat it with its desire to for social comment on the great British big Saturday night out but as one fellow business owner points out that as much as they despise the drunken louts they do profit from them. It’s easy to empathise with Salah’s plight as the customers are uniformly foul mouthed dregs of society (the script is littered with the C-word which seems to be vying to supercede the f-word for offense supremacy) but his easy and frequent transition into serial killer stretches credibility.
It can be argued that there are racist undertones to this because as racially offensive as some of his customers undoubtedly are the writer/director Dan Pringle has Salah serving up human meat in his kebabs and this is hardly a step in the right direction when hackneyed 70’s club comedians joked about Indian restaurants serving up stray dogs in their curries.
As Salah , Ziad Abaza puts in a decent performance battling with a role that at one moment sees him as a decent conscientious student and the next a furious serial killer and the victims are all one dimensional. The script includes an underdeveloped love story between him and a local hotel manager as well as introducing a wannabe gangsta employee who is extraneous to the plot. Unable to avoid the horror tropes of the dimly lit basement with the flickering bare lightbulb , the wall covered in newspapers cuttings of the missing victims (why do suspects always do this in films?) this is an overlong updating of Sweeney Todd centred around a clash of cultures albeit with some agreeably grim moments.
Here’s the trailer: (NSFW)