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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.12.19] Ireland (Republic of) horror comedy

You've seen this story before: woman with powers who has denounced said powers is coerced into using them to save the world - or in this case, one girl. That's the basic gist of Extra Ordinary but the difference here is that filmmakers Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman manage to lean into the tropes while at the same time breaking them down in hilarious ways.

Rose (Maeve Higgins) is biding her time as a driving instructor while avoiding calls from town locals asking her to use her special "talents" to deal with ghosts and possessions. Christian Winter (Will Forte) is a washed-up one-hit-wonder who is trying to summon a demon who will make him and his music relevant again.

When Rose gets a call from Martin, a local who needs help with his dead wife who refuses to pass on, Rose finds herself not only breaking her self-imposed exile from using her powers but splat in the middle of Christian's nefarious plan.

Extra Ordinary doesn't begin as a straight-up comedy but as it unfolds, it's clear that Ahern and Loughman aren't interested in just scares; though also don't shy away from the horror bits when necessary. Instead, the script plays into familiar scenes and distorts them, sometimes lightly as in the case of Winter's virgin tracker, and sometimes in a big hilarious sendup as is the case with Rose and the question of her virginity.

In the vein of another great horror comedy What We Do in the Shadows (review), Extra Ordinary approaches the tropes it tackles with respect before completely blowing them out of the water but the movie is also helped along by brilliant comedic timing, fantastic camera work, excellent VFX when necessary, and above all, a wonderful collection of performances from not only the leads but also the supporting characters; even the food delivery guy nails his small but very funny moment.

Twisted and hilarious, Extra Ordinary is one of, if not the best, horror-comedy of the year.

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