REVIEW: The Leech (2022)

dir. Eric Pennycoff

When a kindly priest (Graham Skipper) takes in a struggling couple over Christmas a clash of cultures and personalities soon escalates, with tension ratcheting up and hostilities bubbling over.

From the team behind festival hit Sadistic Intentions (2018) this is another horror gem. Eric Pennycoff directs with confidence – heightening his already terrific script- whilst Rommel Genciana’s lensing finds intimate beauty and Eric Romary’s score balances playfulness with escalating stress.

Of the two leads Jeremy Gardner’s interloper Terry has the more immediately showy role, though Skipper’s Father David is ultimately just as impactful. Add stellar support from Taylor Zaudtke and Rigo Garay and the result is an effective marriage of skilled performers and technical prowess.

Morally murky and asking uncomfortable questions, The Leech gradually morphs from comedy to horror. Thanks to some superb directorial choices – and a quartet of actors wallowing in Pennycoff’s glorious script – this is an instant horror classic, and one that is sure to become a wonderfully sour counter-programming favourite come Christmas time.

© Russell Bailey

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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