Rating: 3 out of 5.

Chompy and the Girls is as wildly bizarre and fun to watch as the title would suggest, at times going full cosmic horror. Where else can you find the voice of film legend Udo Kier as an omniscient stalker on a mission? The debut film from writer/director Skye Braband expertly blends horror and comedy, using the visual gag of one cartoonishly large mouth opening and a father/daughter relationship to anchor the story. “Welcome to my mouth!”

Jackson (Christy St. John) is not exactly in the best place emotionally; as Chompy and the Girls begins, she attempts suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan. She decides to reach out to her father, Sam (Steve Marvel), who is married to a woman (Julie Dolan) he no longer loves—this gives Sam the perfect excuse to sneak out for the day. Their first meeting at a local park does not quite go as planned. They witness a man (Reggie Koffman) run up to a little girl (Seneca Paliotta), extend his mouth open beyond the capacity of a normal human, and swallow her whole! Obviously, a scenario like this would be disturbing to anyone, but as Sam and Jackson were only just becoming acquainted, they are forced to think quickly as the man crosses the street and approaches them with a creepy determination.

From here, the mysterious man they dub Chompy relentlessly pursues Sam and Jackson. Jackson’s mystical friend, Lotus (Hari Williams), may hold the secrets of the “mouth man,” and his strange mission. A child’s foot on an adult body, the mysteries of time and space inside of a gaping mouth hole, weird identical children, and a hilarious accidental collision pepper the oddities throughout Chompy and the Girls with a signature style. Cannibalism? Bath salts? No, it’s just Chompy!

This movie was a complete breath of fresh air, and provided a factor that so few indie films have lately. The strangeness of the storyline pulls one in right off the bat. Chemistry between the two leads (Steve Marvel and Christy St. John) is energetic and fun, and the visual look of Chompy himself is striking. My only complaint is that the ending feels a little too silly and easy, but when one’s first film is this quirky and singular, who really cares?

Chompy and the Girls opens wide via virtual platforms on Tuesday, September 14th, from Freestyle Digital Media.

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