extra ordinary | mike ahren | enda loughman | maeve higgins | barry ward | will forte | ghost | ghosts | demon | exorcism | exorcist | haunted | comedy | fantasy | ireland | belgium | claudia o'doherty | jamie beamish | terri chandler | risteard cooper | emma coleman
Film: Extra Ordinary
Director: Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman
Writer: Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman
Starring: Maeve Higgins, Barry Ward and Will Forte
This was a film that kept having its trailer shown at the Gateway Film Center and I was intrigued to check it out. My girlfriend Jaime was interested in seeing this as well so whenever she is, I’m always excited to get someone to see something with me. Now with the shut down due to COVID-19, this movie didn’t get shown as the film center is closed, but as a member they were offering for this to be seen online for a fee that goes back to the center. She and I decided to check this out one night finally and I’m making this a featured review on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie podcast. Jaime and I have now given it a second viewing, we are also married now, since we had a lot of fun that first time around.
Synopsis: Rose (Maeve Higgins) a mostly sweet and lonely Irish driving instructor must use her supernatural talent to save the daughter of Martin (Barry Ward), who is also sweet and lonely, from a supernatural incident.
Now this movie plays its hand early and I doctored the Internet Movie Database synopsis a bit as I don’t want to spoil anything yet. This movie is giving us an old looking video that is documentary style from Vincent Dooley (Risteard Cooper). He was an expert on the paranormal and made a series of VHS tapes. We see that he’s passed away though and Rose is his daughter. She is harboring the guilt for what happened to him and claimed that she slaughtered him. Her sister Sailor (Terri Chandler) tries to convince her that it wasn’t her fault and has been doing this for some time. Sailor is also very pregnant.
Rose is a driving instructor and when she gets home to check the messages on her mobile phone. She has ability similar to her father but is refusing to us it. There’s also a room in her house that is locked off that she doesn’t go into. As the synopsis states, she’s lonely.
There’s also Martin who lives with his daughter Sarah (Emma Coleman). His wife and her mother passed away, but she is still haunting them. She is controlling and it hasn’t stopped in her death. If anything, it’s gotten worse. Sarah wants her father to contact Rose to help exorcise their problem as it is affecting their lives and Sarah can’t take it anymore.
To complicate this even more, there’s Christian Winter (Will Forte). Back in the 90’s, he had a popular song, but was a one hit wonder. He wants to recapture that popularity and along with his wife, Claudia (Claudia O’Doherty), has moved to Ireland. He plans a ritual to make a pact with a demon for fame. Claudia does something that causes the virgin he’s going to sacrifice to explode. He needs to find another one and this brings him to Sarah. He needs her for the ritual the following night on the Blood Moon.
Martin at first reaches out to Rose who informs him that she doesn’t do this type of stuff anymore. She takes a liking to him though and feels obligated to help when Sarah goes into a coma. She isn’t just asleep though; she’s floating above her bed. Rose unlocks the room in her house and gathers up materials. It appears they need the ectoplasm of 6 ghosts to save Sarah, but Christian is on to them as well.
Coming into this movie, I knew this was a horror comedy and they’re hit or miss for me. This one had me laughing out loud at different parts. That also held up with a second watch. There’s an interesting concept here. Without necessarily spoiling, Rose feels guilty to what happened to her father and thinks she did it. They show us that fateful day and I’m glad they did. It is hard to blame her for the outcome, as Vincent knew shouldn’t be putting the amount of pressure that he put on her on. I do like that this gets addressed with Rose and there’s more to it as well. It helps with her growth.
Another aspect is that of Martin. He’s a push-over. His wife clearly wore the pants in their relationship and even though she’s dead, she won’t let him go. Even Sarah doesn’t show him the most respect and is pushing him to do something about their haunting. I did like this angle as he has something that needs to be overcome as well as he’s living with the guilt of what happened to her. His performance is amazing for the climax as he has a similar ability to Vincent.
The last aspect of the characters is Christian along with his wife. I love that he got a taste of fame but it was short lived. He lacks confidence or doesn’t have a fallback plan either. He doesn’t want to work. I like that is the explanation of why he’s evil. He isn’t the most villainous character but plays well with Forte for laughs. I like how it collides for these three characters.
Before moving on, I did want to go over the comedy and some cool things with the ritual. Being that this movie is from overseas helps as this comedy works for me. As I said, most of the jokes landed with me and I can include the pacing here. I never got bored, but it does run a bit long. What happens to Sarah is the day before and they leave most of what they need to do to save her that final day. It is lacking tension as I didn’t feel like there was enough peril. I contribute some of my issue to this being a comedy. What I did like is that the demon summoned is Astaroth, which is crazy that I’ve seen The Golem and To the Devil a Daughter all within the last two months of my first watch as they all feature this same demon. I even think that Starry Eyes does as well, but don’t quote me there. This movie as a comedy is a bit outrageous, but it worked. I also like incorporating the old VHS footage from Vincent to help explain things.
That will shift me over to the acting which I thought was on point. Higgins is someone I felt bad for as she does seem lonely, but she cracked me up too. There’s a scene from the trailer that is in the movie and I’ve been quoting it. There’s also a gag referencing The Exorcist and her reactions to popular works in the possession subgenre were funny. Ward is good as a male counterpart to her. He’s timid and I think that works for the growth he needs for the end. Forte plays this villain so funny to the point where it is both hard to believe and still on point. His wife who is played by O’Doherty brings levity as she just doesn’t grasp the gravity of what they’re doing. The rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed as many do bring more humor as well.
Next will be the effects. This can be tough when you’re doing things with ghosts. I think this movie is quite strategic though as we don’t get to see them. We get to see things moving to signify the ghost is present so it added a sense of realism. I also like the explanation that there could be ghosts all around us, doing little things without us realizing. I thought that was a good touch. It also is creepy if you think about it since I tend to lose things on a regular basis. That would explain it. The demon in the movie is CGI, but it is a small part so I can overlook it. The cinematography is solid and they use framing to their advantage quite a bit.
The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack of the movie. Overall, it just fit for what was needed in my opinion. There are two songs though that stuck with me. There’s a black magic song that is over the credits that I sought it out to add to a playlist. The other was used in the trailer and I think that it fits the vibe of the movie, as well as helping the scene it is accompanying. I thought the song that made Christian popular was hilarious to where Jaime and I have been singing it to each other. I’m not sure if there is a full song, but the chorus was enough.
In conclusion, even though horror comedies are hit or miss for me, I thought this one worked. The concept is interesting and I think the story has some depth to it. The acting helps to bring it to life so did the depth of the characters. It builds toward what happens and that feels real. I do think that the pacing is hurt slightly, but it doesn’t ruin the movie. The effects were solid across the board and I thought the soundtrack worked for what was needed. I would say that this movie is a good movie overall and really a fun one. Not for all ages, but a solid horror/comedy for adults.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10