I only heard about this after seeing a very attention catching trailer shared around by Cult Labs. It definitely made me want to see the film and luckily a link was provided via a PR company. It would be a real shame if K-Shop slips under the radar as for a start and most importantly it’s a real gritty delight of a movie. It’s also a directorial feature length debut for director Dan Pringle and its British, alarmingly so in fact! You could look at this as thriller, horror but also and although fiction, it’s sadly a bit of a documentary of our times and also incredibly wry and unflinching in its portrayal of social commentary. In fact I have not seen anything like this (although aware of reality TV shows of Brits behaving badly) since James Watkins excellent Eden Lake (2008)
Many seem to want to come to our green and pleasant land and for outsiders looking in the streets may well be paved with gold. In K-Shop though, they are well and truly paved with vomit. The film focuses on Salah (Ziad Abaza) one of many looking for a better life after fleeing his war torn country. He has fitted in and is finishing off his dissertation and looking at getting a degree but his father has been taken ill and is in hospital. Salah wants to help out at his family take-away business in an unspecified seaside town but his father is also determined to get better and carry on with delivering the doner kebab’s to the hungry Donnas and Dan’s in town. No sooner than dad is back behind the counter one of the many drunk and drugged up customers has an altercation and pushes him over, killing him. Coping with this and finding himself in the midst of a veritable hostile warzone far removed from the one he fled from, Salah really is caught between a rock and a hard place.
With a new super-club set up by a former Big Brother contestant opening its doors just down the street, altercations of an alarming nature increase until Salah accidently, as you do, deep fries the face of a customer who won’t take no for an answer and leave. Dragging him down to the basement and no doubt thinking along the lines of you are what you eat; the misfortunate yob is seasoned and served for the delectation of an ever growing queue of diners. Naturally with disgusting rowdy behaviour on the increase it’s not long before the bodies start piling-up and the punters ever growing hunger is well and truly catered for.
So essentially you have an age old tale that harks right back to Sweeney Todd and which no shortage of films have taken to their very heart from Andy Milligan’s Bloodthirsty Butchers (1970) right through to Thai dish Meat Grinder (Tiwa Moeithaisong 2009). Although this is the films main course as things progress and the social conscience of Salah is increasingly bruised, a side dish of Vigilante is well and truly served up with it. The anti-hero of the piece goes further out of control but he does have a plan and a glimmer of hope, the question is will he be able escape the downward spiral he has found himself in?
K-Shop is a fairly lengthy film running at close to 2 hours but then again events do take place over a protracted period over almost a decade. It draws you in with scenes of utter madness that make you feel absolutely nauseated. Interestingly, apparently many of the scenes of drunken mayhem were filmed for real on the club-land streets around Bournemouth and the South Coast of England. You can’t watch this without feeling absolutely repulsed (unless I guess you are the sort of moron who acts like this at the weekend) and the film leaves a really nasty taste in the mouth that no amount of chilli sauce is going to take away. It has you rooting for Salah and having absolutely no sympathy for his victims. This is obviously helped by the excellent acting of Abaza who like the director is surely destined for great things.
Watching K-Shop will send alarm bells off for many and hopefully they will be well and truly rung the next time your drunken ass finds itself in a take-away outlet in the early hours of the morning. K-Shop is an unpleasant look at an all too common element of British low-life and is a grimy and gritty experience. It’s a cautionary tale that deserves to be watched and as far as this vegetarian viewer is concerned I can only hope I never acted like this all the years ago I too enjoyed a (supposedly) lamb doner.