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‘The Leech’ review: Dark and funny holiday horror

More Sodom than Gamorrah.

The Leech is a different type of holiday horror movie. When Father David (Graham Skipper, Christmas Bloody Christmas) finds a man named Terry (Jeremy Gardner, Offseason) sleeping in the church after Mass, he decides the right thing to do is to have him stay at his place for the night. Soon, Terry has invited his girlfriend Lexi and one night turns into a few. David sees this as a perfect opportunity to introduce two lost souls to the word of God, but are the couple more than he can handle?

The film is dependent on the interactions between its various characters. Things gets off to a lighthearted start, with the music and Terry suggesting the story will be a silly one about a houseguest who takes things too far. When Terry mentions how long it takes to get to his girlfriend’s house in a scene that is played down and hilarious, it lets the audience know that David is in for trouble. What starts as a subtle changing of timeframes soon escalates to drinking, drugging, and a get-together that is in Terry’s words “more Sodom than Gomorrah”.

The Leech is consistently funny and Gardner shines as the oblivious and unpredictable guest. Terry is disheveled, obnoxious, and mean-spirited in his worst moments. He is a walking train wreck that it is impossible to turn away from. It is not a question of what is he going to do next, but how awful is it going to be. And as the plot progresses, things get increasingly worse.

The final act does away with the comedy and goes all in on the horror. Things become frantic and can even be difficult to follow. Where David once thought he was saving people in need, he has now become the one who seems to have lost their way. From his first appearance, he has an almost condescending attitude in which he seems to think he is better than others. He constantly takes the moral high ground, so his later actions go with his character.

Everything is perfectly paced with each inconvenience building on the previous. What starts off as little chuckles turn to belly laughs before morphing into complete WTF moments. The last twenty minutes of The Leech are surprisingly dark as it becomes frighteningly clear how far Terry is willing to go and the depths David has fallen.

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