Granny and Donny have a warm, lovely relationship as grandmother and grandson. That is until Donny decides to put his grandma into a retirement home.
His dear sweet granny just isn’t having it, however, and won’t go without putting up a fight… an unexpectedly violent one.
This riotous horror-comedy short — written by David Burrowes and Dean Burr, and directed by Burrowes — begins where many horror features often build up to: at the climactic battle between the main character and antagonist, as Donny fights for his life against the homicidal grandmother pursuing revenge against him. Donny had the temerity to suggest putting her in a senior living facility — a piece of narrative information the writing sets up quickly — and she’s taken the idea very, very poorly.
With such a pedal-to-the-metal start, the storytelling maintains this momentum, leveraging its deft editing and camerawork to create suspense in ways typical of the genre, and also milk as much fun as it can out of the idea of a seemingly feeble bloodthirsty senior citizen out to kill her ungrateful grandchild. (Actor Maggie Dence also is a lot of fun as the titular character, who oscillates between murderous rampage and gentle innocuous sweetness.) As it turns out, Granny has a lot more strength than Donny anticipated, and he spends the film paying the price for piquing her anger.
The film often juxtaposes frantic scenes of Donny escaping, running or trying to get help with Granny’s relentless but creakily slow attempts to pursue him, drawing out the inherent humor in the situation. There are also some enjoyable and unexpected detours, including a stop at a swingers party in the neighborhood that offers Granny another arena for murderous mayhem.
Its intentionally lurid and stylized lighting and color evoke the cheesy slasher films of the 70s and 80s, making it clear that the story, though rendered with excellent craft, doesn’t take itself seriously. Even when the film reaches its anticipated bloodbath of a conclusion, it ends with a denouement that offers one last laugh — and a cheeky warning about underestimating the elderly.
With its romp-like rhythms, gonzo humor and off-the-wall flourishes, “Granny” is simply great fun, and great entertainment just in time for the spooky season. It’s expertly crafted, well-paced and sometimes ridiculously outlandish, and the epic battle pulls viewers right along with each twist, turn and bloody blow. Viewers might never look at an old lady in a wheelchair — or on a mobilized stairlift — in quite the same way again, and certainly may think twice about putting seniors out to pasture at all.