Admittedly, Lunch Ladies is the first short film that we have reviewed. While we have reservations about reviewing “non-full length” movies, we decided to switch it up a bit thanks to the buzz that Lunch Ladies has generated. Our faith paid off and rewarded us with a wonderfully designed movie with intelligent uses of color and a sense of emotion and histrionics that made a 19-minute flick feel like a fleshed out full-length film.
Lunch Ladies tells the story of two ladies that are, you guessed it, lunch ladies. They hate their job and frankly for good reason. The high school they work at is quite possibly the worst high school ever imagined. It makes Eastside High School from Lean On Me appear like a world-class private institution. Are all the shitty children enough to drive them crazy? Pretty much, but it isn’t just the people around them that pushes them to the edge. Their obsession with Johnny Depp, yes, Johnny Depp, is one of the major components of the film and really adds a sense of “crazy” or instability to the main characters. If they keep their job and make some paper, they can afford to attend a Johnny Depp show that they were invited to, thanks to their cooking skills.
Naturally, the ladies are tested thanks to the one really annoying cheerleader that is pretty much a spokesperson for young, rich, privileged girls. This is when the horror commences, when one of the ladies simply can’t handle her job anymore.
Lunch Ladies has wonderful production value and has a certain style that helps progress the story. The use of color in their cooking area and the high school as a whole is wonderful. Combinations of teal and rose red, with splashes of yellow, really create an ambiance and mood that honestly reminded me of The Shape of Water. There are off-kilter camera angles that remind the audience of how frustrated the ladies are, and also the potential they have for heinous crimes. Lastly, there are beautiful moments of genuine comedy that truly contrast the horror elements beautifully.
Not everything about Lunch Ladies is perfect. The soundtrack and score, in general, is a little underdeveloped and honestly sounds like generic fairy tale sounds. The acting, while over the top for a reason, can be a turnoff for some. With that being said, this movie is 19 minutes long, so I honestly believe that the over-the-top acting progressed the narrative at a comfortable pace. Lastly, I did find myself wishing there was more on-screen violence. A lot of the crimes committed are off-screen, which did slightly remove me from the malice of the characters.
Overall, Lunch Ladies is a tight, well-developed project that many will find enjoyable. Wonderful cinematography and a fascinating story resulted in 19 minutes of solid horror comedy. Horror fans that love stylized horror movies (It Follows, Suspiria, etc.) will enjoy Lunch Ladies and hopefully will spread the word about this awesome film that more people should know about.