A little less extraordinary than it is just plain ordinary.
Directed by Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, Extra Ordinary is far from what its promising title suggests, resulting in 94 minutes of largely seen-it-before cinema. The film follows Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins), a driving instructor and ex-psychic haunted by the story of her father’s death. We’re left questioning what actually happened to him, a mysterious thread as Rose claims to have “slaughtered” her paterfamilias, though it is later revealed to have been the consequence of a dog-related exorcism that went a bit, well, wrong.
Extra Ordinary is trying to be a new great in the horror comedy genre, following in the footsteps of the similarly styled What We Do in the Shadows and with some of the same parody elements as the Scary Movie franchise. Unfortunately, its jokes just don’t live up to its genre predecessors. A lot of the funniest moments seem to have been revealed prematurely in the trailer, which if you have already seen makes the movie’s comedy even less effective. Much of the humour was also somewhat questionable, skirting the lines of political correctness, with one such moment seeing the Satan-worshipping Christian Winter (Will Forte) use his “dick rod” (aka a magical wooden stick) to locate an appropriate virgin for sacrifice.
The film’s central romance is deliberately cringy, with the extramarital love story between Rose and Martin Martin (Barry Ward) more than just a bit awkward to behold. The development of their relationship sees the pair exorcise Martin’s wife from his home, before then attempting to prevent his daughter Sarah (Emma Coleman) from being lost completely after she is possessed by evil spirits. Eventually, Rose and Martin have to have sex in order to ensure that Rose doesn’t fall victim to being sacrificed as a virgin too. Certainly weird, right?
One of Extra Ordinary‘s redeeming qualities is the cinematography. James Mather’s use of framing makes for delicately beautiful images, where the quieter moments in the Irish countryside can be truly appreciated via impressive long shots. The colour scheme of the film also works well for the tone Ahern and Loughman are going for, its somewhat saturated quality reminiscent of the ’60s and ’70s, despite the presence of Nokia ‘brick’ phones indicating a mid-2000s setting.
In summary, Extra Ordinary makes for a decent background watch, serving well as a film that you don’t really need to be fully alert for. If you’re looking for a spooky comedy to keep you engaged and laughing throughout, this probably isn’t the one to go for. The cuts between the ongoing narrative and home movie footage of Rose’s deceased dad, though, do help to give it a rich nostalgic feel. The main takeaway? The father’s pithy advice: “Do you ever have nightmares after eating cheese? Well, you might’ve eaten a ghost.”
Extra Ordinary (2019), directed by Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, is distributed in the UK by Wildcard Distribution, certificate 15.