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Film / The Locals

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The Locals is a 2003 New Zealand horror film directed by Greg Page and starring Kate Elliott.

Two best friends Grant and Paul hit the road for a weekend of surfing, booze and hopefully . . . girls. With night falling they take a short cut and meet Lisa and Kelly, a couple of babes with a fast car, who invite them to a party. Paul loses control of the car and hits off-road. They decide to ask for help to the locals, and they find that they are in an evil place.


The Local Tropes:

  • The Bogan: Early on, Grant accuses Paul of being a bogan, and he does show many on the classic signs. However, he pales in comparison to Nev and Tone; the two local revheads who run Grant and Paul off the road. They are sexist, boorish and seem to have no interests outside their souped-up car and girls (in that order).
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: After witnessing a murder in rural New Zealand, Grant and Paul attempt to call the police but discover the have no signal.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Paul leaves a message for Grant written on the window of the car with Lisa's lipstick.
  • Dead All Along: Grant and Paul eventually realise that the locals are everyone who has ever died in the valley, who can interact with each other, but are also doomed to live out their last moments over and over again. And each day at sunrise, the cycle resets. And then Grant discovers that Paul has actually died and is now one of them.
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  • Death by Falling Over: While searching for the car keys Paul dropped when he rolled down the hill at the graveyard, he finds Paul's body Impaled with Extreme Prejudice on a broken star picket at the hill, and realises that the Paul with him is a ghost, and that Paul actually died falling down the hill.
  • Decade-Themed Party: Because of the way they are dressed, Grant and Paul assume that Kelly and Lisa are on their way to 80s themed party and accept their invitation to follow them. They later learn that the girls had died on their way to a party in the 80s, and are still wearing the clothes they were in when they died.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: The Bogan Nev tells Paul that the girls he is trying to hook up with are dead, and that they call that 'haemophilia'. His mate Tone hurriedly whispers that the word is 'necrophilia'.
  • Dig Your Own Grave: This is what Grant thinks is happening when Martin holds him at gunpoint and forces him to finish digging the partially opened grave, resulting in Paul begging for his life. However, Martin is trying open Bill's grave so he can get Grant to remove Bill's bones from the valley, thereby freeing him of Bill's ghost.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Less than 24 hours. Grant and Paul leave Auckland in the late morning or early afternoon, take an extremely ill-advised shortcut, and spend a terrifying night stranded in backwoods New Zealand, with the film ending at sunrise.
  • Gilligan Cut: After his breakup, Grant is in bed refusing to get up. Paul comes to persuade him to spend the weekend surfing. After much badgering, Grant tells Paul to give up because there is no way he is going with him. The scene then cuts to the pair in Paul's car driving out of Auckland.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: When Bill smashes in the rear window of the car, Kelly attempts to beat him off with a champagne bottle.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: Grant and Paul take a short cut that results in them becoming stranded in backwoods New Zealand. Here they witness a farmer murder his wife and find themselves being stalked by him and several of his redneck cronies. However, they eventually discover that all of the locals, including the homicidal farmer, have been Dead All Along.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Grant finds Paul's body impaled on a broken star picker at at the base of the graveyard hill.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: All of the ghosts are wearing the clothing they wearing when died. This is not always immediately apparent because what a farmer who died in the 1890s was wearing is not too different from what a present day farmer would be wearing. It is more obvious with Kelly and Lisa who are dressed in 1980s party clothes. Grant and Paul initially think they are going to a 1980s themed party, but ultimately learn they died on their ways to a party in the 1980s.
  • Knife Nut: Homicidal farmer Bill favours the knife, and all of his kills are made with one.
  • Man on Fire: The two bogans Nev and Tone turn themselves into this while attempting to refuel their car while smoking.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Grant makes one out of a bottle of vodka and a strip torn from his spare shirt that he uses to light a bonfire in the middle of the road.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When Grant's smashes Bill's skull, Bill's body collapses, immediately putrefies, and buries itself.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Nev sniffs Kelly's hair while he is holding her arms pinned and says that "She smells nice!"
  • Scary Shadow Fakeout: While trying to break into a farmhouse, Grant gives himself a Jump Scare when he thinks he sees the homicidal farmer Bill lurking behind him. But when he turns around, it is just a hooded coat hanging over an old pair of boots.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: Grant and Paul's troubles start when Paul decides to take a shortcut across a boarded up bridge.
  • Shovel Strike: After being pushed into Bill's grave, Grant grabs the shovel used to open it and smashes Bill's skull.
  • Slashed Throat: After getting their car bogged, Grant and Paul approach a farmhouse to see if the farmer can tow them out. However, the wind up witnessing Bill murder his wife by cutting her throat.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Trying to pour fuel directly in a hot, running car engine while smoking? Nev and Tone deserve everything they got.