Have you ever gone out to a club, gotten a bit tipsy, end up at a nearby takeout joint and ever think about what the guy behind the counter serving you food thought about you? Did you ever put yourself in his place, think about his upbringing? Did you ever feel sorry for him? K-Shop attempts to present this perspective but does so with the B-movie stylings of 70/80s slasher and exploitation horror movies, modern gore porn, with some British gangster inflections.

Salah is in University studying politics an education that his father, Zaki, keenly supports. His father also provided him with a job working at the kebab takeout they both run. For Salah there is nothing to gain but endure the hellish nights of drunken, racist hooligans causing fights, hurling insults if not chips, all happening inside the shop, or down the road at the popular clubs.

Drunks

On one night a group of drunken slobs attempt to barge their way in to the kebab joint, Salah’s father ends up dead after his altercation with the men, leaving the shop with Salah. With a dead end job bringing a dead end to Salah’s hopes and ambitions, Salah gets into an altercation with a customer himself, which leads to his drunken patron getting horribly burnt in a fried cooker. He knows he’ll go to prison for this, so he kills him and hides the body. How does one hide a body in a kebab shop? In the meat of course. What do you do with the bones? Chuck ‘em in the sea Dexter style.

From here starts Salah’s vigilante crusade against the drunken, idiotic and foul denizens of club goers, and nightlife prowlers. After 7 years Salah is still going murdering horrible customers over the years, when he comes to a realization. He has witnessed the rise of TV celebrity Jason Brown, a former Big Brother contestant who started his own club SLUSH, the popular hole for which alcohol and debauchery pour into, and flush Salah’s victims out the other end. Jason is extending his business to a new club at a refurbished church called HUSH. Salah sees Jason and his clubs as the source of the local drunk night-life culture, so he targets him, seeking to implicate him in the drugs and teen bate he indulges to crush his empire.

Please forgive a bit of nitpicking but there are some illogical elements of the film, starting with Salah having murdered people for 7 years. Only after this point do the remains of his victims end up drifting onto the beach shore for the police to find. The whole plot line of Salah attempting to fight back drinking culture by getting a club owner in trouble seems kind of fruitless. Surely another club owner would open up business soon after, like attempting a coup d’état against a dictator only to be replaced by another dictator.

Ziad Abaza

Yet the film strides forward focusing on this attack of club nightlife. As well as Ziad Abaza’s lead performance, the entire movie is a showcase of his acting ability, even at his most sinister, there’s still a degree of sympathy for him. When he talks about his past in Turkey with one of his victims, where he and several others evaded a chemical attack, fleeing to sanctuary in Britain. It brings up the sort of difficult, topical social commentary that stands out K-Shop from the crowd.

With some exception the film misses opportunities to confront Salah with moral dilemmas and interesting plot twists. Jason Brown is unequivocally a drug induced, sleazy businessman so says the film, no exception! Certain characters aren’t allowed the kind of complexity that would endanger the clear focus K-Shop is going for. It’s a film that paints a character that can be equal parts charismatic and the next minute become as cold as Michael Myers. As well as being a scathing critique of drink culture, and racial politics in Britain. Even if the film’s focus keeps it from being truly special, it’s still a solid flick, with gore, laughs, a hard guitar soundtrack and a great central performance.

3/5

Dir: Dan Pringle
Scr: Dan Pringle
Cast: Ziad Abaza, Nayef Rashed, Scot Williams, Reece Noi, Ewen MacIntosh, Darren Morfitt, Harry Reid, Steve McCarten, Jamie Lee-Hill, Sean Curnow, Jayme Swiftt, Duncan Meadows, Edmund Dehn, Lucinda Rhodes Thakrar, Sean Pogmore, Kristin Atherton
Prd: Elaine Davey, Mem Ferda, Tom Little, Adam J. Merrifield, Anthony R. Calvitti, William Shutt, Gellan Watt
DOP: Chris Fergusson
Music: Nina Humphreys
Year: 2016
Run Time: 115 mins

K-Shop is in cinemas from 22nd July.