“Grillz” (2015): Nocturnal Predator Seeks Love and Dental Work in the Big City



You can speculate about what to expect from Australian director Lucy Gouldthorpe’s short film Grillz from its title and its tagline “Online dating sucks, literally.” If you guessed a horror comedy with a main character who is a certain type of creature of the night, you would be correct. The film offers some clever moments in its approximately five-minute running time that are quite unexpected, however.

Milla (Melanie Irons) is a vampire (sorry for the small spoiler but that is hinted at right away and confirmed within the first minute, to be fair) who seeks out her victims through an online dating service. When she deletes a profile, it’s for good reason. She soon requires more than fresh blood, however, and searches for a dentist from the service’s dating pool. I’ll avoid any more spoilers and simply say that Lucy Gouldthorpe does a fun, first-rate job of bringing Claire D’Este’s playful screenplay to cinematic life.

Melanie Irons stars as Milla, a vampire who uses an online dating service, in Grillz.

Melanie Irons is delightful as a vampire with a bit of an insecurity complex about her teeth. She handles Milla’s flirtatious moments and her more insecure ones with equal aplomb. Tosh Greenslade and Jared Goldsmith give amusing performances as two of Milla’s dates. Greenslade inhabits his Graham with a vibe that hints that the character may have a bit of a dark side of his own, while Goldsmith plays DerwentParkDreamBoat, a seemingly shallow fellow who can’t seem to get past Milla’s dental shortcomings.

Sam King’s black-and-white cinematography looks stunning, and Alies Sluiter’s snappy score adds a perfect, playful flavor to the proceedings.

Melanie Irons’ appealing performance is just one of Grillz‘ strong points.

Grillz is a horror comedy that offers a lot of charm and heart with its wit and bloodletting. I recommend it for when viewers are in a light-hearted mood but still want something that packs a bit of bite.

Grillz screened at the Scream Queen Filmfest Tokyo tour event in Nagoya, Japan, in February 2016.

Grillz: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.