Short Film Review: LUNCH LADIES (2017)

Hi again ghosts and ghouls! I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a review here on Nightmarish Conjurings. October was a crazy month full of all things horror (with that being said, I hope you all had a lovely, happy, safe Halloween) as I was working at a haunt this year. Working a full time job and a haunt is not easy, let me tell you.

Now that haunt season is over, I’m back and able to give my full attention to writing reviews again! The first of my new-found free time: a short film sent to me with the caption “You want to review this? It sounds like something you would like lol”. This usually means one of two things: it’s trashy or it’s really, REALLY scary.

This short film is called LUNCH LADIES, and it is one of the most bizarre, twisted, comedic shorts I think I’ve ever watched. I relate to it on a personal level which is even more disturbing.

LUNCH LADIES is the tale of two, you guessed it, lunch ladies, working at a high school where the kids are rude and under-appreciative of the hard work that Seretta (Donna Pieroni) and LouAnne (Mary Manofsky) put into their dishes. The two recently won a contest to meet Johnny Depp after submitting one of their culinary creations. Unfortunately, with the lunches being slightly lackluster, the principal is threatening to fire the lunch ladies…and airfare for the two contest-winners is not included. They take matters into their own hands to keep their jobs and meet Johnny, which is full of blood, gore, and creepy squishy noises.

Like I said earlier, I relate to this short on a personal level because embarrassingly, I had an obsession with Johnny Depp that probably exceeded that of the lunch ladies in this film. Story time…I used to wear a fake engagement ring from Claire’s and say it was from him. No joke. I hate myself for it now, but the love was very strong. I don’t know if I would literally kill anyone to become his personal chef BUT…I probably would have at least thought about it.

The two lunch ladies are hysterical. Pieroni and Manofsky are such a fun team because they’re over the top and cheesy but still fun to watch. Pieroni steals the show as an over-dramatic Johnny fanatic (hi Seretta, I am you in a former life) and is an absolute delight to watch, and Manofsky does a great job of backing up her humor. It’s intentionally corny, which is a fun change from a lot of films being unintentionally corny and it ruining the entire experience.

I also really enjoyed the soundtrack of this film – the music was done by Antoni M. March (it looks like this is only his second credited composer work) but it reminded me so much of something composed by Danny Elfman. Something tells me this was intentional, as most people know that a majority of Johnny Depp’s films have to do with Tim Burton, who frequently works with Danny Elfman…even if it was not intentional, it was a nice touch that added to the atmosphere of the film in a fun, playful, but slightly dark way. Just how Johnny would like it…I think.

I was actually so disappointed that this was only 19 minutes long. I genuinely want to see this made into a feature film where Johnny Depp has a cameo. It looks like the lunch ladies at one point did end up at the Viper Room with Depp (or someone that looks almost identical to him) during the credits, which I’m endlessly envious of.

If you have a chance to find this film and give it a quick watch, you will not be disappointed if you like anything in the vein of Burton or if you’re just generally a Johnny Depp fan. Even if you’re not fans of either of the aforementioned Hollywood stars, you would watch it because it’s glory and hilarious. It was written well, it was directed well, the story flows. It’s just a treat to watch. I laughed, I cringed, and part of me cried when they met “the Depper”, as they call him.

Give LUNCH LADIES a watch, ghosts and ghouls! But make sure you double-check your meat next time you’re out to eat.

Taylor Krauss
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