Keeping Company Doesn’t Live Up to Its Potential

Horror comedies are tough to get right. Filmmakers have to find just the right balance between the two genres, and if they lean too heavily to one side, the movie as a whole will suffer. So whenever I watch a new horror comedy, I always go in with a sense of cautious optimism, and Keeping Company was no different. I thought the trailer looked great, but I tempered my expectations because I know how difficult these movies can be to make.

Keeping Company was directed by Josh Wallace, and it stars a pretty big ensemble, including Jacob Grodnik, Ahmed Bharoocha, Devin Das, Gillian Vigman, Andy Buckley, and Rex Lee. It’s about Sonny and Noah, two insurance salesmen who try to solicit the wrong guy. One day when they’re out selling their insurance, a man named Lucas hits their car, and after he tries to drive away, Sonny and Noah follow him and force their way into his house. They try to sell him insurance, but Lucas soon locks them in his basement, where he and his grandmother have some deadly plans for the duo.

For about the first 20 minutes or so, I was totally on board with Keeping Company. To begin, the characters are all quite likable, even if I loved to hate a few of them. For example, the higher-ups at Sonny and Noah’s office are deliciously despicable, and Noah and Sonny themselves are a lovably comedic pair who I connected with right away. They just felt like real people I could relate to, so I enjoyed watching them go about their normal salesman lives.

Lucas looking stern

On top of that, the comedy in the first act is also pretty on point. To be fair, none of it had me rolling around on the floor, but there were plenty of moments that elicited a smile or even a bit of an audible chuckle from me. I don’t know what your comedy standards are, but that’s a win in my book, so I really enjoyed this part of the movie.

Then, when the second act hits, Keeping Company starts to lean more into the horror. It’s a bit like a mix between Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Saw, and at first, I thought it was pretty interesting. In particular, the relationship between Lucas and his grandmother is very reminiscent of Norman Bates and his mother, but with one big difference: Lucas’s grandmother is still alive. As a huge fan of Psycho, I really enjoyed their dynamic, and I was really interested to learn more about these two characters and what exactly they were planning on doing with Sonny and Noah.

But as the second act wore on, I started to get a bit frustrated with the film. See, it sets up a really intriguing mystery about just what Lucas and his grandmother do to their victims, but rather than deepen that mystery, the story quickly becomes stagnant. It doesn’t really bring us any deeper into their world or raise too many more questions, so I felt like the movie was just stalling for time. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere, so after a while, it became a bit boring. Granted, the characters were still just as likable, but as much as I enjoyed watching them, they weren’t quite good enough to carry the film on their own without a better plot.

The one saving grace in this part of Keeping Company was the humor, which the movie thankfully doesn’t abandon once the horror kicks into gear. Granted, I didn’t think the second act was as funny as the first act, but there were still enough laughs here to keep me from checking out completely.

A woman waving a knife around

Then, when the third act hit, I was both relieved and disappointed. I was relieved because the film finally dug a bit deeper into Lucas and his grandmother’s life together, and it kicked the horror up another notch. However, I was disappointed because the horror never went as far as I thought it should’ve. It feels like the filmmakers were playing it a bit too safe, so the movie never totally fulfills the potential of its awesome premise.

On top of that, the third act of Keeping Company also digs a bit deeper into the corporate side of the story, showing just how terrible Sonny and Noah’s company really is, and that element felt a bit out of place to me. The filmmakers were trying to set up a parallel between the business world and Lucas’s family, and I got the message loud and clear, but it just didn’t fit on a narrative level.

It felt like the real story in this film was the stuff with Noah and Sonny, and the corporate side was just shoehorned in to make a point. Sure, I appreciate a good message as much as anybody, but story has to come first, and if you sacrifice story for meaning, both are going to suffer. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens here. The business stuff sidetracks the story, and because the story isn’t as good as it could’ve been, the message doesn’t hit nearly as hard as it should.

So at the end of the day, I’m sad to say that I wouldn’t recommend Keeping Company. To be fair, I think there’s enough good in here that you won’t hate yourself for wasting 80 minutes on it, so if you really want to see this movie, go ahead and check it out. I’m happy I saw it even though I didn’t love it, and you might very well feel the same way. However, if you’re looking for some good new horror to watch, you’re probably better off spending your time elsewhere.

Keeping Company hits VOD on June 7.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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