Lack of scare power and insufficient meat on its skeletal story will impede auds from getting better acquainted with “The Locals,” a low-key horror item from New Zealand. Decision to divulge the nature of the mystery early on drains suspense, leaving the viewer a mere observer to a series of over-frantic chase sequences. Given the extra problem of budget constraints, pic is likely to do best in ancillary, with little more than a ghost of a chance elsewhere.
To cheer up his lovelorn pal, Grant (John Barker), who’s been dumped by his g.f. for not liking “The Lord of the Rings,” reckless party boy Paul (Dwayne Cameron), drags him out for a weekend surfing holiday. En route, the pair hooks up with two unfashionably attired but alluring women who invite the city boys to a party and promptly make them the target of bloodthirsty local thugs. Victoria Kelly’s music score is suitably haunting and lensing by Bret Nichols is impressive, particularly in the night scenes. Performances meet the requirements of the genre, but ultimately the script undermines everyone.