LONERS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ERYC TRAMONN / SCREENPLAY: NEIL MCGOWAN/ STARRING: KHARY PAYTON, BRIAN LETSCHER, TYSON TURROU, BRENDA DAVIDSON, STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (VOD - AMAZON PRIME)
In an alternative America, where mass shootings are blamed on “Loners” rather than guns, the government orders Loners to attend mandatory classes in order to reconnect with society and stop further tragedies in this satirical misfire.
The story follows a group of social misfits who have been deemed “Loners” by the Government and are forced to wear headbands with a giant L on their forehead which essentially acts as a shock collar – to prevent them from plotting an attack. Led by former athlete Lincoln (Brian Letscher), the group, which consists of a librarian, a tech nerd, an actress, a gardener and a distant father (not quite The Breakfast Club eh?) decide to fight back against the government claiming that wanting to keep to themselves should not be a crime.
Sounds serious? Well, yes, but it’s meant to be a comedy but unfortunately fails at being funny – and that’s mainly down to the stilted comedic material, messy plot and overbearing characters (especially from the Lone-Anon class leader Mike).
Throughout the film, multiple plot points are introduced that very loosely connect to each other and it just feels far too top heavy – this leads to some twists and turns towards the final act that fails to pack a punch (serious or comedic) because of the convoluted way that they are explained. At various points, one found oneself exclaiming; “wait, who is that?” and “why is this happening” – that should not happen. Veteran Stephen Tobolowsky even makes an appearance as a side character but even he looked confused and bored by the material he was given!
However, that’s not to say that it's all completely dull. One character stood out and truly provided some laughs and that was Jeremy, played by The Walking Dead’s Khary Payton. Him popping up at random moments spouting conspiracy theories was the one feature that will keep the audience’s attention.
Although the script was not the strongest, Eryc Tramonn showcases his talent at the helm with a competent debut outing in the directors’ chair. He has clearly tried his best with the material that was given to him but was unable to save a lacklustre comedy that felt like a chore rather than a witty, smart punch after punch of satire that it had the potential to be with this interesting concept.