Monday, September 22, 2014

Vegans, Beware

For such an easy gross-out effect, it’s surprising that there aren’t more cannibal-based films readily available on Instant Watch. Sure, one could kill quite a few hours rewatching Junkyard Dog for endless lessons on how not to make a serious movie that’s hysterical, but sometimes, you want something sharp and Spanish.

Quick Plot: Some time ago, a young boy named Dimas was left alone in an isolated hunting lodge with his dying mother and a hefty appetite. As soon as she said her final goodbye, Dimas apparently wasted no time devouring her body.

As you do.

Thus begins the prologue to Omnivores, and if you're guessing little Dimas grew into a wealthy man of mystery who hosts secret invite-only dinners wherein human flesh is the star dish, you'd be onto something.

We visit said secret invite-only dinners via Marcus, a successful bachelor journalist who gets his leads along with some naked time from the attractive young women who also attend these gourmet soirees. Meanwhile, Dimas' personal chef scouts the streets to find the perfect meat subject. 

Madrid is a busy place.

Written and directed by Oscar Rojo, Omnivores is sharply made all around. As Marcus, actor Mario de la Rosa manages to project a stoic yet charismatic presence that's perfectly fitting to the film's intentionally cold tone.  This is a world filled with wealthy people who can throw thousands of dollars around on one evening's worth of meat and wine. There's a sleek, rather dispassionate energy around the characters and their quest for culinary satisfaction. It even seems like intentional casting that the one actor with a warmer, softer face ends up, well, tenderized.

High Points
The way that Rojo shoots the actual carnage is quite impressive. He never spares the incredibly icky gore, but because his butcher is carving up his bodies for dinner, it somehow manages to be both horrifying and not gratuitous

Low Points
Without spoiling anything, the final beats of Omnivores are rather bizarre. We get a rather badass climax, followed by a strange coda that isn't very clear (what exactly is the subject of that book?). Is the film just opening the door for a sequel?

Lessons Learned
It's better to pay more than to go on a vegetarian diet

When you've victoriously escaped from a seemingly impossible imprisonment in an isolated location, never, ever, and really, never accept help from the first car on the road

Always keep your kid well-fed. Otherwise, he'll figure things out for himself way too quickly

I’m glad I came across this fairly low radar film. Fangoria tends to have a mixed track record with their releases (although between this, Grimm Love, and Hunger, they seem to REALLLLLLLLLY like their independent films to involve cannibalism), but Omnivores is strong in most aspects: well-shot, well-acted, and appropriately unsettling. As I said earlier, I don’t exactly understand what the ending was going for, but it didn’t damn the film for me. It remains a strong recommendation.


  1. Clearly eating one's deceased parents as a child has a whole varied host of effects for your way in life, from becoming a demented cult leader over fellow cannibal children in a forest, or as a rich eccentric with a predilection for invite-only human flesh dine-ins.

    On an unrelated note, this week I finally succumbed to the Bourgeois wiles of American culture, and...!...tried pop tarts for the first time! They were not as tasty as Liz Lemon led me to believe.

  2. Who knew eating your parents had so many side effects?

    Which type of Pop Tart? The only ones I've ever had any love for are the S'mores. The fruit ones taste like processed jelly, and the other flavors get a little wild for my taste (hot fudge sundae=not nearly as good as a hot fudge sundae). BTW, currently, Pop Tarts are being advertised with some seriously weird (and to this review, rather thematic) marketing. The new TV ads are all about luring anthropomorphized Pop Tarts into a toaster so they can be burned alive and devoured. It's disturbing stuff for a breakfast treat.

  3. Frosted chocolate. By the way, what are S'mores?

    Sounds awesomely ooky! Speaking of disturbing commercials, here's a funny new Australian one with an evil boss!


    Graham cracker + Hershey's chocolate squares + toasted marshmallow + graham cracker x campfire = S'mores

    Australia, you scare me...