Monday, July 23, 2018

Hungry For Saw'more?

If there's one horror subgenre that defined the 21st century, it's very likely the oddly common "sick men living in remote locations and equipped with endless resources who enjoy super high concept torture routines." For better or worse, 8 Saw films and counting, it continues.

Quick Plot: Beck is a flailing graphic novelist who decides a road trip to a sinkhole-laden ghost town in Florida is exactly what he needs to inspire his next project. He's accompanied by his easily annoyed girlfriend Candace and his doofy younger brother Jiminey (yes, like the cricket).

After a Doritos-catered stop at a lonely roadside diner, the trio finds themselves carjacked and alone in a polluted town with no cell service. A few wise decisions to split up quickly separates the team, only for each to awaken in an abandoned high school-turned-super-high-tech-torture-prison lorded over by bitter townie Ezrin (the perfectly named Cooper Huckabee of The Funhouse) and his scar-covered assistant.

Like all villains in these kinds of movies, Ezrin has an odd and rather elaborate way to pass his free time: capturing random out-of-towners, locking them up, and starving them so that they're highly motivated when he pits them against each other in a battle to the death for a crappy egg sandwich. 

You can guess where things go from here, and Starve delivers the typical germ-ridden concrete battlegrounds with the kind of mean streak we've seen in countless films of the last 15 years, from Raze to Die

Directed by the even more perfectly named Griff First, Starve delivers little surprise, but it does what it does with a higher level of skill than a lot of its competition. The characters are bland and rather awful, but the acting is passable, and some of the production and makeup design works well enough to keep things visually interesting. For 100 minutes, it's enough.

High Points
Perhaps the most interesting moment happens early on, when Beck makes a shocking choice that puts his relationship with Candace into a realistically questionable status...

Low Points
...and it's the film's biggest shame that it fails to explore that conflict deeper, but alas, ravenous cannibals are simply not going to fight themselves 

Lessons Learned
We already knew this from Sleepaway Camp 2, but it's always good to remember just how dangerous a curling iron can be

Gypsies don't pay taxes

There's no place like taking a pregnancy test than a poop-filled toilet in a dirty rest stop

Eh, if you're in the mood for one of the countless more recent Saw-inspired grisly horror flicks streaming on Amazon Prime, Starve is probably in the upper middle tier. If that style has less appeal to you than deciding to kill your brother or yourself for cold french fries, then pass. 

These are the questions we all must ask ourselves as fans of the genre. 

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