A story of a girl who finds herself and then eats herself.
I saw a teaser trailer for this film probably six months before its release and I was beyond excited. The trailer had me hoping that this film was a remake of the French film, Dans Ma Peau, which is one of the most revolting and gruesome films ever made. Dans Ma Peau is about a woman who suffers a leg accident that ultimately leads to her descent into madness and self-cannibalism. EAT is obviously HEAVILY influenced by this film but it is NOT a remake. EAT is more of a Starry Eyes wanna-be.
The film opening is pleasing to the eye with over-saturated colors that gives a feeling of hyper-realism. Though a lot of the FX work is mediocre, I have to commend the camera work and editing for creating some shocking imagery. It gives the sub-par special effects work a brilliant luminosity that makes you cringe and want to look away from the screen. And in this case, this motive of this film is to shock and disgust, so it certainly accomplishes what it sets out to do.
EAT is about an aging and unsuccessful actress, trying to keep up with the young and up-and-coming actresses. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and Novella McClure is cracking. She goes from audition to audition, all the while unable to stop biting at a weird, persisting thumb wound. Novella’s life goes from bad to worse when she gets in a car wreck, gets an eviction notice, and then starts chewing her whole hand off. No exaggeration. It’s nasty!
Up until this point, I was pretty pleased with the film (besides the FX work). I’m going to give spoilers ahead for the sake of a comprehensive review. Usually, I don’t like to give much away. In this case though, I feel it is necessary since my opinion wavered continually throughout the film.
Novella wakes up in a hospital and is put on suicide watch and ordered to see a psychiatrist. It just so happens that her doctor is a man she met one night at a club. There is an obvious attraction between these two people, but a relationship is not possible since they now have a professional doctor/patient relationship. Scratch that, he breaks the rules when he tells Novella he likes her and asks her out to dinner. This is not realistic behavior for a doctor, but it is a movie. What bothers me though is the more we get to know Dr. Simon, the more of a doofus he becomes. Novella is supposed to look a little washed-up and trashy. I can look past the fact that I don’t like her character that much because I think that is the goal of filmmaker, Jimmy Weber. But as far as Dr. Simon goes, I just can’t stand him.
My mood while watching this film gets even worse during an especially out-of-place scene. Novella and her best friend, Candace, go out one night and fall victim to a date-rape drug. The girls escape this awful encounter when Candace shoots them in the dick to ward off their advances. Problem solved. Novella deals with the stress by eating all the toes off her right foot. Why this scene is in the movie is beyond me. It fits nowhere in the story.
I was really starting to dislike the film but the end hit me by surprise. Even though this is a gruesome movie, it is monotonous at times. So this change of pace was pleasantly expected. Even though the plot has a lot of flaws, the real star is vile visual experience. As I mentioned before, the camera work is notable for creating a squirm-worthy experience. The bright red blood against Novella’s pale skin and bleached blonde hair is a striking and shocking visual. In fact, the whole movie has a distinct Gregg Araki feel to it. Gregg Araki is one of my favorite directors with films like The Doom Generation, Nowhere, Mysterious Skin, and Kaboom! The whole movie is a little ridiculous, but gore hounds will definitely enjoy watching this.
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