EAT (2014)Directed by Jimmy Weber
Written by Jimmy Weber
Starring Meggie Maddock, Ali Frances, Jeremy Make, Maru Garcia, Dakota Pike, Josh Staab
Find out more about this film here.
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Novella wants to become a star so she can fuck Michael Fassbender. Well, that’s not the only reason, but one she gives when she asks about what she wants to do with her life. She’s a wannabe model/actress who is finding it harder and harder to find roles and with rent and other stressors in her looming, she has developed a nasty habit of biting her cuticles and fingernails.
But as the stress mounts, her habit is starting to intensify and by intensify, I mean, she’s starting to eat more than her cuticles and fingernails.
Stories like Stephen King’s SURVIVOR TYPE and ANTHROPOPAGUSwhere the protagonist begins eating themselves out of sheer desperation and hunger came to mind immediately upon watching EAT, a new film by Jimmy Weber and one you’re going to want to watch out for if you like psychologically horrific gorefests. And man-o-man is this a gorefest. But instead of being one of your typical gorefests where it’s nothing but a showcase for bloody wounds and nasty effects, EAT delves into psychological issues so deep with characters so rich, even if you are easy to nauseate, you’re going to have trouble turning away.
Writer/director Weber has orchestrated a symphony of psychologically damaged people with this film. Meggie Maddock is instantly likable and gorgeously engaging as Novella, a deeply scarred young lady who has a distrust in doctors ever since her father died on the operating table having a routine procedure. It’s no wonder when she begins to harm herself that she keeps her distance from doctors and refuses to get help. Her best friend Candice (Ali Frances) is over protective of her as Novella does seem to have that broken wing personality that brings out the parental instincts in people. When Novella’s bad habit of eating her own flesh gets out of control, it’s hard not to feel for her in this time of ultimate desperation. Weber seems to have covered all of the psychological bases in mapping out a flawed individual who surrounds herself with equally flawed people while all the while holding an unflinching mirror up to the horrors that happen in Hollywood these days. And he does so without being clichéd or melodramatic. Every emotional beat hits its mark with just amount of power that it just rings right. It’s traumatic and horrible, but right, nevertheless.
EAT seems to be adding to a growing trend of horror films about body horror left untreated (see also THANATOMORPHOSE, AFFLICTED, andCONTRACTED). I know I go to the doctor as a last resort, not because I don’t care about myself, but because I have such a busy schedule and tight budget. Flawed thinking, I know, but I think it’s a feeling many experience in this new day and age of a multitasking generation where a costly doctor’s visit means more problems. EAT delves into this very human desperation with a gentle hand at first, leading the viewer in by having us care for these characters, and then comes down hard on us like a sledgehammer in the latter half.
EAT is a film that is not for the squeamish. It contains effects sequences that will make you wince and scream. But the most uncomforting aspect of EAT is that it does such an effective job of pulling the viewer in to care about the characters before putting them through bloody, gory hell. Depthy, unflinching, and utterly gross, EAT is a film that will make you want to pull away, but you won’t be able to. Everything from the performances to the music used is spot on. EAT will affect you like few other horror films do. It will twist your heart while it churns your stomach. Not just a gorefest, but a gorefest with character and depth. Do not miss EAT when it comes to a festival near you.