Friday, May 20, 2011

Cannibal Girls

(Ivan Reitman, 1973)
This is a silly, ugly, messy movie that looks like the archetypal early 70s piece of shit horror movie, see title for concept. But I'm not (only) being partisan when I assert that it is completely transformed by the presence of Andrea Martin and Eugene Levy as the terrorized-couple protagonists. More specifically, it's the decision to base the film on almost entirely improvised dialogue, delivered by people who know how to do it - in place of stiff amateurs struggling to regurgitate their scripts, we get lovely bits of random shtick. Plus a few stiff amateurs of course. And the usual third-act how the hell do we wrap this up routine, rather more chronically incoherent than usual. So while I'm still dubious that Reitman deserves his Order of Canada campaign, I'm impressed that there is in fact a distinct and interesting sensibility engaging us through the wreckage here. Talent-incompetence and comedy-horror as twin dichotomies, both battling each other to a watchable draw.

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