Tuesday, 4 September 2012

10/08/2012: Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal

The other day someone asked me how I choose what movies to watch. I told them that just about anything could be the cause, from a director to a poster or an actor. Once in a while I will discover someone new who I just decide to watch the entire filmography of. I added Eddie to my watchlist after watching Pontypool, not because of Stephen McHattie, but Georgina Riley. I’m not sure if I would have stumbled on Eddie any other way, but that would have been a shame because it is a nice entertaining Canadian horror comedy.

Now, usually when I set out to watch someone’s entire filmography I get distracted and never get around to all of it. Such has happened with David Lynch, and David Cronenburg as of late. However, when it comes to a small time indie actress, it isn’t hard to knock off most of the major pegs in that list. While I may not have covered her entire resumé I think I covered the two more major of Georgina Riley's performances. Now two supporting roles in a couple of Canadian horror films really isn’t any kind of major Hollywood style stardom, not even up here in Canada but apparently it is enough for me to notice, and it did lead me to discover some of the better Canadian horror movies to come out recently in the great white north of independent filmmaking.

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal is about, you guessed it, a sleepwalking cannibal. Now, on the one hand, having a title like that kind of gives away all your cards right off the bat, but there really isn’t any other way to go about it. If I try and hide the surprise I would describe the movie to you as follows; a Dutch artist moves to a small Canadian town to teach at an art school after  struggling with inspiration for over 10 years. There he reluctantly takes Eddie, a mute and mentally challenged man into his home and together a friendship is formed with its own share of dark secrets. Now, sure that is going to attract a few watchers, but not at all for the right reason. Half of them are going to expect a Rainman style comedic drama and the other half are thinking some kind of Brokeback Mountain type thing. You couldn’t be farther off. While the drama in Eddie might be there, it is a horror comedy, if on a bit of a more serious note than most of that ilk.

The harsh survival conditions of a Canadian winter.
Now Canadian films are not big budget productions. As far as I know, we don’t have any major movie studios up here. There are tons of movie filmed in Canada, because you know, we are the best place to live in the world, but unfortunately we don’t have any major studios and so pretty much every Canadian movie is inherently an independent movie. That being said, don’t expect any big budget special effects, but neither is Eddie lacking in the blood and gore department either. You’ll get a fair share of severed limbs and blood spatter, which always compliments nicely with a snowy Canadian winter. Apparently this movie was filmed in Ottawa, Ontario, however it must have been pretty far on the outskirts, as it is rather isolated looking. Eitherway, for those of you unfamiliar with the concept of winter and snow, Eddie is a good representation of a typical winter in southern Canada.

The most interesting thing I noticed in Eddie however was that for a movie about artists and art, we never actually see anything. Not a single one of Lars' masterpiece paintings was ever shown, and we only ever see the edge of the sculpture. The only artwork we actually see is the childlike drawings of Eddie, effectively making him the best artist in the movie. But, I don’t think Eddie is setting any records with its lack of actual art. I may not watch a lot of movies dealing with struggling artists, but I doubt we ever see any of their masterpieces either. 

Now that's art! I mean look at the lighting of the room. Great work lighting guy.
I’m not sure that Eddie really succeeds on the comedy level of the horror comedy. It isn’t an over the top, this is so outrageous type of comedy, nor is it about one liners or jokes. The only real comedy comes from the whole concept of what happens, but personally I found the movie to be rather morbid and cheerily dark.  I’m not even sure I actually liked where it went, as by the end of the second act I wasn’t very happy with the way things were going. Of course, like I had suspected, and I also suspect what was making me unhappy, was that in the end there isn’t exactly the ideal happy ending. It is as realistically happy as it can get, but it isn’t going to be fairytale style. I think that, perhaps I wasn’t looking for such a serious and realistic type of movie, and that wasn’t exactly what I was expecting either, but if that is what you are looking for, then Eddie might be the movie for you.

As for the cast, I would say they did a good job. They aren’t Hollywood stars but I recognized almost everyone of them. Thure Lindhardt does decently as the lead, with Dylan Smith as Eddie doing his part in the titular role. Georgina Riley whom I came to see held up her end, and I was surprised to see Stephen McHattie return with her from Pontypool. (Speaking of which, a sequel is in the works, and if you haven’t seen it do.) There isn’t much anyone else major, although I did enjoy watching a trio of snobby American tourists getting ripped limb from limb. Don’t worry, they deserved it.

It's not all happiness and art, there are also late night bathrobe phone calls and impending dramatic music.
Overall, Eddie wasn’t the movie I expected, and while it didn’t please me I can respect it and it was entertaining. It is always good to watch a Canadian film, especially when it is my favourite genre, horror. While it might not be the most hilarious horror comedy, I’m sure some viewers might take everything in a completely different light than myself. The next movie I’m looking forward to along these lines is A Little Bit Zombie, but I have no idea when I will get a chance to see it, having missed my chance at Fantasia Fest, a couple weeks ago.


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