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Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal(2011)
Lars Olafssen, once a young celebrity in the art world is slipping away fast into the land of has-beens. His long-time art dealer, Ronny, is now an ungracefully aging hipster who desperately wants his meal ticket back. But Lars refuses to paint. His creativity comes at too high a cost - his inspiration is carnage - blood, guts and limbs. Not surprisingly, this lead to a dreadful breakdown in the past. Nevertheless, an eager Ronny arranges a teaching job for Lars at an art school in Koda Lake, a small Canadian town in the middle of nowhere. It's a "therapeutic" measure for Lars - a means to conquer his need to paint in the "safety" of a country retreat... That is, until Eddie comes into his life.
For more about Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal and the Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray release, see Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on August 2, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Thure Lindhardt, Dylan Smith, Georgina Reilly, Paul Braunstein, Stephen McHattie
Director: Boris Rodriguez
» See full cast & crew
Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray Review
Meals to die for.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, August 2, 2013
Pretty much everything you need to know about Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal is summed up in the film's decidedly whimsical title, at least in terms of the film's ultra-high concept. But the title does not reveal that there's a rather unexpected subtext dealing with Art (with a capital A) and what provides the inspiration to create it. Doctoral theses have been written on Man's singular desire to create Art of all kinds, whether that be painting, sculpture, or music, and anthropologists, sociologists and all kinds of other "ologists" have long wondered what the evolutionary reason for this proclivity could be. Many have come to the conclusion that it is Man's seemingly innate desire to attain immortality that leads to the creation of works of Art—for at least some works of Art have long outlasted their creators and have become "living" symbols of a life devoted to the pursuit of creative expression. Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal turns that hypothesis slightly on its head by positing a once famous painter who has lost his creative mojo and has resigned himself to teaching for a living, but who through a series of rather unlikely coincidences finds himself "mentoring" a man- child named Eddie who indeed sleepwalks and kills various living creatures, consuming at least parts of them. The painter finds the carnage oddly inspirational, and while Freudian analysts would have a field day with what that connection implies, the painter doesn't question it—he merely wants more of it. And so instead of helping Eddie reform his sleepwalking ways, he starts encouraging the hapless somnambulist, leaving a trail of dead bodies in what is a rather small Canadian village to begin with.
There's a moment fairly early in the Coen Brothers' Fargo where the kidnap plot which is central to the cascading series of events that are the focus of the film takes place. In an unforgettable scene, two kidnappers attempt to snatch a panicked housewife from her quiet suburban home. In a pitch perfect mixture of horror and hilarity, a number of things go awry during this attempt, and most audience members find themselves on a mad pendulum which swings manically between laughter and shock, a combination which continues, albeit in perhaps less powerful doses, throughout the rest of the film. Imagine that same mixture dialed down a notch or two and you'll have a good idea of the tone of first time writer-director Boris Rodriguez's approach in Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal. The film rarely rises to the giddy-scary heights of some of the Coens' best efforts, but it has a decidedly pitch black sense of humor which, while rarely laugh out loud funny, is wryly amusing and which keeps the effort mostly afloat.
Lars (Thure Lindhardt, Keep the Lights On) was a once famous painter whose work has hit a prolonged dry spell, to the point where he's given up ever painting again. Instead, he's accepted a teaching job in an out of the way Canadian burg. On the way there, while driving and reading a map at the same time, he manages to down a deer which had been crossing the road, but unfortunately he doesn't quite kill the beast. Panicked and unsure what to do, Lars picks up a large rock and begins bludgeoning the poor beast, ostensibly to put it out of its misery. Enter Verner (Paul Braunstein) the local constabulatory, looking every bit like a cross dressing Frances McDormand in Fargo, asking poor Lars what the frell he thinks he's doing? The cop lets Thure off with a warning of sorts, part of which includes the admonition that Lars better not leave the now dead creature in the middle of the snowbound highway.
Lars shows up at his new employment opportunity (deer dutifully tied to the hood of his vehicle) and meets the school's headmaster, Harry (Alain Goulem), who seems just a little surprised that Lars does not plan on painting while tucked away out of the limelight which seems to have haunted him since his muse deserted him. Harry also lets Lars know that this small arts school has subsisted on the generosity of a wealthy benefactor, with the stipulation that school in turn must take care of her mute adult nephew, Eddie (Dylan Scott Smith). In fact, Eddie is currently hanging out in Lars' classroom, and Harry wants to make sure that Lars will treat him kindly. Lars also has a passing interchange with a comely colleague named Lesley (Georgina Reilly), though it hardly seems to be love at first sight, at least for Lesley.
When the benefactress suddenly dies, the school is desperate and begs Lars to take Eddie into his home, which Lars agrees to do, if only to impress Lesley. There he quickly becomes aware that Eddie has a little—well, problem. Eddie sleepwalks, and when he does he likes to kill. Lars is shocked to find the remnants of a dead rabbit in his backyard the next day, not to mention bloody proof that Eddie was the culprit. Lars cleans up the mess, but then has a totally unexpected repercussion—for the first time in years, he's inspired to paint. He confides to Lesley, and she in turn confesses that Eddie's "issue" is a "pre-existing condition", so to speak, though it tends to only crop up when the silent giant is experiencing stress.
Lars is about to take remedial action, basically imprisoning Eddie in his room at night, but in a moment of weakness, he decides not to, since he has had an unfortunate run in with his closest neighbor, a man whose yappy little Dachshund won't stop barking, preventing Lars from getting some much needed sleep. Lars manages to subliminally coax Eddie into doing some "handiwork", though in this case there is some unforeseen collateral damage, meaning the neighbor himself. Never mind—more painting ensues. And Lars is able to sell it, turning over a pile of cash to the school, which proclaims him a hero.
A series of increasingly gruesome murders follows, as Lars attempts to keep both the inspiration and the cash (sacrificial) cow flowing. Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal loses a bit of steam in its second act, as we've already seen the setup and the results, and there's really little more to say and/or do than have the same scenario repeat. But Rodriguez mines quite a bit of humor out of the proceedings, with a nice combination of deadpan verbal humor and weird sight gags (the vision of Eddie, a lumbering giant, stumbling through the woods in his underwear is odd, to say the very least).
The film is probably funniest in some of its throwaway moments, including a running gag of a radio announcer describing the often insanely bloody finales of various operas. Rodriguez also wants to give us a "reason" for the carnage in a supposed late moment "twist" involving Lars's slimy agent (Stephen McHattie) that is not especially revelatory and in fact might have been better left on the cutting room floor. Like artistic inspiration itself, some things are better left unexplained.
Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray, Video Quality
Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Music Box Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.34:1. This digitally shot feature fares best in the sun dappled, snow strewn daytime scenes, where even when DP Philippe Kress pushes contrast, fine detail is rarely compromised. Rodriguez also favors lots of extreme close-ups, where fine detail is extremely sharp and full. Some of the nighttime scenes suffer, if only minimally, with just a hint of murkiness and lack of shadow detail. Colors are generally accurate looking, though Rodriguez and Kress seem to favor a slightly desaturated look, which then gives way to true pop when the gruesome corpses are revealed. Generally speaking the image here is consistently sharp and well defined.
Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix has some great immersive sequences, including the set pieces where Eddie goes on his "missions", and, later, when Lars scurries about to clean up the mess. Rodriguez likes to cut away (no pun intended) to quick images of the carnage as Lars begins to become inspired, and those frequently have attendant foley effects (think squishy and gooey). Dialogue is very cleanly presented, and fidelity is excellent.
Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal isn't quite there in terms of tone, but it's a rather remarkable first feature effort on the part of writer-director Boris Rodriguez. The humor may be too dry for some tastes, and the gruesome nature of the plot may strike some as off putting, but horror fans that like black comedy may well fall in love with this peculiar but effective film. This Blu-ray offers excellent video and audio and comes Recommended.
Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal Prize Package - August 13, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Doppelgänger Releasing are offering three members a chance to win a copy of Eddie, the Sleepwalking Cannibal, as well as an Eddie comic book. This black comedy stars Thure Lindhardt as a frustrated painter who uses a series of gruesome murders ...
• Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal Blu-ray - May 21, 2013
Doppelgänger Releasing, the new genre label of Music Box Films, has officially announced the Blu-ray release of writer/director Boris Rodriguez's Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal, starring Danish superstar Thure Lindhardt, Georgina Reilly and Dylan Smith. The horror-comedy ...
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