Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on October 23, 2012

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Dear Sabrina van Hoof
Swing Gang

Dear Sabrina,

In your position, you have to do what you're told. If a set dresser tells you to drag a corpse around, you ask how far. If a decorator decides they need more blood up a wall, you ask how high. You do all the art department's last minute dirty deeds without question, not unlike the poor title character in Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal. But if you ever feel like turning against your gentle masters, think twice before chewing them out. You never know: they might be using you to accomplish a greater good, like producing a dementedly entertaining black comedy.

Then again, they could just be selfish artists using you to keep their own hands clean.

That's the case with Lars (Thure Lindhardt), a brilliant Danish painter going through an artistic dry spell. He ends up in the backwoods of Canada to clear his head and teach at a tiny art school. But when he's guilted into housing a simple-minded roommate named Eddie (Dylan Smith), he discovers an unlikely and incredibly violent inspiration - a sleepwalking cannibal. Cheaper than hiring a personal swing gang, I suppose, but it's also a lot messier. What begins as an unorthodox means of clearing up his painter's block, turns into a personal puppet that does some unseemly bidding--all in the service of artistic integrity, of course. Well, at least initially.

The film itself is certainly no masterwork (nor does it try to be) but the broad strokes are pretty damn amusing. Part of the appeal is that writer and director Boris Rodriguez has a good handle on tone. Rather than creating an all-out gore fest or exploitation piece, the story eases its way into mayhem. Eddie himself, for example, slowly eats his way up the food chain - from rabbits, to dogs, to an eventual house full of humans. It's a horror-comedy mix that is hard to pull-off outside the hands of Sam Raimi, but mostly succeeds here because of Smith's empathetic portrayal of the mute murdering muse, and Lindhardt's strange brand of anti-hero (a physical resemblance to Simon Pegg doesn't hurt, either).

Without exploring the concept in any meaningful way, the film also grazes the surface of social commentary and the way artists exploit the suffering of others for personal benefit. No one is more guilty of this than filmmakers themselves, where every serial killer is almost guaranteed to be portrayed in some type of made-for-TV movie at the very least. But this is man bites man, not Man Bites Dog, and the film's ambitions are not nearly as provocative. Regardless, I'd be weary of those bosses if I were you. You never know what they'll make you do in the name of art.

Keeping an eye on you,


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