TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL: “Eddie — The Sleepwalking Cannibal”

Early Tribeca Film Festival reviews

BY TRAV S.D.  |  Certain movies are much better than their titles give them credit for. Off the top of my head, “The Thing from Another World,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx” all spring to mind. Such is the case, too, with “Eddie — The Sleepwalking Cannibal.”

EDDIE — THE SLEEPWALKING CANNIBAL
Feature Narrative
Written & Directed by Boris Rodriguez
Runtime: 83 minutes
Fri. 4/20, 8:30pm at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea;
Sat. 4/21, 11:30pm & Sat. 4/28, 11:59 pm
at AMC Loews Village
For tickets and info, visit tribecafilm.com or call 646-502-5296.

Don’t get me wrong. This is most definitely a film about a sleepwalking cannibal named Eddie — but it’s also about the guilt that artists have in consuming the lives of others in order to produce their work. Thure Lindhardt (“Pelle The Conqueror,” “The Neverending Story”) plays Lars, a once-hot Danish painter who has arrived at a provincial (in both senses) Canadian art school to clear his head and teach.

Having hit a dry spell since his breakthrough success a decade earlier, Lars Olafssen (Thure Lindhardt) is asked to care for a troubled mute man named Eddie (Dylan Smith), the son of one of the school’s benefactors. Since he can’t speak, it’s hard to tell if Eddie is mentally challenged, crazy or both — but it becomes apparent that something is definitely off when dismembered animals start appearing under Eddie’s window every morning.

At first, Lars is shocked. Then it turns out to be a stimulant to his imagination, allowing him to paint again. And then, you know how it is…one thing leads to another and soon Lars is encouraging Eddie to make a lot of bad people go away.

Boris Rodriguez wrote and directed this over-the-top black comedy, a Danish-Canadian co-production which echoes past classics. It owes a lot to one of my personal favorites, Roger Corman’s “Bucket of Blood” (the original serial-killing-artist satire). The gradual transformation of Lars from a reasonable human being into a monster far worse than Eddie turns it into a sort of horror noir — and the fact that we manage to feel sympathy for him in the end is a hat trick that calls to mind yet another horror classic (“The Fly”).

The most distinctive element of all may well be David Burns’ interesting score, which distorts familiar melodies into sickening dissonances. If you’re inured to the sight of tumbling arms and legs by now, perhaps a soundtrack that sounds like it’s being played on melted records will get you reaching for the barf bag. Remember, it ain’t horror if no one goes running for the exits!

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One Response to TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL: “Eddie — The Sleepwalking Cannibal”

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