Directed by Boris Rodriquez
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Acclaimed Danish artist Lars Olafssen (Thure), suffering from a decade-long ‘dry spell’, takes up a teaching job at an obscure Canadian art school only to find new inspiration in the outré antics of his new roommate: Eddie (Smith), the mute, sleepwalking cannibal.
A low-budget Danish-Canadian co-production may not seem much of a promising prospect in the new horror movie stakes, but Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal turns out to be a surprisingly refreshing take on the well-worn horror comedy genre.
Essentially an offbeat remake of Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood (1959), with a healthy dose of Frankenstein (1931) and a touch of Troma, the movie boasts two great performances from Thure Lindhardt as the blood-thirsty artist and Dylan Smith as the hulking, mute, yet childlike, cannibal Eddie.
As Lars finds new artistic inspiration in Eddie’s gruesome antics (and actively begins to encourage his pal’s nocturnal nastiness), the on-screen antics are accompanied by occasional radio broadcasts juxtaposing the gorey nature of ‘high art’ opera storylines with the ‘low art’ of gruesome horror films. The blood and guts contrast well with the white out of the snowy Canadian landscape in which the action takes place.
Appearing as Lars’ frustrated agent is Canadian TV star Stephen McHattie (The X-Files, Haven), featured alongside his Pontypool (2008) co-star Georgina Reilly as the artist/teacher who falls for Lars. There’s a comedy cop (Paul Braunstein) who’s good for a few laughs and a vacuous art school principal (videogame voice star Al Goulem) who seems oblivious to everything going on around him.
As Eddie’s escapades escalate, Lars makes the switch from merely misguided artist to outright anti-hero and it is clear he’s not going to get out of this film alive. The Frankenstein inspiration (already clear in Smith’s performance) becomes central as the ‘monster’ ultimately turns on his creator. The film, however, misses a trick in the completion of Lars’ final work of art: surely his own blood would have been the perfect finishing touch?
Verdict: Funny, gruesome and a little different, Eddie is a fresh take on a tired genre, 7/10
Brian J. Robb
Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal screens at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 29 June at 22:45 and on 30 June at 20:30.