Sunday, August 10, 2014

Eddie (2011)

After an accident a decade ago, renowned Danish painter Lars Olafssen (Thure Lindhardt) lost his muse, and hasn't produced anything noteworthy since. In an effort to abandon the professional art world altogether, he seeks refuge in Koda Lake, a remote Canadian town, where he accepts a teaching position at a struggling art school.

Despite Olafssen's best efforts, everyone from the overzealous school administrator (Alain Goulem) to his seedy agent (Stephen McHattie) are hoping he will once again pick up a brush, yet all he can do is stare at a blank canvas. But that changes after he takes in one of his adult students, Eddie (Dylan Scott Smith), whose curious nocturnal habit turns out to be just the inspiration he needs to paint once again. But how far is Olafssen willing to go for the sake of his art?

Dylan Scott Smith as Eddie
Shot outside of Ottawa, Eddie was directed by Boris Rodriguez, who also wrote the screenplay; this was based on a story by Jon Rannells, which was originally about a novelist who finds his muse in a werewolf's killing spree. Released on Blu-ray as Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal, the title and marketing material alone should give you a good idea of what to expect from this Canada-Denmark co-production--and you won't be disappointed. It's a horror-black comedy where Fargo meets Shaun of the Dead, except that the traditional zombie is replaced by a living human named Eddie. He's an adult mute who witnessed a horrible tragedy in his childhood, to the point that whenever he faces an upsetting situation, he tends to sleepwalk--and ends up killing and eating any living thing that crosses his path.

Thure Lindhardt as Lars Olafssen
Eddie's peculiar nocturnal activity is well known to those responsible for bringing Olafssen to Koda Lake, including a fellow instructor (Georgina Reilly) who has no problem with the two sharing a living space. It seems they're all willing to turn a blind eye to the increasing body count once they realize that a reinvigorated Olafssen will provide a major boon to the art school, as well as the community--and even the artist himself succumbs to the thrall of his new muse. Koda Lake's sole police officer (Paul Braunstein) seems to be the only one concerned about the increasing number of disappearances around town.

In fact, it's this ambiguity towards Eddie's activities that makes the slow reveal of each character's motivation all the more interesting. You'd think that someone who kills and eats other humans would be the antagonist of the story, but Eddie is just a pawn in a larger scheme to sell paintings. The film poses questions about the correlation between violence and creativity, the sleaziness of the corporate art world, and the importance of sacrificing everything for your art. But these serious topics are given a light touch, with a few appropriate jabs here and there; this is, after all, a satire.

Although this fun story may move slowly at times, it's recommended viewing for fans of horror-comedies, especially for those who like humour at its very dry best. Here's the official trailer:


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