Friday, March 17, 2017

CHILD EATER (2016) (DVD Review)


Label: MVD Visual

Rating: Unrated Region Code: 1
Duration: 82 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital Surround 5.1, Stereo 2.0 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Erlingur Thoroddsen
Cast: Cait Bliss, Brandon Smalls, Dave Klasko, James Wilcox, Melinda Chilton, Jason Martin, Colin Critchley

Indie horror Child Eater (2016) opens with a creepy prologue of a young girl wandering through the forest near a stream, making her way to the road where a woman in a passing car stops to offer assistance, only to find the girl is a victim, her face is bloodied, she's missing an eye, which she holds in her hand. 

Flash forward 25 years in the same town and we have the daughter of the local sheriff Helen (Cait Bliss) discovering she's pregnant, and not too happy about it, the father Tom (Dave Klasko) doesn't seem to be the most stand-up guy. She's also been tasked with babysitting a pre-teen kid named Lucas (Colin Critchley), who has just arrived in town with his father Matthew Parker (Weston Wilson). Turns out the old house that the Parker's bought belonged to a murderer and local legend, a man by the name of Robert Bowery (Jason Martin, You Can't Kill Stephen King), who twenty-five years earlier murdered a bunch of local children, plucking out their eyes and eating them in a demented attempt to thwart his own degenerative eyesight. Bowery seemingly was killed years ago, but the legend of the area persists, and when young Lucas hears of the legend he begins to believe he is being watched, that old man Bowery has returned, and he wants his eyes. While Helen is watching the boy he disappears from his bedroom, wandering out into the dark forest with his flashlight in search of answers, brave kid, but also maybe a bit foolish, damn kid.

Director Erlingur Thoroddsen has crafted a good micro-budget film with some charm and a decent amount of atmosphere, it sort of brought to mind the movie Lady In White (1998) with a young boy protagonist facing off against a small town evil, the kid also has the wide-eyed naivety I liked about Lukas Haas in Lady In white. Bowery, a gruesome ghoul, also brought to mind certain elements from Jeepers Creepers (2002), what with the organ eating.  The eye-eating boogie-man is gaunt, rail thin, has icky long fingernails, wears dark glasses and has a Kane (Poltergeist) type wicked grin plastered across his grey skinned face, they did some cool make-up work on this baddie, he never failed to make my skin crawl. 
Originality is not the movie strong suit, but it does have some creepy out-in-the-woods atmosphere, a semi-strong mythology that is cool, but also needed a bit more fleshing out in my opinion. The indie flick also has some nice lensing, while it's low-budget and it shows in various places, the movie is well-shot. On the negative side, the movie is a bit heavy with unnecessary filler, there's some melodrama sprinkled about that need nought be there, there are a few too many moments where you feel the fact that the movie began life as an effective short film, and had to be padded to bring it to feature length. Also, I think lead actress Cait Bliss is a bit bland, she's not bad,she plays the girl next door well, but her performance is too flat in some scenes. 

Child Eater is a solid watch, Bowery makes for an appropriately wicked villain, though I do wish he had more screen time, and that some of the scenes weren't so awkwardly edited. Director Erlingur Thoroddsen has made a decent fright flick, worth a watch, but I'm more looking forward to what he does next then re watching Child Eater. 

Child Eater arrives on DVD from  Child Eater Productions LLC and MVD Entertainment Group on March 28th. The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital stereo and surround audio, plus an audio commentary and 16-minutes of deleted scenes. 2.5/5