Horror comedies are tricky for me. They either work really well, or they’re a flat out disaster. When movies try to walk both lines, more times than not, they’re unable to properly give both genres their fair share, and one overpowers the other. Boris Rodriguez’s EDDIE: THE SLEEPWALKING CANNIBAL not only properly executes a successful venture into the horror/comedy genre, but gives horror fans a fresh angle that we haven’t seen in recent times.
EDDIE: THE SLEEPWALKING CANNIBAL tells the story of Lars, formerly a popular painter, who after losing his inspiration to paint, moves to a small town to teach art. All is well, until Lars is approached by his colleague Georgina, and talked into taking in Eddie, a mute who is allowed to attend the school in return for his now deceased caregiver’s contributions to the school. Initially reluctant, Lars agrees to let Eddie stay with him, and does his best to make him feel at home.
One night, Lars wakes up to find Eddie standing in the snow, with a bloodied face, and as Eddie walks inside, Lars comes across the remains of an eaten rabbit. Freaked out, yet intrigued, Lars instantly feels inspired to paint, and begins to finally feel that artistic spark again. Finding out that the school is in financial trouble, Lars sells his painting and it funds the school for another year, giving Lars the idea that Eddie’s affliction could work to his and the school’s benefit. Pretty soon, Lars begins to steer Eddie towards other victims, letting him kill them in order to have inspiration for paintings, and in turn consuming him to the point of being obsessed.
Like any other story having to do with obsession, Lars’ desire to paint overcomes him, and sets forth a chain of events that eventually lead to blood, guts and a pretty intense finalé involving Lars, his girlfriend, Eddie, and a funny as hell cop. It’s a really entertaining film, with a sense of humor that is as dry as a desert, and I mean that as a compliment. It never goes for obvious jokes, instead relying on subtle comedy, mostly given by the cop character (played amazingly by Paul Braunstein, THE THING prequel). As funny as it can be, there’s an almost tragic part of the film that has to do with the treatment of Eddie. While his intentions are good, Lars’ desire to paint becomes greater than his loyalty as a friend and caregiver to Eddie, and it eventually leads Lars to exploit him on more than one occasion, before realizing how far he’s gone. Dylan Smith’s portrayal of Eddie is completely effective, even without saying a single word throughout the film. He’s able to convey a heartbreaking tone with Eddie, and it adds to the film tremendously.
EDDIE: THE SLEEPWALKING CANNIBAL successfully gives viewers a film that is enjoyable from start to finish, and never loses its charm. It’s a good study on art and an artist’s desire to feel the passion that he once felt, ready to do anything that it takes to feel that passion again..even if it means watching people die. It’s definitely a fun film, full of moments that tug at your heartstrings, and others that splatter blood across the screen. Probably one of the most impressive balances of the two that I’ve seen in a while.
EDDIE: THE SLEEPWALKING CANNIBAL opens in a limited theatrical and Video on Demand engagement starting April 5th VIA Doppelgänger Releasing