31 Days of Halloween — Day 12: Eaters (2015) — by Dr. Shock

Eaters 2015 Artwork

Editor’s Note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast and the Land of the Creeps horror podcast. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.

“It had been nearly a year since I checked out the video section at my local Walmart, and longer still since I’d actually found anything there worth purchasing. Along with the newest releases (which are always cheaper online), it usually offered a slew of titles I already owned, and others I couldn’t care less about (they were always heavy on rom-coms).

Then, about 2 months ago, while I was in the store picking something else up, I swung by the DVD section. To my surprise, I noticed a single rack dedicated to the newest indie releases, a number of which were horror movies. What’s even better is that the titles I’ve bought thus far have been good horror movies, including Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead and Containment. I now check back regularly to see what other hidden gems they might be offering, and my most recent trip introduced me to 2015’s Eaters.

June, 1974. Five friends: Nolan (Tristan Parrish Moore) and Jill (Hannah Risinger); the newly-engaged Dillon (Jonathan Haltiwanger) and Alice (Marcelle Bowman); and Jude (Robert Dean), who just returned home from a tour of duty in Vietnam, are traveling cross-country. Their adventure quickly takes a wrong turn, however, when, during a brief layover at a New Mexico rest stop, Jill goes missing.

At first, Nolan and the others think she may have been kidnapped by a gang of bikers led by a guy named Mickey (Algernon D’Ammassa), who pulled away moments before they realized Jill was gone. Anxious to get her back, the group catches up to the bikers, resulting in a dangerous showdown on a remote desert road. But, to their surprise, Jill isn’t with them, and to make matters worse, when they pull into a seemingly deserted town looking for gas, the friends find themselves smack dab in the middle of a nightmare from which they cannot escape.

Written and directed by Johnny Tabor, Eaters owes more than a little to another indie film, 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Aside from its story taking place in 1974 (the year Chainsaw was released), its tale of five twenty-somethings piled into a car is reminiscent of the opening moments of Tobe Hooper’s horror classic (there are other similarities as well, but seeing as they’re minor spoilers, I won’t go into them).

Like the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Eaters is also a bit rough around the edges, but while Chainsaw benefitted from the grittiness of its film stock and Hooper’s guerrilla-style approach to the material, Eaters feels a little sloppy (there’s at least one noticeably jarring cut, and the pacing suffers in several scenes). Adding to Eaters’ problems are the sub-par performances, some of which are so bad that they’re a distraction.

That said, Eaters isn’t a total loss. At times, it’s genuinely stylish, and the movie’s central mysteries (which, before long, amount to much more than just Jill’s disappearance) are interesting enough to keep you watching. I also liked how the director tied several different subplots together (the bikers do make their way back into the story, leading to some of the film’s best sequences), and while there isn’t a lot of blood, the few scenes of gore that are featured are pretty darn shocking.

I can’t say I was blown away by Eaters; along with the above problems, the film’s climax (or lack thereof) left me scratching my head (though the stinger at the end of the credits did make me smile). But Johnny Tabor is clearly a skilled filmmaker, and at the very least, Eaters has me interested in seeing what he comes up with next.”

—Dr. Shock

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Dr. Shock also appears on this horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

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3 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 12: Eaters (2015) — by Dr. Shock

  1. (Spoiler free)

    Day 12 – Knock Knock (2015)

    After eight long years of waiting for another Eli Roth directed film, we received not one, but two right about the beginning of October. Unlike his bloody cannibal film, The Green Inferno, Knock Knock, only received a limited release. Luckily, it had a dual limited release and a VOD release on the same day. My initial thoughts were that it’s fun that Roth would direct two films so close to each other, yet they’re two very different movies. My second thought was how badly this film was marketed. From seeing the trailer in the theater, various TV spots, the posters, ect have all made this out to be a serious movie. In fact, IMDb lists the genres as horror, mystery, and thriller. Yet, the biggest genre that Knock Knock falls under is comedy. First and foremost, it’s a dark comedy. It’s to such a degree that I wasn’t even sure if I was going to review it for the month of October, but since someone does die and others may have their eyes on this movie, I decided to review it still.

    I imagine if there’s one thing moviegoers will be talking about after seeing this, it’s trying to decide what they actually saw. Is it feminist movie where the big bad cheater gets a proper punishment? Is it a movie where a guy is unfairly depicted despite being a rape victim? Can you even rape a man? Who are the true villains of the movie? Well, I firmly believe that the first sex scene began as a sexual assault and the second sex act was firmly a man being raped. However, for anyone who looks too much into these questions, you’re missing the greater point. I don’t believe that Knock Knock is supposed to be a pro or anti anything. It’s simply a tale of two greatly disturbed women that terrorize a man because they’re crazy. This lack of recognizing how simple of a film this is can be attributed to the fact that Knock Knock was marketed as a serious film. It’s a dark comedy, you shouldn’t be taking anything too seriously.

    Acting wise, Keanu Reeves is a quality actor or isn’t going to receive any praise for his character. I’ve already seen it around online. People attacking Reeves’ acting, talking about how he’s hamming it up and not being very believable. Again, it’s a dark comedy. Reeves is supposed to be over the top. That’s part of where the comedy comes from. You’re seeing some pretty freaky events, but Reeves reminds viewers that this is a comedy by his reactions. For the other two actors, Mrs. Eli Roth, Lorenza Izzo, brings the sexiness while also living it up by being a complete psycho. Izzo’s partner in crime, Ana de Armas as Bel, brings in some of the more disturbing moments. while Izzo’s character is just enjoying mentally torturing Reeves’ character, de Armas is more about exposing her twisted mind. Some of her lines are hardly appropriate and all you’re left to think about is what sort of craziness has she gone through in her life? Bel makes Knock Knock not an ideal movie to watch with family members.

    So, is there any actual horror in Knock Knock? I suppose there is some horror in opening up your life and world to two psychos, being at their complete mercy, and not even knowing what to believe. The last part was something I found fun throughout the entire movie and after it was over. Since the two girls lie so much, you have no idea what is actually the truth when the movie is over. The movie ends with Izzo’s character revealing the truth, but after an hour and a half of her lying, I found myself unsure if I could even believe that. I love movies that leave something up for interpretation and it’s up to the viewers to decide what truly happened and what was the truth. Knock Knock is also a rare case where I don’t have a theory as to what is the truth because I don’t want to take a side. I love the ambiguity of it all. There’s actually some good horror in that. You will never know the truth. Never know if they’re going to come back. Never knowing if they’re done it before. You life will never be the same and you’ll never understand the specifics of what ruined that life.

    Overall, I enjoyed Knock Knock. I easily enjoyed it more than the other Eli Roth 2015 film, The Green Inferno. However, I’m also someone who loves having some comedy mixed in with my horror. I’m repeating myself here a lot, but Knock Knock is not a horror film. It’s a dark comedy and it’s marketing is potentially going to really hurt the film due to fooling moviegoers into expecting one thing, but receiving something entirely different. Keanu Reeves brings the laughable acting, but it works well for the film. Izzo and de Armas work well together as the ultra sexy antagonists. Roth’s sick sense of humor can be found throughout the most awkward scenes that just makes the viewer uncomfortable, whether they enjoy that discomfort or not. If you’re a fan of dark comedies, give it a watch, but have your expectations realistic. Knock Knock is a twisted little film that makes you want to see how far these two ladies are willing to take their mental torture.

    I’d give it a 7.5 and since it’s already on VOD, you’re better off just paying a few bucks and streaming it than finding it in a theater.

  2. 31 Days of Halloween day 12
    31. Macabre (Rumah Dara) (***) – Typical insane family movie but it’s Indonesian. FFO: Frontier(s), The Loved Ones
    32. Sonno Profondo (**) – An interesting experiment. A giallo almost entirely from the sightline of the killer. Only worth it if you’re really interested in what a giallo killer does with his downtime.
    33. Jessabelle (***) – Strong ghost story from Blumhouse and written by Robert Ben Garant aka Deputy Junior.

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