Stream to Scream: “OMNIVORES”Fearful Features,Movies/TV,News,Reviews Ken W. Hanley
As many fright fans already know, FANGORIA offers a great selection of gruesome movies, old and new, for free at our Hulu channel. To give you a better idea of what’s available, FANGORIA is taking in-depth looks at some of the channel’s terrifying titles with Stream to Scream. Today: Óscar Rojo’s cannibal creepshow OMNIVORES.
Throughout history, there are seemingly three kinds of cannibal movies produced within the horror genre. The first of which, the “Jungle Cannibal Film,” is the most infamous, as they often venture into notorious levels of gore and depravity. The second is the “Incidental Cannibal Film,” where the cannibal in question is usually removed of his/her humanity and is presented in a monstrous nature before engaging in the act. The last kind is the “Domestic Cannibal Film,” which often follow families or individuals who eat others in a private and civilized manner, usually with narrative undertones of traditionalism and classism.
OMNIVORES falls into the latter, impressively making the most of a low budget while subversively playing with restraint. Óscar Rojo’s film is not for the weak-hearted, even if does keep the most graphic moments quick and relatively clean; it’s mostly in implication that the film is especially revolting. For all the subtle nastiness that OMNIVORES figuratively shoves down our throats however, the film doesn’t let the horror shine past its multifaceted characters and their respective stories.
Very simply, OMNIVORES follows a group of people whose lives are connected to a clandestine eating club where freshly killed human is the only meal on the menu. This group includes an undercover journalist, his deceptive lover, a deranged mute cook and a psychologically scarred entrepreneur, as well as more than a few unlucky victims. As their stories all converge, the tension ramps in synchronicity with the stark yet casual depiction of the entire sadistic experience. Even if the final moments are predictable and somewhat disappointing, OMNIVORES as a whole is effectively creepy and engaging throughout, and surprisingly not a tale of moral corruption but rather of entitled depravity.
OMNIVORES director Óscar Rojo’s greatest asset is his sense of visual pacing, knowing as a storyteller what perfectly bookends horrific moments to evoke the most visceral disgust from the audience. By adding in the occasional moment of sensuality or interpersonal banter, especially when following scenes of believably desperate humans being brought into a kitchen in order to watch their own preparation is especially harrowing. The cinematography by José Antonio Muñoz Molina appears fluid and slick, adding production value beyond OMNIVORES’ budget while also punctuating the grime in the seedier aspects of cannibalism. The film occasionally feels inappropriately goofy however, due to Lucia Rojo’s flamboyant score, which uses a string-emulating keyboard to evoke Hitchcock yet instead recalls late-career Argento.
OMNIVORES benefits from a solid cast as well, with nary a poor performance among the actors. Mario de la Rosa does a great job wavering between sultry confidence and paralyzing fear, convincingly descending into the inescapable world of fine cannibalistic dining. Marta Flich is sexy and even somewhat creepy as his seductive lover with an unflinching reserve in the face of some seriously deranged action. Fernando Albizu and Paco Manzanedo are more animated than their counterparts as the main antagonists of the film, but they’re also surprisingly sympathetic, even in the face of their evil deeds. And a special mention should go to Ismael Fritschi, who adds a bit of comic relief that’s both nuanced and genuinely amusing.
While it’s not on the prestigious level of some of the crazier, or classier, work coming out of Spanish-language filmmakers in the genre these days, OMNIVORES is still quite good and unsettling in its own moderate balance of both. Despite a melodramatic flare, OMNIVORES focuses on the story at hand and disturbing the viewer without falling into exploitative or campy territory. It’s a small horror movie that trades in suspense for color and stomach-turning dread, and it’s guaranteed to leave a good taste in the mouth of even the harshest critic.