Director/screenwriter Boris Rodriguez's first feature, Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal, serves as a cautionary tale to dog owners: shut your noisy dog the hell up or the neighbors will kill him and eat him. And if they can't catch him, they're kill and eat you instead.
Danish actor Thure Lindhardt plays Lars in the horror comedy. He's a famous artist with a slight problem - he's hit a dry spell and can't paint. Well, actually, he can paint but only if he sees fresh blood, guts and gore as inspiration. Enter Eddie (played by Dylan Smith) a gentle, mute giant who kills and eats small animals when he sleepwalks. He unexpectedly provides Lars with a mangled bunny. Inspired, Lars quickly completes a painting, his first in ten years. The two - the artist and monster-turned-muse - become uncomfortable partners.
Eddie has a wonderful streak of black humor (Lars kills a man, steps back from the bloody body and frames the scene with his hands before rushing off to find an easel). Everyone plays their roles completely straight, which adds to the absurdity of the situation.
The only flaw we can find in the performances is Lindhardt's accent, which seems to randomly appear and disappear. We forgive Lindhardt his come-and-go accent; what he lacks in verbal consistency, he makes up for in understated appeal. He makes Lars, who sets up anyone who even slightly annoys him to be eaten by Eddie, seem not only reasonable but even altruistic. (He donates the money he makes from each painting to a rural art school.)
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The audience never catches a glimpse of Lars' paintings, so we have no idea what beauty he creates. We do, however, see the results of Eddie's attacks - dismembered limbs, gaping woulds and the like.
On another level, Eddie is just a fun romp. On another level Eddie does a good job of posing the question: what are we willing to do in our efforts to create art? Lars, it seems, is willing to do anything. He manipulates Eddie, triggering his unconscious cannibalistic tendencies whenever he gets the urge to paint. Eddie does the killing and gnawing, but it's Lars who's the actual monster.
We favor the romp version.
Also out on DVD/Blu-ray today is the thriller Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey as a mysterious man hiding out in the woods who enlists the help of two young boys, the romantic drama To the Wonder with Ben Affleck as an American who falls in love with a Ukrainian divorcée while traveling in Europe and The Place Beyond the Pines with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper as a thief and cop whose lives intersect with long lasting effects.