‘Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal’ Doesn’t Have Enough Bite

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – There’s something deeper going on in “Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal,” opening tomorrow at Music Box. I think. It’s about a struggling artist who finds inspiration in a small town when he’s forced to serve as guardian for the title character. Don’t all artists have something in common with cannibals given the way they turn their own (or other people’s) insides into fuel for their creativity? While that’s an engaging and interesting starting place for a horror-comedy, Boris Rodriguez’s movie sadly ends up being neither an effective horror movie nor a memorable satire. It just kind of, pardon me for going there, sleepwalks through its clever set-up.

Thure Lindhardt, so great in “Keep the Lights On,” stars as Lars, a painter who goes to a snowy, secluded town to find his creative muse and does so in the most unexpected of places. During the day, Lars is a teacher, and it’s there that he befriends the silent and stoic Eddie (Dylan Smith). Getting Eddie to break out of his shell through art, it’s clear that Lars has a connection with him. And so he is asked to be Eddie’s caregiver, allowing the burly gentleman to move in with him. One night, Lars stumbles upon a sleepwalking Eddie with blood around his mouth. He sees a decimated rabbit corpse and, inexplicably, finds his artistic muse. The graphic violence inspires creativity. Before long, Lars isn’t just painting again, he’s funding the school at which he works with the profits. So, a few bad guys are getting eaten in the middle of the night – the kids get a new swimming pool. Who’s really getting hurt?

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal
Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal
Photo credit: Music Box Films

The cast of “Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal” is strong from top to bottom even if Rodriguez gives them disappointingly little to do. I really like Lindhardt as an actor. In both this and “Lights,” he finds unique approaches to his characters and I could very easily see him finding a breakthrough role that brings him to household name status. Georgina Reilly is beautiful and engaging as the romantic lead, Smith brings a nice physicality to Eddie, and the always-great Stephen McHattie is wonderfully slimy as Lars’ agent.

There are clearly some great ideas and horror/satire concepts going on in “Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal.” So why is the final product played so straight and self-serious that it gets boring? “Eddie” is a remarkably short film (under 80 minutes) and yet I still found it repetitive and tedious. It too often feels like a first draft – the great ideas that needed more rewrites to be expanded into an actual film. The lack of character development, the thin approach to the commentary on art & artists, the fact that the movie is never once scary and not really funny (although a copy played well by Paul Braunstein gets some nice laughs) – “Eddie” constantly feels like it’s just missing its mark and potential. Every possible road to satire or character is only half-travelled, leaving what could be the most inert cannibal movie of all time.

“Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal” stars Thure Lindhardt, Georgina Reilly, Dylan Smith, Alain Goulem, Paul Braunstein, and Stephen McHattie. It was directed by Bruno Rodriguez. It opens at the Music Box in Chicago on April 26, 2013.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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