Caleb Michael Johnson’s ‘The Carnivores’ (2021) Asks ‘What Makes You Hungry?’ – Movie Review

As humans, we all have desires, wants, and needs. Sometimes it takes us over and changes our minds and bodies. We can feel like animals as our hunger consumes us. The movie we will be talking about dealing with this subject is The Carnivores directed by Caleb Michael Johnson (read our interview – HERE).

The plot:

Alice (Tallie Medel) and Bret’s (Lindsay Burdge: The Dark Edge Of The Street 2020 – read our review here) dog, Harvey, is dying, and he is ruining everything. What had been a bright little family is quickly getting consumed by clouds of self-doubt, suspicion, and a disturbing amount of ground beef.

THE CARNIVORES

The Carnivores is a film that is subjective. It’s Johnson’s first feature film since Joy Kevin in 2014 and before that, the filmmaker had directed short films. The Carnivores has the feel of a short film. At times, it is not dialogue-heavy but relies on visuals and a few words just to get the point across. I think it’s a great way he did this.

I do have to say that the film is labeled as a comedy thriller, yet I did not find any humor in it. Not to say there isn’t any… perhaps somebody will find humor here, perhaps a nervous laugh. It’s mostly a somewhat intense experimental drama especially since there’s really no music. The Carnivores feels like we’re right there trying to go through the emotions and struggles the characters feel. You just want to yell at them and hope they resolve their issues. At its core, The Carnivores is a complex love story.

THE CARNIVORES

Visually, the movie is stunning with still shots or even times when the camera moves along. It’s also symbolic in that it explains what we need to see, which I felt was a smart move by the director, especially in one scene filmed in a supermarket. It was my favorite scene, and at times, it felt euphoric and somewhat chaotic like a lucid dream.

With a title like The Carnivores, my thought process was that this would be a cannibal, zombie-like film of blood and gore. This isn’t that kind of film. There’s a few snippets of meat but it’s butchered animal meat, not human, and a scene of raw hamburger meat being consumed. It’s not a monster movie. It does deal with the idea of how we as humans can be when our needs and wants overpower us, which we see in the film with the ending being poetic and symbolic. I walked away feeling refreshed. It felt like our journey was worth it for the ending. The movie is out right now to watch on Amazon at the link above and on other streaming devices, and I would suggest checking it out.

About Jai Alexis

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