* Excess Flesh
* spoilers *
Unemployed and depressed Jill is consumed with jealousy towards her cruel roommate Jennifer who is perfectly thin and works as a successful model. Jill eventually simply snaps and chains Jennifer to a wall to punish her. When I heard about this film, the short X is for XXL from the ABC's of Death came to mind. It was an amazing and powerful depiction of an eating disorder through a horror lens. I expected this film to be in the same genre and it was in a different way than I expected. Some moments were incredibly uncomfortable to watch. Any time either girl ate food, some sort of strong emotion accompanied it: lust, rage, jealousy, or self-loathing. A lengthy bit of the film featured Jill eating cups of macaroni and cheese, mostly chewing and spitting it out, sometimes swallowing and hitting herself hard in the face. When the film becomes completely dreamlike, it loses me and becomes to cartoonish. Because of a review I read, I expected absolutely stomach turning scenes involving food and I was let down. The ending was unexpected as the two women are revealed to be one. It's an uncomfortable depiction of the feelings involved in an eating disorder but externalized. I'm glad I watched it, but I wouldn't watch it again.
My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins
The film tells the story of Emelie, a woman who is trying to find a replacement for her dead baby by posing as a babysitter and putting the kids through her bizarre trials. This is another uncomfortable film to watch. Emelie's trials include exposing herself to the oldest one, drawing on the wall, seeing if the children will kill a pet hamster, showing the kids their parents' sex tape, and playing with guns. Despite her psychosis, Emelie proves to be not wholly evil. Her backstory with the accidental death of her baby is quite sad and I understood her grief driving her to find a replacement she could no longer produce herself. Sarah Bolger shines as Emelie and toes the line between friendly and scary very well for most of the film. Another thing the film does well is show how sociopathic children can be. The child she chooses as hers gleefully feeds the beloved hamster to a snake and nonchalantly pulls the trigger of a gun pressed to her head. These scenes rang true and were disturbing as a result. While some of the scenes were uncomfortable and chilling, the ending of the film was disappointing in how ineffectual Emelie proved to be. Emelie is an interesting film with some twists and turns that is sure to disturb and unnerve.
My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins