Novella McClure is like most struggling actresses in Los Angeles. She’s in her early 30s, her fake name sounded cooler ten years ago and she hasn’t landed a role in three years. She’s living off the inheritance of her father, who tragically died when she was young, but that nest egg is running dry.
The pressure and stress mounts on Novella. Her nervous habit of biting her fingernails is turning into something more serious and bloody. Novella hides this condition from everyone around her, but its getting hard to do so with rotten bandages and missing appendages.
All too often horror film makers play by the same rules by using the same formula over and over again. Inevitably, this becomes very predictable and very tiresome. However, every now and then comes a little film that will break away from the norm and bring something new to the table – and nestled amongst the deluge of dross there lies a hidden gem of a film in the name of Eat.
Novella McClure, played by Meggie Maddock, suffers from a condition called ‘Self Cannibalism’. Although this turn of phrase is not used within the film, there is no other way it can be described because Novella likes to chow down on her own body. Eat maybe comparable to such films like Thanatomorphose, Found and The Human Centipede trilogy for the very reason that it will test whether or not you are made of sterner stuff.
The anticipation of her wanting to take her fist bite is something of a killer and it is something that has been done really well through the use of sound, camera work and some intense staring at the part of the body which takes her fancy. This is something, which should be admired because not everyone can look passed the toe jam and find their own big toe alluring.
What makes some of the scenes so gory and stomach churning was the fact that writer and director Jimmy Weber used the expertise of Monster Makeup FX to create practical effects rather than the dreaded CGI.
Wrapped around these blood fests is a heart felt story of a woman who has reached a certain age and is now no longer recognised as a credible actor within the industry. She has simply been put on the shelf. Novella’s relationship with those around her is an interesting one, for it is her interaction with others that causes a trigger for her hunger. Her BFF and constant badass companion Candice (Ali Francis) seems to highlight her vulnerability and naivety, which adds a soupcon of sadness to an otherwise, deranged Novella.
The acting throughout was decent enough, I thought that there were some minor blips between some cast members but for the most part it was good. However, there is one stand scene, which I thought really showcased Maddocks acting ability. This was when Novella was auditioning for what she thought was an acting role within a film. For that one moment everything became calm and serene. The door was shut on the world of crazy, she sat down on the casting couch perfectly framed and her audition piece was flawlessly delivered.
Eat is a must watch film. It is deliciously entertaining and one that must be savoured with a nice bottle Chianti.
Words by Amanda Hunt @man_ders11