April 23, 2016

The Carnivores: Unlikable Rapist Saves Rape Victim

God, how I wish Yoo-joon (Kim Jeong-hoon), the main guy in The Carnivores, had not raped his married girlfriend in the beginning of this movie. And I wish that he had not, shortly thereafter, become a Peeping Tom, who watched — albeit silently horrified — as a 20something villager (Cha Ji-hun) was sexually assaulted by multiple men night after night. But wishing can't make it so. Especially when misanthropic writer-director Ha Won-joon's wishes are so contrary to my own. Ha wants to create an antihero that's despicable, deplorable, dumb. Ha wants to present a rape victim (not a rape survivor) — giving her a knife and night blindness so that she can't use the knife when the men come to attack. The best you can say about this script is that no one has the cards stacked in his favor: All the characters are equally stupid. This uniform idiocy means that the "hero" has to retrieve a professional-grade camera in order to visually document any crimes instead of using his cellphone; that a pair of townsmen tracking the escaping couple needlessly trade weapons before splitting up in the woods, only to reconnect again not much later after one of the two townies is dead. (He got his foot stuck in a bear trap then his head bashed by a stone.)

This is a universe in which traumatized children euthanize their ailing mothers as a way to achieve closure, old waitresses are still subject to sexual harassment while pouring drinks at work, and drunk war vets sit in a circle and laughingly recount their most unforgivable crimes... People are heinous, aren't they? But for that matter so are some actors. How else to label a person who would accept a role in a movie that's so outrightly misogynist? No one went into this production hoping to make art so who do you hold accountable for the inadvertent message, gross as it is? The Carnivores is a low-grade fright flick that doesn't scare or care. It sickens. As B-movies go, Hera Purple this is not.

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