Sunday, January 20, 2013
Saturday, January 12, 2013
The Last Horror Movie, I had this to say about Man Bites Dog: "On paper, a synopsis of this 2003 British meta-horror makes it sound like a total knockoff of the 1992 Belgian cult film Man Bites Dog. Though the premises are almost identical, the films really are very different in their tone, look, execution, and style. The latter film is a black-and-white, guerrilla-punk, pseudo-verite ball of energy, with a manic, bullying subject, and is a lot more violent, if my memory of a film seen about 15 years ago is correct." Turns out, my memory wasn't entirely correct. After a fresh viewing last night, I agree that Man Bites Dog is black-and-white, pseudo-vérité, and energetic. I partially agree that the subject is manic and bullying, although there are many other facets to his character that clash with these traits. I don't agree with my characterization of the film's style as guerrilla-punk. It's much more thoughtfully composed and edited than I had remembered. And though there are more instances of violence here than in The Last Horror Movie, this film lingers far less on those instances of violence and poses more intriguing, thoughtful questions about them. The Last Horror Movie was primarily about audiences' relationships with violent films and an elegy to VHS culture and '70s, '80s, and '90s slasher films. Man Bites Dog is a prescient dark satire about reality TV, celebrity, and actual violence. I like both films, but Man Bites Dog is the stronger, sharper work.