New Review: Hulu”s Cannibal Horror Story Confuses the Dating Game

Modern dating is mundane and dehumanizing. The most common way to do this is through the app, where – much like you would order chicken tenderloins for delivery – you choose from a bunch of options provided by an algorithm. You know this algorithm is likely to let you down, so you just hope it doesn’t lead you to certain death. It’s a boring and horrible way to think about people, at odds with the basic desire at the heart of dating: to be seen as a complete person by someone who cares about you, and you in them. What is more likely is objectification: dating apps encourage users to reduce themselves to each other. To meat.

The Independent Horror Movie Costs takes this familiar metaphor to a particularly literal extreme. Director Mimi Cave and writer Lauryn Kahn’s directorial debut follows Noa (normal people‘s Daisy Edgar-Jones), a young woman plagued by dating boredom, dating annoying, ridiculous men who feel free to comment on her appearance, want to ramble exclusively about their own interests, and then insult her when she doesn’t. ‘isn’t ‘I’m not interested in a second date, let alone first date sex.

Steve (Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Winter Soldier Sebastian Stan) is different. Noa meets him in a grocery store – the first of many delightful ironies in the film. He’s charming, smart, and not interested in pressuring her to have sex. Even though she barely knows him, Noa decides to go on a weekend getaway with Steve after just a few happy dates. This turns out to be a mistake when Steve drugs and imprisons her, with the plan to keep her alive and slowly sell her body as meat to extremely wealthy clients who have developed a taste for cannibalism.

Photo: Photos of the projectors

Despite this horrible premise, there is a comedic tendency to Costs this keeps it from getting too grotesque or dark – starting with the film’s opening credits, which don’t kick in until 30 minutes into the film, when Steve makes his move. Stan pivots effortlessly from charm to menace in this role, operating in a mode not so unlike Penn Badgley that YOUis Joe Godlberg, albeit less likeable. Steve has been doing this to women for a long time. He is a fully formed, yet charming, amoral monster who dances while he works and enjoys joking with his victim. As Noa’s imprisonment continues, her captivity begins to take on the bizarre cadence of dating.

This dynamic is Costs at its gruesome best: in moments of ambiguity, when Noa, in a desperate attempt to survive, begins to believe that Steve is taking his time with her because he likes her, and she encourages him to think that she might like him too – even suggesting they should start having dinner together, even if that dinner involves human flesh. Cave juxtaposes these scenes with moments of mundane consumption. Other characters having normal, non-cannibalistic meals are filmed with unsettling closeness and deafening sound, emphasizing the heartbreak of consumption, the way a life is chewed up into nothing but selfish fuel. for another life. Towards the end of the film, Noa and Steve engage in a hypnotic and dreamlike dance which is played out more on camera than on the other, a scene which could be read as an interrogation on the spectator’s own form of consumption – in will we post a gif later? Stripping it of its context and using it to fuel our own ego?

Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones face off with palms together in Fresh

Photo: Hulu via Polygon

But there’s a trade-off in the clever cinematic tricks Cave employs in Costsit is more bewitching moments. She mixes the horror and peril of encounters gone wrong with the understanding that comes when all is well. When these two leads bleed together, they believe they are seeing each other for the first time. Cave takes a light touch with the gore in this film, but she uses it to sharp effect.

Unfortunately, Costs abandons this ambiguity in favor of an otherwise straightforward survival plot that suffers from its inability to examine its characters too closely. Despite the film’s shrewdest moments, Steve remains a straightforward villain and Noa a largely straightforward victim. Moments that make the film feel like an uncomfortable, riveting drama in a locked room give way to basic thriller beats where Noa tries to escape, as her best friend suspects something is wrong. . At the end of Coststhe film did nothing more than repeat what it said clearly at the start: dating is hell, and women deserve more than to be treated like pieces of meat.

Costs East now streaming on Hulu.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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