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CFF Review: Caleb Michael Johnson’s ‘The Carnivores’

CFF Review: Caleb Michael Johnson’s ‘The Carnivores’

A guide on how not to act when your dog goes missing? Caleb Michael Johnson’s “The Carnivores” is a film that’ll have you questioning nearly every single character motivation in sight, cringing in disbelief at some of the things the things they willingly do without question, and ultimately wondering what it was all for by the time the credits roll. 

If there’s anything this movie has to say other than “overtly irrational behavior is bad and will lead to problems” it doesn’t do a very good job of conveying it. Essentially, Alice and Bret’s dog is terminally ill and needs a special procedure to survive. The stress of this situation bleeds into the personal issues the two already had, causing them to both go off the emotional deep end when the dog goes missing post-procedure. There’s a weird subplot involving a strange compulsion to eat ground beef and another featuring a seemingly homeless man driving around in a car that has dog ears on the mirror, with a tail hanging from the back.

It’s shot very well with excellent composition and lighting, with performances that are actually great considering there’s virtually no logic applied to the characters’ thought processes and the two leads (played by Lindsay Burdge and Tallie Medel) carry pretty much the entire movie. All of this polish doesn’t really do much to make the experience worthwhile, and despite a short runtime of seventy-seven minutes it feels extremely drawn out.

There’s some laughs to be had, especially when a specific supporting character shows up from time to time, and even some good music at times; unfortunately the incoherence of everything taking place narratively is just too overwhelming for it to make any sort of meaningful statement or allow watching this to be an enjoyable experience. Caleb Michael Johnson’s ‘The Carnivores’ is available now on Showtime.