Directed by Oscar Rojo
Written by Oscar Rojo
Starring Mario de la Rosa, Paco Manzanedo, Marta Flich, and Fernando Albizu
Amazon Instant Video
Not Rated | 84 Minutes
Release Date: September 20, 2013 (Spain)
Currently streaming on Netflix is Omnivores, a Spanish horror film that debuted last year. The film opens in a dingy cabin where a woman lays dying next to her young son. The boy, with no recourse, is left to cannibalism and is discovered in a gruesome scene.
We jump years later to Marcos Vela (Mario de la Rosa), a celebrity food critic. His next assignment: explore the world of underground clandestine restaurants. These aren’t your typical restaurants. They are gatherings of rich foodies who pay through the roof for the finest and sometimes strangest cuisines. Kobe beef with truffles, the dreaded fugu fish of Japan, nothing seems too expensive or off limits to his new gastronomical friends. It’s through these connections that he begins to hear rumors of a “restaurant” that serves the ultimate in rare cuisine: human flesh.
Going on a tip, Marcos must deposit $10,000 into a secret account; then take a silent blindfolded ride to an undisclosed location where the feast is to occur. It’s not until he is brought into the kitchen, where living victims hang from meat hooks, does he fully grasp what he’s gotten himself into.
Omnivores director Oscar Rojo perfectly juxtaposes scenes of Marcos and his high-class restaurateurs against grisly stalkings by the house “matarife” (slaughterman in English) played by the silent and creepy Paco Manzanedo. He hunts, preps, and inevitably readies the main courses. Marcos is greeted by Dimas and the best “meats” are auctioned off. He is now in way over his head; he’s an unfortunate accomplice to murder/cannibalism and fears for his life should he reveal the truth.
The film, while not perfect, blends the pacing and grisliness of Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the look-away feeling of modern “torture porn” films like Hostel. Omnivores, however, never exceeds the gore threshold to the point of excess, and actually builds steady drama and nerves throughout leading to an unexpected and deliciously satisfying ending.
Foreign horror consistently impresses, as they live without the restrictions of the MPAA and don’t need to PG-13 the violence to make the extra buck. Omnivores is worth the 84 minutes and the price (free with Netflix streaming subscription; $3.99 to rent and $14.99 to buy from Amazon Instant).
Rating: 4/5 stars