Urgh. Sorry everyone, but it’s one of those times where I’ve ended up engulfed in murky waters. I’m halfway through watching this macabre Belgian feature and from the opening seconds you know the sort of film you’re dealing with; albeit to a level of extremity that I’m incredibly surprised about, considering the year in which Man Bites Dog was released.
Some context is necessary for this one and it finds a camera crew following a serial killer around throughout his many endeavors. It’s clear where Creep (2014) and Creep 2 (2017) derived their inspiration from, alongside The House That Jack Built (2018) too. I can see how Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) could have influenced the makings of this movie though, just through how the characters associate with one another on an interpersonal level.
The overzealousness and social dominance of someone capable of murder amongst those around him are made clear; although those filming the protagonist don’t seem at all disgusted by any of the many methodical, calculated murders contained within this film. I’m glad I’m Sedlo right now and was dreading attempting to write something substantive about this feature, that is; until I got a little bit further into it.
Extreme cinema has always been a thing and this movie is at many points a poke in the eye to those engaged in the creation of similar films and through a lifetime of being pretty on point as a horror movie geek, this one seemingly worked to pioneer the ‘found footage/pseudo-snuff’ genre and the likes of The Blair Witch Project and VHS franchise.
The black and white presentation of Man Bites Dog definitely works to its advantage, dismissing the necessity of graphic violence in a way that’s almost paradoxical. Every scene of such morbidity becomes more about the method than it does the mess and for that reason, I regard this film as ingenious, amongst the many other ironies involving the camera crew’s rare expressions of empathy throughout.
I’m going to take a deep breath and finish watching this. This one’s a trophy for the mantle of morbid curiosity and it makes The August Underground trilogy look even more juvenile and senseless than it already is. In all honesty, I was much less affected by horror films when I was younger. These days effectively executed ones really plague me with either disgust or direly penetrative nihilism. I’m tempted to take a nap; I’ll get back to you…
Upon finishing this film, I let out an elongated sigh of relief (reminiscent of my more stimulated days) that I’ll never have to watch it again, but this would-be snuff film essentially kills all others (to this date).
There is a message to it and there is very little comedy, as the categorization of the film itself specified… It lacks empathy for either the victims or collateral damage – and that is why I still champion Martyrs (2004) in the horror genre but Jesus Christ. I need to watch something less soul-destroying. I did indeed have a nap and woke up with my head in a vice, the second half of Man Bites Dog did little to alleviate that.
I’d only recommend this movie to the most desensitized audiences of horror movies. But I would recommend it to those select few. I have nothing more to add other than I feel like this movie had a clear objective in mind. Nothing truly surpasses it to date in such an exhibition of Ben’s (the protagonist’s) sociopathy and it seems to me not enough horror directors have seen it, or truly got the message…
Sweet dreams – and to most of you, don’t watch this movie.