MARCH 29, 2008
Sometimes, you just wanna turn your brain off and be visually entertained for 80 minutes. And that is precisely what The Cook does. It’s not scary, and it’s not particularly funny, but for some reason it worked for me. It moves along nicely, it’s got a cast of incredibly cute girls (even the two nerdy ones are hot), the gore is plentiful, and the film’s sole primary male member (besides the killer) has a name for AND a conversation with his penis. What’s not to begrudgingly like?
The weirdest thing about the movie is how cheap it is in certain areas, but not in others. The actors aren’t the best, the audio seems to be recorded with the camera’s mike in a few scenes, even the (brief, contrary to what they try to make you believe) nudity is kind of half-assed (pun not intended, sadly). Plus they clearly didn’t bother hiring a proofreader:
And yet it’s also shot in the 2.35:1 ratio. I have no idea why, the frame is never filled, and it just looks awkward for such a small movie (the entire thing takes place in the house, except for the epilogue which was filmed in the Scrubs hospital, which ALSO looks strange in widescreen since Scrubs is pretty much the only non-reality show on TV that is still shot fullframe). Weird.
There’s also a scene that is bound to irk horror nerds. The two nicest girls and the penis talker are playing an extremely confusing trivia game, and one of the questions is about Friday the 13th part 4. At this point, they begin describing a scene from the film, and its intercut with the same thing happening downstairs to one of their friends. The problem is, the scene they are describing is not in Friday the 13th 4! You have offended my otherwise useless knowledge of horror movies, writer Nicholas Bonomo! Or Francisco Rodriguez.... or Dirk Van Fleet- why the FUCK did it take three people to write this movie?!?!?
Still, it’s endearing. The killer looks like a demented William H Macy/Greg Kinnear, and he’s chewing up the scenery with the best of them. And the cop at the end is so delightfully deadpan it made me a bit sad that he wasn’t in the movie for the entire time. You can tell everyone was having a blast, and taking any of it seriously even for a second would be your loss. And there’s even a rare Sling Blade reference! Besides, who can hate a movie in which the good Catholic girl stereotype is tied up and licked by another woman (however briefly)? Plus, the ending has a nice twist on who the Final Girl is, which is always welcome. So long as you’re drunk and/or can appreciate a completely cheapo slasher/comedy every now and then, you should have fun.
The commentary is OK, but nothing you’ll miss. They point out a few of the more ridiculous plot holes and laugh at the bad dialogue, but the guy playing the Cook seems to not be in on the joke, talking about lenses and shit. No one watching this cares, pal. Also, the director is not only absent, but its hinted that he didn’t get along with the producer/writers (like Poltergeist, it’s interesting to note how many of the same names pop up among the producers, writers, editors, etc, but the director isn’t listed anywhere else). There is also a making of (which is just random behind the scenes footage set to music), which is once again (for Anchor Bay) full frame but also anamorphic. So while widescreen owners have no problem, this makes the video seem windowboxed on a standard TV. How does one solve such a problem? I dunno, maybe frame the goddamn thing at the 1.78:1 ratio to begin with? The movie is 2.35:1, why go full frame to show a presumably interested audience how it was made?
What say you?