DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily DVD news and reviews.
Boy Eats Girl (2005)
DVD Released: 12/18/2007
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/17/2007
I'm certainly a fan of foreign films, but I rarely give much thought to international movie themes or ideas which cross cultures. However, I don't think that it would be too much of a stretch to say that zombie films have a very odd universal appeal. When most film fans think of zombie movies, they most likely pictures Romero's Dead films or an Italian entry, such as those from Lucio Fulici. But, one would be hard-pressed to find a civilized country which hasn't produced some sort of living dead. We now get an entry from Ireland with Boy Eats Girl.
Boy Eats Girl takes place in a small Irish town. Nathan (David Leon) is your average high-school kid who likes spending time with his best friends, Diggs (Tadhg Murphy) and Henry (Laurence Kinlan). Nathan has a crush on Jessica (Samantha Mumba), but he's afraid that if he tells her the truth it will ruin their friendship. So, Diggs and Henry decide to help their friend and arrange a rendezvous for Nathan and Jessica. When Jessica's overbearing father keeps her from getting to the romantic meeting, Nathan fears the worse. When he then sees Jessica in a car with another boy (who was only giving her a ride home), Nathan assumes the worse. He goes home, gets drunk, and accidentally kills himself. Nathan's mother, Grace (Deirdre O'Kane), has been working to restore a church and has found an ancient voodoo text. She uses the incantation from the book to bring Nathan back to life.
When Nathan awakens the next morning, he has no idea that he died and assumes that he simply passed out from drinking. He goes to school as normal, although he feels hungry and weird all day. That night at the school dance, he shuns Jessica (because he thinks that she's with another boy), and gets in a fight with his rival, Samson (Mark Huberman). The normally passive Nathan bites Samson's cheek, thus starting the spread of a zombie infection. While Nathan tries to deal with the fact that he's loss Jessica, the town is overrun by zombies. Can anyone stop the zombie plague, and more importantly, will Nathan learn the truth about Jessica?
Boy Eats Girl is an odd film, as it's more notable for what it isn't than for what it is. It isn't scary. I can't remember there being even a "jump" scare in the film. The zombies are never scary, nor are there any scenes that I would classify as suspenseful. It isn't all that gory. Given the little that I knew about the movie, I'd expected it to be another zombie bloodbath type film, but the blood only flows during the finale and essentially it's only for one scene, which is either a homage or a rip-off of Peter Jackson's Dead/Alive (AKA Braindead). It isn't very funny. The DVD box states, "A hilarious teen horror-comedy in the tradition of Shaun of the Dead". Well, there are zombies and the characters have British accents, but that's where any similarity with Shaun of the Dead ends. There were some funny lines in the movie, mostly from Henry and Diggs, but I would never goes as far as call this film a comedy.
So, what are we left with. The answer is, not much. For much of its 80 minute running time, Boy Eats Girl plays like a low-budget after-school special, as the emphasis is on Nathan's feelings for Jessica. The scene in which Nathan gets drunk and kills himself doesn't feel like something from a horror-comedy, but rather from a cautionary video which one would watch in a high-school health class. (And for the record, Nathan's death scene is quite depressing and certainly doesn't fit into any sort of "comedy".) The second-half of the film, when the zombies arrives, feels like an afterthought, or more accurately a different movie. The shift in tone doesn't help a movie which wasn't all that interesting to begin with.
At one point while watching Boy Eats Girl, I begin to wonder if the movie was more than meets the eye. It could certainly be read as having some subtext. Nathan's transformation into a zombie could represent the raging hormones which dwell inside teenaged boys, and the fact that it's Nathan's mother who makes him a zombie could be a statement on how parents influence their children. But, I think that I'm giving the movie more credit than it deserves, because while watching it, I also thought, "This reminds me of Teen Wolf...and not in a good way." Those of you hoping that Boy Eats Girl will be the next great zombie import will be very disappointed.
Boy Eats Girl chomps onto DVD courtesy of Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks OK, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the movie was shot on 16mm film, because it has an overall grainy and dark look. It's not that the image isn't sharp, but it's also quite dull looking. Along with the grain, I spotted a few defects from the source material. On a more positive note, the colors, most notably the reds and greens, look good. The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. (Although, if you're like me and have some difficulty with Irish accents, there are English subtitles.) This is a lackluster track, as most of the audio comes from the center and front channels. The zombie attack scenes do provide some surround sound, in the form of sound effects and musical cues, and there are a few scenes which bring forth some subwoofer action.
The lone extra on the Boy Eats Girl DVD is "Eating Out: The Making of Boy Eats Girl" (7 minutes), which is a very simple featurette which contains a great deal of clips accompanied by on-set comments from the cast and filmmakers. There are a few behind-the-scenes shots of the actors on set and the FX makeup being applied.
Review Copyright 2007 by Mike Long