Cookers (DVD)

Sometimes you can have a great premise, all the right tools, and the best of intentions. Yet, even with all of these things working for you, your film can still miss the mark. Such is the case with Cookers.

Don’t get me wrong. Cookers is a well crafted film. The set dressing, sound design, and lighting are as top notch as the acting. All in all, it’s probably one of the best indie films I’ve seen in a long time. The trouble is it is billed as a horror movie, and to be honest, there’s just not a lot of horror in it . . . at least, not the kind you expect in a horror film.

The story focuses on two speed freaks, Hector and Dorena, who open up a meth lab in an abandoned house with some help from Hector’s buddy Merle. Things go from bad to worse in a hurry for our trio as the product they’re cooking starts making them hallucinate. Tony Montana once said, “Don’t get high on your own supply.” Had any of them just watched Scarface once, they may have been a bit more cautious. It’s not long before absolute panic and paranoia set it, and our seriously tweeking protagonists take separate journeys into their own private hells.

There are a few problems here, the main one being that we know from the get-go that the sinister visions they start seeing are going to be the product of, well, their product. Any chance of true scares is immediately shot down as the viewer can clearly see it’s all in their heads. It’s like shining a light on a childhood boogeyman. Once what is scaring you has been illuminated, you realize that there’s nothing at all to be afraid of. In this case their drug is their boogeyman.

Another problem is that every main character in the film is completely unlikable. Having at least one sympathetic character could do wonders for a story. These people are lowlifes. There is no redemption for them. Whatever they get, it’s clear that they deserve it. It’s nearly impossible to garner any sympathy for these devils.

Had the storyline been that of a true horror tale and something evil did reside in the house, it would have been a lot more interesting. Imagine the possibilities! Addicts tweeking while supernatural mayhem ensues. That’s the premise offered on the box; yet, sadly, any shades of it are nowhere to be found within the film itself. What we have here is a drama in the same vein as the far superior Requiem for a Dream.

Treating it as a drama, I can shower this film with tons of praise. Great direction, creepy atmosphere, powerful performances, it’s all here. But as a horror film (and as a horror fan, I can honestly say), it doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Cookers (2001)
Ardustry Home Entertainment
Directed by Dan Mintz
Starring Brad Hunt, Cyia Batten, Patrick McGaw

Special Features
Bonus trailers

2 ½ out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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