Carnal (aka Mala carne) DVD Review
Written by Peter West
DVD released by Timeless Video
Written and directed by Fabián Forte
2003, Region 1 (NTSC), 114 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on October 2nd, 2007
Movie (from TMG publicity material):
Two friends Eduardo (Federico Bezenzette) and Patricio (Guido Krilovetski) go out for a bite to eat and get more than they bargained for when they encounter a pair of enticing women, Marcel (Alexia Zamparo) and Maria (Mara Said) on the street. But these women are not what they seem. The friends soon learn the hard way that when love bites, it can have deadly consequences. Filmed entirely in sequence with handheld cameras, a revolutionary filming technique, Carnal is a journey into a claustrophobic underworld ... and you won't look at mysterious strangers in the same way again..
The film was written and directed by award-winning Argentinean filmmaker Fabian Forte. Forte filmed and edited the entire movie in sequence with handheld cameras, a revolutionary filming technique! Carnal will be released on DVD January 2007.
On the DVD cover there's a comparison of this film to George A Romero's Martin... I would compare it more to one of my favorite vampire flicks Vampyres. It has a similar style and feel, since Carnal is almost entirely shot on one location. The story is not that complicated, two guys pick up a couple of "ladies" of the evening hanging out late at night. They get more than just sex when the girls turn out to be bloodsuckers. There's a little twist at the end which I'm not going to reveal in case you watch the movie. What is lacking in plot, is made up in style. Carnal gives you the feel that you are following the characters versus watching them. This is probably a result of the handheld camera technique.
Carnal does have some drawbacks. The image clarity, especially on the outdoor scenes, is very dull. The story is slow, very very slow in fact. The beginning of the movie just drags on.. The dialogue in that part is very clumsy and forced, I'm surprised these guys picked up any girls at all with those horrible lines... The lack of character development makes you not really care about either the poor guys or even dislike the two bloodsuckers. The back of the DVD indicates the running time as 114 minutes, the IMDB page says 75 minutes. Unfortunately the DVD does not display the running time because of the way it was encoded. If it was really 75 minutes, it sure felt like 114 minutes...
While I didn't hate Carnal, it sure doesn't live up to the hype... There's some nudity, a fair amount of blood and gore towards the end, good things in any horror flick... I don't know if it was the "In Camera" filming method that did this, but I felt like I was watching a film school class project instead of a movie made for larger audiences.
Video and Audio:
Carnal is presented in a 1.85:1 (approx.) non anamorphic widescreen. The movie was filmed in DV and suffers from some of the earlier glitches of that medium. Colors are overly saturated and the image is somewhat dull, lacking sharpness. Forte really does an excellent job of using a handheld, however the technology in 2003 is not nearly as good as it is today.
There's a Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtrack on the DVD and the language tracks are in Spanish (where you can use English subtitles) and English. I listened to the dubbed English track. It was clear and free of distortion and the dubbing was pretty much in sync. The music is almost entirely eerie or gothic type sounds. Pretty good for a low budget film!
Two trailers and a behind the scenes featurette. A good try!