Macabre…ish Horror Review: Man Bites Dog
Man Bites Dog, 1992/ 1 hr 36 min
French title: C'est arrivé près de chez vous (It Happened Near Your Home)
A documentary crew, Remy (Rémy Belvaux), Andre (André Bonzel), Patrick (Jean-Marc Chenut) and Franco (Alain Oppezzi) follows a serial killer, Benoît (Benoît Poelvoorde), in his daily life, including his kills. We meet some of his friends and places he hangs out. His interactions with his neighbors and local kids.
He often has long conversations with documentarist about rules of disposing of bodies and why. The victims he chooses and why he chooses them.
He talks about how women are a mystery to him and he struggles with the whole concept of consent.
He kills indiscriminately though, if he kills Arabs and he buries them facing Mecca. He’ll kill a black man while knowing his plight. He rails against capitalists for working people to death while seeing no irony in the fact that he is a murderer. He reveres people and respects the concept of them that is wholly separate from the actual person. His respect for a person and their plight does not stop him from killing that person.
And he has no qualms with burglary. Ben will kill an elderly person because they have money and he wants it. He does like trying new methods to kill such as scaring a lady, with a bad heart, to death.
At some point during filming when the crew has run out of money, Ben is happy to invest the spoils of his kills into the project. And one day, one of the crew, Patrick the sound man, dies in a gun fight with gangsters, who is using Ben’s hideout as their hideout.
More and more the crew get involved with altering crime scenes, hiding bodies and committing more heinous crimes, gang raping a woman after catching her and her husband being intimate but to Ben, it’s just another day. He goes from slaughter to drinks with friends and parties like it’s nothing.
Remy struggles with two crew members deaths. Which he calls occupational hazards. But they decide to continue on with the film and at some point they encounter another documentary film crew and when a victim escapes and Ben is arrested, it brings destruction to his life when his family and friends are found by colleagues of the gangsters he killed.
Ben escapes and decides he needs to leave and what is left of the documentary crew are surprised to discover they too can be killed just like everyone else.
This is a black and white, French language, Belgian mockumentary and it is made in the style almost like an old home movie in the 80s. It’s raw and unedited scenes put together and makes sense considering the subject matter and how it ends. This movie is violent and graphic but because it’s black and white it doesn’t seem as graphic as it is. The pacing is actually pretty good but there are some random cuts that though aren’t of graphic kills, somehow make this movie more disturbing.
There’s quite a bit of nudity in this and most of it is full frontal.
Trigger warning: rape, brutality