THE MEAT PUPPET ** USA 2012 Dir: Joe Valenti. 98 mins
Charming ladies man Andrew Shelton (Keith Collins) had a traumatic upbringing of violence and abuse. After the demise of his parents he grew up with his aunt who insists he calls her Mother despite having a sexual relationship with him. His good looks and self confidence allow him to prey on young women which he lures into his house where he tortures, kills and cooks them up for himself and his aunt Claire (Geri Reischi). A waitress at Sheltons favourite restaurant has captured his heart though and with her he feels he could live a normal life. Terri (Daniela Rivera) however is creeped out by Shelton and becomes suspicious of his involvement with the string of missing women. Police detectives are also getting close to cracking the case and it’s only a matter of time before Shelton is found out.
The similarities to Psycho‘s Norman Bates are glaringly obvious with Collins portrayal of Andrew Shelton here but it isn’t a bad thing. He is by far the strongest character in this movie and you find yourself conflicted where he is concerned. He is a badly damaged individual with serious issues. That is where the similarities end though as this movie does have a whole host of flaws. It does try to inject some humour, one scene sees Shelton carving up an overweight victim whilst exclaiming he “should’ve eaten a fucking salad once in a while” … however other attempts at making you laugh fall flat. The acting from the majority of the cast is pretty uninspiring and often difficult to watch especially the two police detectives, one of which just spouts tirades of misogynistic crap. The soundtrack is poor and the FX are few and far between. It has copped a lot of flack from some unfavourable reviews labelling it as amateur torture porn which is unjustified as there is no where near enough killing or graphic visuals, which they really seem to shy away from (possibly due to budget restraints) for it come anywhere near to torture porn in my opinion. The cannibalistic element is also only slightly touched upon. It’s a great idea but unfortunately not that well executed however a strong performance from Keith Collins.
Review by Sarah Budd