Serving Up Richard
Alternatively languid and ultra-gory, Henry Olek's chamber shocker Serving Up Richard is part bloody horror flick and part psychological thriller. When disgraced Wall Street asshole Richard Ruebens (Ross McCall) flees to SoCal suburbia and answers an ad for a vintage Mustang, he's captured and held prisoner by a creepy old anthropologist neighbor and his deeply troubled wife in preparation for his eventual cannibalization. But though Olek delivers the gruesome goods his setup promises (eyeball stabbing, a man eating a heart), he's more interested in exploring the psycho-drama that develops between Ruebens and captor Glory Hutchins (Susan Priver) when her husband takes a trip out of town. The centerpiece of the film is an extended pas de deux between Glory and her captive in which Richard tries to persuade the unstable woman to free him. But Glory's inconsistent characterization defeats rather than builds tension, and the tepid soon gives way to the ridiculous as she begins initiating her captive in the art of the shamanism that her husband practices. That it almost comes as a relief when psychic battles of the wills give way to actual knife fights suggests that the film might have been more effective as the blood-soaked shocker it has done little more than pay lip service to throughout. Andrew Schenker
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