Mockumentaries have taken on several different shapes and sizes throughout the years. Back in 1992, a super low budget indie film was released to festivals that was shocking and controversial for the time. When it was finally released worldwide, it was given an NC-17 rating and became a cult classic.
‘Man Bites Dog’ is the story of Ben, your average, ordinary citizen who happens to love killing people. A film team is given permission to follow him in a ‘day in the life’ fashion where he kills dozens of people, commits some violent sexual acts on unwilling women, and has a grand old time all throughout.
This is basically the less shocking version of what inspired films like ‘August Underground’ & ‘Behind the Mask’. It’s filmed in gritty black and white and almost tries to insert empathy to this monster we follow. It’s violence is shocking in the beginning, but as the film progresses and can be compared to contemporary versions of this style, the violence becomes almost underwhelming and numbing. It just goes and goes after you learn about Ben and the multiple attributions that shape his life.
It’s interesting to see how an early version of both Mockumentaries and ‘follow the killer’ type films developed from this influential cult classic, but I got rather bored halfway through. The film crew starts to join in on the mayhem themselves, but after that it really does seem to meander.
“Man Bites Dog” is currently streaming on HBO Max & Amazon Prime.
‘Til Next Time,
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