"Red Cockroaches" DVD
Join me for a movie,
part one of three, that actually might've been pretty good if it
hadn't been for one particularly unpleasant part that botched the
whole thing a dozen times over.
So what we have here
is part one of three in a series set in a New York with lots of
acid rain and the ethical values of a major corporation, DNA 21.
That's scary enough as it stands, but keep going and watch what
else we've got. A twentysomething hooks up with a mysterious young
woman and they begin a journey together that will not end well.
It's almost like a really
dark and malevolent version of the Japanese anime hit series, "FLCL."
Except here, the pervasive and only slightly ominous Medical Mechanica
has been coopted by a dystopian future and DNA 21. Surly, grumpy
twelve year old Naota has been replaced with Adam, a callow, spineless
twentysomething and cheerily vicious space police officer Haruka
has been replaced with Lily, a surly, grumpy, marginally mysterious
jaded Parisian urbanite with one big secret.
And while they never
say just what it is that DNA 21 does, or produces, or provides,
they do hint around every so often. Much in the same way that Medical
Mechanica's product line is never specifically revealed.
It really IS the live
action version of FLCL, except they sucked all the fun out of it
and replaced it with more surrealism than a David Lynch movie. By
comparison, "Red Cockroaches" makes "Naked Lunch"
look like "Dude, Where's My Car?".
Perhaps one of the first
things you'll notice about "Red Cockroaches", and this
is actually pretty well echoed throughout the film, is Coyula's
tendency to use the most bizarre freaking angle he can come across
in shooting. Check out the camera work at two minutes and thirty
nine seconds--BEHIND THE FORK. I've never seen a shot similar to
And there is a LOT of
potential in "Red Cockroaches"'s world. The way they hint
around with DNA 21, the way the world is just so slightly altered...anything
really could be done here. I find myself looking forward to the
rest of the series just to find out what they actually DID with
a plotline like this. I can think of at least a few different plotlines
for this, and there are probably hundreds more than I could ever
Plus, there are all kinds
of strange hallucinatory sequences, and a whole bunch of unexplainable
strangenesses. Mutated insects that mean instant fatalities for
humans, undrinkable tapwater, revived dead relatives, and unnerving
mentions of "destroying the colonies" make for a disturbing
look at a possible dystopian future.
And just what the deuce
is that thing that goes whizzing by with an audible "whoosh"
sound at the thirty four minute forty six second mark?? And did
I see him pay for fast food with a two hundred dollar bill and get
no change?? I am so intensely unnerved.
The trouble with "Red
Cockroaches," however, is how little of it actually makes sense
without the rest of it being complete. A lot of the movie is vague
hints and suggestions at the future.
Of course, I don't pretend
for a moment that this isn't necessary due to the nature of the
film--it's part one of three, folks, with the other two parts due
out who knows when--but it doesn't make the going any easier right
now. I can't even tell if it's a horror movie, a science fiction
movie, or some strange suspensish hybrid.
And join us for a truly
freakish round of "If You Can't Keep It In Your Pants, Keep
It In The Family!" at the forty six minute mark. And it's a
good example of what truly is going on here...he's banging his sister
up the ass on the kitchen floor, little red light bits zinging around
everywhere, it's just twenty pounds of creepy in a five pound sack.
Yeah, that's right, folks...Lily
is his SISTER. His everlovin' sister. I had to tell you--I realize
it's a small chunk of plot just out the window but you've really
got to be aware of this. Some of you out there join me in the assertion
that incest is probably one of the biggest deal-breakers on the
face of the earth and you deserve to be warned that there WILL be
some of that in "Red Cockroaches."
The ending is unsatisfying,
naturally, but that's to be expected with part one of three.
The special features
include a making of featurette, a director's biography, a trailer
for "Red Cockroaches," deleted scenes, a short film from
the director, story boards, and DVD credits.
All in all, if it weren't
for the incest this would have been a pretty fair movie, a solid
setup to what might be an interesting trilogy. So, if you ignore
that truly awful chunk of time, you actually may get along nicely
with "Red Cockroaches."
GRADE: 2 stars **
Directed by Miguel Coyula
Written by Miguel Coyula
Starring Adam Plotch, Talia Rubel, Diane Spodarek
Produced by Miguel Coyula