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CHOP CHOP (2020)
Directed by Rony Patel
Written by Rony Patel, Andrew Ericksen
Starring Atala Arce, Jake Taylor, David Harper, Mikael Mattsson, Jeremy Jordan, James McCabe, Mike Thompson, Nicholas Correnti, Natasha Missick, Theresa Byron, Emily Katter, Mandy Martino, Paul Syre
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Everything is derivative. I have to keep reminding myself of that sometimes. But CHOP CHOP is VERY derivative of some familiar films, specifically certain scenes of familiar films. But despite all of that, I had a hell of a good time with CHOP CHOP.
Atala Arce plays Liv a woman deeply in love with Chuck (Jake Taylor). While CHOP CHOP opens with what seems to be a pretty banal night at home with Chuck cooking dinner for Liv, it soon turns into the beginning of a series of horrifying and thrilling events that will change their lives forever.
The one word I would use to describe CHOP CHOP is unpredictable and if you’ve seen as many movies as I have, it is a quality that I appreciate more than most. CHOP CHOP follows these two lovers down a dark and twisted path that gets darker and twisted-er as it goes. I loved seeing what dark turn the fate of this couple took and the bizarre characters they met along the way. And while I don’t want to get into specifics, I will say that one scene seems to be on a mission to out weird the next.
CHOP CHOP reminds me most of PULP FICTION, most notably the middle section of the film where things take a sideways, perverted turn. In the nineties, there were a lot of films that did this. They would tell a trypical crime story and then add a chapter which highlighted the odd and nightmarish side of life you’ve typically never seen before and never really wanted to. PULP FICTION did it. BOOGIE NIGHTS did it. RULES OF ATTRACTION did it. And so did a ton of other films. But what CHOP CHOP does is make a movie that centers solely on that middle, surreal, loony tunes section and made a whole movie with that feel where one scenario leads to another one that is one rung lower into Dante’s Inferno. Just when you think things can’t get weirder, they do. CHOP CHOP plays fast and loose with the rules of reality. Some people have super powers. People you think are dead are not. It’s this type of storytelling that keeps you on your toes and I loved pretty much every demented step of the way.
CHOP CHOP has some outstanding performances. First and foremost, Arce and Taylor are great together as a couple who have their issues, but still love each other strongly. It’s crucial to have an emotional anchor in this one-way rollercoaster into the abyss and they do a great job of always keeping the viewer grounded with their relationship. Other notable standouts is David Harper who contorts his face and posture to make for one of the creepier creepers you’re ever going to see and Mikael Mattsson plays a skeevy character that would be right at home with the McPoyle Clan from IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILIDELPHIA.
While the film sort of ends on a whimper rather than a scream, CHOP CHOP is a descent into hell that you won’t forget. There’s no way you’ll be able to call the next turn that shows up in CHOP CHOP and while it might be reminiscent of other films, it still stands on its own with great performances, marvelous twists, and unsettling turns.