CHOP CHOP *** USA 2020 Dir: Rony Patel. 81 mins
There is a saying that committing murder is not a problem: getting rid of the evidence is the really hard part. CHOP CHOP, by director/co-writer Rony Patel and writer Andrew Erickson, shows us just how difficult it can be for a young couple who encounter a killer pizza delivery person who appears he can walk through walls, and proceeds to launch them into an odyssey of nightmarish characters.
From audio dialogue over a black screen of a police call to the Kill Bill inspired titles that reappear in odd spots in the film; an evening of a dinner and lust for Liv (Atala Arce) and Chuck (Jake Taylor) becomes a long fight for their survival. All is not as it seems as the two of them get deeper into the criminal underworld.
Liv and Chuck have to get rid of a package in their possession. And in their quest to do that, they meet a detective who suffers an unfortunate fate, crazy gang people, and the demented inhabitants of a farm house who simply love to put people in chairs and do things to them with hand tools.
The film is strongly crafted cinematically with a wonderful music score that evokes jazz elements. The characters are all well-defined (with a nod to 1986’s Blue Velvet). CHOP CHOP starts off like one of those random killer films and morphs into a quest with quirky dialogue, punctuated with some annoying pauses in the story as the screen goes to black.
The theatrical device for time and plot changes, or a moment to change to pace of the film was unclear. The film demands that you listen, yet it is marred by low audio. The actors, particularly Chuck and Liv, tend to speak quickly in low voices, almost as if those scenes were improvised. To the film’s credit, instead of being graphic in blood and guts, some of the violence is implied or done off camera. This may put off some viewers who literally want to see heads roll. The story of Liv and Chuck is the important element, and what they go through or are forced to do. Make yourself and your significant other a spaghetti dinner and settle in for the ride into a strange, nocturnal world.
Review by Terry Sherwood