DVD Review: A Second Look at ‘The Cook’

It’s a long holiday weekend at the Lambda Epsilon Zeta sorority house, and a handful of girls stay behind to indulge in three days of partying, sex games and strangely delicious meals prepared by the weird new chef. But as the sisters begin to disappear one-by-one, the remaining coeds The Slut, The Stoner, The Bible Beater, The Dumb Hot Blonde, The Predatory Lesbian, The Tease, The Dominatrix and The Good Girl will find themselves trapped in a nightmare of graphic slaughter, involuntary cannibalism and heaping helpings of gourmet nudity. Mark Hengst, Makinna Ridgway and Kit Paquin star in this bloodspattered black comedy that cuts like a knife, tastes like chicken and serves up a scrumptious feast of carnage courtesy of The Cook. Read on for Tex’s review.
The Cook
Reviewed: Tex Massacre
4/10 or 2 Skulls

Horror Comedies are becoming pretty sub-standard genre fare these days. A few minor success stories dot the graveyard landscape as monuments to properly timed comedic performances and spot-on scripting. The rest of them look like the sad remains of totaled cars left behind by the victims of any given in-bread cannibal family. THE COOK is like one of those cars, only newer and less moldy.

When the girls of Lambda Epsilon Zeta (LEZ–get it?) leave for a weekend getaway to Cabo the handful of sisters that remain are treated to the arrival of a new cannibal serial killer cook. With little else to do the girls spend the weekend getting stoned, getting drunk, studying for exams and feasting on some succulent flesh–in more ways than one.

THE COOK has two things going against it. To begin with the film is populated by the reaming LEZ sisters, now a group of sorority girls are hardly new prey for lunatics and usually we’re not argumentative about minor plot points. But, THE COOK takes the cross-populace dynamic to extremes here. Generally horror films that put random people together to fight for their lives do so in some in a larger universe than a sorority house–that microcosm actually hurts the story here. These girls have virtually nothing in common. We’ve got the Uber-Slut, The Dumb Blond, The Studious Book-ish Girl, The Stoner, The Christian Girl, The Dominatrix and the list goes on and on. I always thought the idea of a sorority was so you could be with people like yourself? These chicks are like a Syd Field cross-section of Screenwriting 101. The closest thing we get to a common thread is that most of the sisters of Lambda Epsilon Zeta like to get liquored up and make out with one another.

The other thing–which is way harder to ignore–is the dialogue. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I know it’s dialogue is bad–it’s juvenile and it’s peppered with the worst kind of stoner retorts–but the delivery of the dialogue is also so poor that I can’t tell if the acting is making the bad dialogue worse or if the dialogue is so bad the it’s making the acting worse. I’m going to lean toward the latter because even in the trashiest micro-budget flick usually at least one cast member can manage a line delivery–its like the law of averages. The lone bright spot in the script is also a cheap in-joke as it involves the re-enactment of the FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER kitchen death sequence while being voiced over by 3 characters playing a movie trivia game in one of the second floor bedrooms. Inspired? Probably not, but in this clunker it’s the best we’re gonna get–except for the eye candy.

Truth-be-told, I wanted to hate THE COOK. 20-minutes in I wanted to stab my eardrums out with a pair of Faber Number 2 Pencils just so I wouldn’t have to hear the inane verbiage spilling forth from these moronic moppets. I tried to laugh, but mostly I cringed. So, how come we’ve got two stars up there? We’ll, if you give in to the utter stupidity of the film for about 5-minutes and you start to take it on faith that a group of filmmakers would never make a movie this lousy–unless it was on purpose–then THE COOK is not an utter waste of 82 minutes of your life. You might find a shallow kind of joy in watching the Bible Girl get tied up and beaten by the lesbian dominatrix while asking “if something that feels so good could be so bad?” Maybe that’s the sentiment that the writer and director of this flick were going for. Who knows? If you’re looking for a little nudity and a lot of bad screenwriting then sit down at the table and see what the cast and crew of THE COOK are serving.