Ryan Kruger who dazzled the world with his impressive yet ultra-bizzaro debut film Fried Barry, is back, this time around with the 2021 short-film #Meowtoo. Switching gears a little Kruger’s #Meowtoo is not only experimental but also a short with a heaping helping in a timely context. The film takes place in a universe (alternative to ours) where humans coexist with hybrid/mutant creatures of the feline persuasion. Enter Alan who is a human film producer out on the prowl for his next prey. Looking to score some “catnip” to assault an unsuspecting Hybrid Sphinx named Meow. The two meet in a local watering hole where they drink the night away before heading back to Alan’s apartment. Once inside the apartment for some more drinking. Feeling uncomfortable within her surroundings Meow says no to the advances from Alan. Not one for hearing the word no Alan attempts to drug Meow and this is when the unforeseen takes place.
Kruger once again employs composer Haezer to expertly score #Meowtoo, just as he did with his film Fried Barry. Haezer’s Dance/Electronica score is so well intune with the source material, you would think he takes up restate in director Ryan Kruger’s head. Both artists complement each other well and with #Meowtoo the score replaces dialogue expertly. Kruger’s style on #Meowtoo is one that employs excitement and anxiety. The neonistique-high-octane style which he employs draws the audience in as if they are right there in the scenes. Kruger uses lights (namely neon ones) to elicit human emotions from the viewing audience.
#Meowtoo is stunning on the wardrobe/costume and effects realm too. The prosthetic mask/makeup are on par with high budget productions, I dare say they are even better than some big-name films. These are beyond believable creature designs that stun the viewers as it is hard to decipher where the makeup ends. #Meowtoo is a timely story with the sleazy side of the film industry being shown through different lenses. The #Metoo movement is the basis for the inspiration of the film, and #Meowtoo keeps the narrative going in a unique way. Kruger mixes the message of sexual assault in a visual style of his own (possibly borrowing a little from revenge films as I spit on your grave and The last house on the left). I did feel as though the ending had minor flaws, like did the potential victim mean to kill Alan, or did the catnip make her lose all control. ultimately, the film is more about showing the predator’s plan and not the empowerment of the prey.
#Meowtoo stuns visually, sonically and at its heart shows what happens when Sexual predator’s plans do not go in their favor. This narrative could be more cohesive with a longer film, where characters would have a chance to be explored more fully. The film ends with statistics which again drive home the message of sexual harassment is still a problem and if you have been a victim please seek help, you are not alone.