Directed by Xander Robin
With a title that gives everything away, “Are We Not Cats” could also be called “The Hair Glutton”. This downbeat indie drama film also advertises one of the weirdest romances of the year, when a trash collector turned truck driver finds the girl of his dreams, one who shares his uncommon habit of eating hairs, but in a much larger scale.
He’s called Eli (Michael Patrick Nicholson), a down-on-his-luck garbage man who got fired, was dumped by his girlfriend, and lives a miserable life. He still resides with his unsentimental parents, who are selling their house to move to Arizona. It’s absolutely certain they won’t miss their smelly son to whom they only left a crumbling old truck. That’s when Eli accepts to deliver an engine upstate to a guy named Jack (Joe Buldo).
He was five hours late and couldn’t refuse to give Kyle (Michael Godere) a ride, even going in the opposite direction. After all, he’s the one who’s buying the engine and was waiting for him all day. They have a few drinks of a toxic substance along the way, ending up in an underground party with offbeat music and lush girls. The psychedelic images hook us to an atmosphere of confusion, decadence, and waste. Once in there, he observes Kyle’s enigmatic girlfriend, Anya (Chelsea Lopez), a troublesome young girl with blue lips, yellow fingernails, and a purple wig, who is violently headbutted by another shadowy princess. Although Kyle is very attentive to her needs, she and Eli felt an immediate connection. Patiently, he starts to extract her most intimate secrets, but also reveals his own quirky body transformations. Both are weirdly sick and surrounded by deep sadness. Yet, they seem a bit more optimistic in the company of each other.
After several cat dances and a satiating hair banquet, the couple makes out, but Anya collapses in the middle of the act. A hair rock is installed in her intestines, clogging her entire system, and it’s up to Eli to save her or leave her. While the images are gruesome, the realness of the scene will make the horror aficionados rub their hands with glee.
Solidly directed by Xander Robin, a dubutant who based himself in his own short film of the same name, “Are We Not Cats” is sly and sunless, but not for once spooky. As a piece of storytelling, it’s a miscarriage with several unexplainable gaps, but in a visceral level, it has its impactful moments. Hence, you may find yourselves wishing a proliferation of blood-soaked scenes, while the director concentrates more on taking the story somewhere with a slightly disturbing tone.
Oscillating with ups and downs, this moody, felinely romantic film has not much to show off besides its bizarreness, which was, nevertheless, glamorously combined with an eligible eclectic soundtrack that includes Albert Tyler, Funkadelic, and Spirit of the Beehive.