To provide some context first: This short was filmed as camera tests with Neill Blomkamp, who was at some point considered to do the HALO Movie. All you see here are basically just camera tests he did during his trial runs.
Curios but the lack of comedy in them makes them effective
Bill and Karen present a series of infomercials on the newest cooking appliances which do it all for you – although usually at a high cost.
These short films are a stark contrast with the other material currently released from Neill Blomkamp's Oat Studios. The main two shorts are over 20 minutes long, and feature incredibly high production values; Cooking with Bill is a 1980's infomercial on VHS tape. The 'joke' is the same in each episode – which is to say that the cooking demonstration goes horribly wrong. Often I would phrase that "hilariously wrong" but these films are better for not playing it as a joke, but instead letting it be dark and disturbing. The presence of hair, organs, and other tragic outcomes all are strikingly lacking in laughs, and there is a real sense of horror and repulsion in the two presenters – even though they know they have to do their jobs and sell this stuff.
As simple moments of horror, the shorts work on this basis, however I do wish that there was more obviously to it than that. The harm done by technology, but yet the push of companies to sell what they know are imperfect or incomplete products – there are elements of these in there, but the moments of horror dominate and if there is a subtext, it is very 'sub'. This leaves the shorts as curios to add to the mystery around Oat Studios – but there is a reason that these films have a fraction of the viewers of films like Rakka, Firebase, and Zygote.
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