From 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment & MGM
88 minutes, 5.1 Dolby surround sound, from Kibble Productions
A quick and dirty review *** SPOILERS ***
I could have pre-ordered the DVD, but my local post office is slow. I wanted, no, needed ;) it, the day it came out, so ran off to Best Buy after work and found it, not in the “newly released” area but squeezed into the comedy section. Didn’t matter. I grabbed it!
The packaging itself is simple. You pop open the case and there’s nothing inside but the disk. A no-frills DVD, which is fine by me, as the stuff inside ‘em usually falls out and I lose it. The image on the DVD is, of course, a dog’s breakfast – yes, a bowl filled with kibble!
The menu features more bowls of food (which look like multi-colored Cheerios), offering Play Feature, Language Selection (English, French, Spanish, Scene Selection (up to 28 selections, including “Home Psycho” and “Interrogation” and Special Features (Audio commentary, Cooking Up ‘A Dog’s Breakfast’, the Cast, The Shoot, The Film and the Fans, Deleted Scenes).
The film is definitely geared toward Stargate fans, and is heartily stocked with cast members from both Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1. Even production people from SG1 worked on this quirky little movie. David Hewlett was smart in gearing his movie toward a specific audience, as at the very least, it guarantees enough sales to make back the investment.
The very first minute sets the tone of a confirmed geeky bachelor, sleeping with his dog, and a lava lamp and clown mask lamp in the background of a drab and somewhat sparse bedroom. While the dog (Mars, in his debut starring role) gets dog kibble for breakfast, Patrick (David Hewlett) sorts out his ‘Frooties’ cereal, by color, into six different bowls. Patrick is obsessive, and we rapidly come to realize, a deeply disturbed individual.
The most horrifying scene is gotten out of the way rather early. Patrick brushes the dog’s teeth, then his own with the same brush (and no, a switch wasn’t made, David Hewlett actually did that, much to his fiance’s (producer Jane Loughman) horror).
Patrick’s sister, Marilyn (played the David Hewlett’s real life sibling, Kate Hewlett) has come to visit him, only the surprise she has brought along isn’t a box of chocolates but is her fiancé, Ryan (fellow Stargate Atlantis actor Paul McGillion, sans the Scottish accent), whom Patrick immediately knocks unconscious, believing him to be a creepy stalker. Ryan is the star of the rather bad science fiction soap called Starcrossed, which is where the couple first met as she’s a makeup artist. They’re excessively happy in their upcoming nuptials but Patrick is alarmed at this new development. As Patrick goes outside to have a fit (seriously!), his sister confesses to Ryan that her brother is a ‘psycho,’ unaware of what lays ahead.
Patrick’s streamlined house is that way because he’s been busy selling the family furniture on online auctions, but there’s still enough left that Ryan and Marilyn are unswayed and are staying the weekend. They soon all view the second season of Starcrossed that Ryan brought along. SGA fans will delight in the tackily romantic scenes of Ryan and the alien princess (played by SGA actress Rachel Luttrell), which are shown throughout the movie.
When the happy couple break out a karakee machine, Patrick flees and spends hours outside walking the dog. He later keeps the couple awake that night by yelling through the walls.
Patrick’s nightmare continues unabated. In the morning, he finds Ryan in the kitchen in one of his sister’s robes (“better than naked,” quips a cheery Ryan). When Ryan bends over to get a large stack of pancakes out of the oven, Patrick moans “I will never eat again,” after viewing aspects of his sister’s fiancé he would prefer never to have seen.
Later that day, Patrick overhears Ryan on his cellphone, talking to another woman about getting rid of his sister. Patrick confides this disturbing discovery - to the dog - and then later beats the crap out of a dummy hanging from a tree. When Ryan comes along, the disturbed Patrick invites the actor to do a little sparring (the outfits they wear are hysterical), with non-lethal results.
Patrick goes full gear into murder plans, with little success due to lack of talent and ill-conceived ideas. Ryan seems eternally cheerful considering Patrick’s animosity and strange quirks, which are actually homicidal overtures. Providence strikes when Ryan, who is setting up Christmas lights on the outside of the house, falls victim to a classic DIY accident.
Patrick is both elated and horrified at this turn of events, yet disposing of the body, and explaining Ryan’s absence to his annoyed sister, is proving a monumental challenge.
Guilt doesn’t gnaw on Patrick. It consumes him like a ravenous beast. He begins to see and hear the dead man, and of course he can’t confide this to his sister. The guilt escalates when he discovers the true nature of the phone call he overheard.
Determined to somehow amend for his actions, he invites over Chris (Christopher Judge), his “quietly sensitive male friend” whom he met on the internet (and had no idea of Patrick’s true identity). The man gets sucked into dinner while Patrick vainly tries to pair the two up to make up for Ryan’s loss, but instead, they dissect Patrick’s foibles right in front of him.
More mysterious and, perhaps supernatural events, occur when the Ryan’s corpse, still bound in an Oriental rug, begins to appear, despite Patrick’s multiple attempts at disposal.
Soon the police become involved, and the rather odd detective feels that Marilyn, not Patrick, may be the key suspect in Ryan’s disappearance, or even murder, as she stands to profit from death benefits.
After that, the story takes a twist that an adept viewer has probably seen coming from a mile away, but how it is divulged is not without its own twisted sense of humor. I won’t give it away in case somebody trips over this before seeing the film.
While this was a film shot on a decidedly small budget ($120,000 or so) and evidently in someone’s backyard, the scenery is new and fresh and I loved the pond/marsh. It’s the little things scattered around the house that give added character to the movie, done along the same maniac vein as the classic “Arsenic and Old Lace” (although in this case, it’s the ‘villain’ of the piece, not the hero, who is running around like a maniac). Ryan and Marilyn share a bed in her old room, obviously not redecorated since the musical group Loverboy was popular. Even though Patrick appears to detest Christmas, there’s a penguin with antlers on it on the mantel (MGM should market those). The house is sparsely decorated and obsessively neat (Monk would love it)
For a first effort, I was very pleasantly surprised at how much fun the film turned out to be. David Hewlett’s frenzied behavior was evident in the SGA episode “Runner” and stands out in an over-the-top scene during one holiday-related murder attempt. There are several laugh-out loud scenes from the well-scripted black comedy, and I would highly recommend this film to any SGA fan. I don’t know how well it might play with a general audience, but fans of movies such as “Arsenic & Old Lace” would probably enjoy it.
Watch the Special Features after the movie, so as not to trip over key spoilers!
Little things: David Hewlett wears the same watch the actors wear on Stargate Atlantis. Paul McGillion has a tattoo of some sort on his right shoulder (and, by the way, has very nice legs J )
David Hewlett as PATRICK, the disturbed brother
Kate Hewlett as MARILYN, his seemingly normal sister
Paul McGillion as RYAN, Marilyn’s fiancé and star of Starcrossed
Christopher Judge as CHRIS, an internet pal of Patrick’s
Rachel Luttrell as RATCHA, a character seen in Starcrossed
Amanda Byram as ELISE, Ryan’s sister
Michael Lenic as ZERO, a character seen in Starcrossed
Mars as himself