As an unashamed fan of horror in general and found footage films in particular, it’s sometimes a bit hard to be objective about these things when confronted with the task of writing a review. I wrote and directed a found footage horror short, so yeah, I like these. They get a lot of hate, though, which is why whenever I find one that transcends the regular fare, I do my best to tell people about it. This is, then, me, telling you about “Be my cat”.
Written and directed by, and starring, Adrian Tofei, this Romanian indie gem has quite the premise: Adrian, an aspiring film director, will do whatever he can to attract the attention of film star Anne Hathaway, in order to get her to appear in his movie. A movie about being his cat.
The story is delivered in typical found-footage fashion, with Tofei filming most of it himself (occasionally handing the camera to one of the actresses he works with so that they can film him). The plot summary is fascinating, but the actual delivery falls a bit short. I think the main problem is that (just like “The Blair Witch Project”), a lot of the interaction is improvised. This works great for Tofei, who prepared for the roll in ways that would amaze even the most hardened of method actors (you can read his production insights here), but not so much for the women who play opposite Adrian’s character. There is some hesitation that breaks the illusion in certain interactions and makes the dialog feel sometimes forced.
The actual execution of the plot to move it forward is not without fault, either. Of particular relevance are the scenes involving chloroform: the time and manner in which victims react to this chemical is so outside of the scope of reality that it automatically brings the viewer out of the experience.
If it feels like I’m having a downer on the film, though, don’t be deceived: I loved it. I watched it with my fiancee (who usually reviews stuff with me, and who helped me write my horror short) and we both found it absolutely enjoyable, fun, and very, very creepy.
The best thing about the film is, without a doubt, Adrian Tofei’s performance. This is a man who moved a year in advance to his mother’s home in order to prepare for the role. And it shows. He’s creepy, crazy, funny and strangely endearing. You actually root for him, even when things are going horribly wrong for those who come in contact with him.
We watched the film through Vimeo’s legendarily insufferable streaming (at least on my internet speed tier) and had so much fun with it, we didn’t even mind the buffer time. Three hours for an hour-and-a-half long film. No regrets.
Anything that could be improved? Well, as I mentioned before some of the dialog was a bit stiff and actions a bit unbelievable. There’s also the technical faults with the film, which to some extent can be put down as a perk of the found footage genre (like jello effects due to post-production stabilization), but which can also be improved upon for the next outing (most notably the sound design, as some ambiance was notoriously looped… then again, I worked as a record producer so maybe I’m just nitpicking).
Speaking of next outings: “We put the world to sleep”, Adrian Tofei’s next project, is currently seeking funds on IndieGoGo. You can support it here. What’s it about? LGBT anti heroes who want to bring the world to an end. SOLD!
“Be my cat: a film for Anne Hathaway” isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s fun, entertaining, has a wonderful lead performance, a weird premise and a mostly consistent delivery. This film is a must for any fans of the genre. No wonder it made it to a bazillion film festivals!
Buy it here: https://bemycatafilmforanne.com/