Are We Not Cats (2018)

I’ve been sitting on this one for a little while. I watched it during October when I was only doing horror movies, thinking that the “horror” label I saw on several sites was accurate. I don’t know if it really counts as a “horror” so much as a “thriller,” but I was certainly horrified watching it. Mostly it’s a bunch of “body horror.” So here it is, ready for November. And it’s… oof.

We follow Eli, who is an absolute doormat of a person. He’s got no girlfriend, no job, no place to stay, and no direction in life. Doing some transportation gigs he meets Anya, a manic pixie dream girl. She has a boyfriend but he doesn’t matter. Eli and Anya grow close and they bond over Eli’s obsessive picking at his skin/hair and Anya’s trichophagia. Don’t know that word? Well sorry to ruin your day, but it means she eats hair and is nearly bald because of it. Then she eats most of Eli’s hair while he’s asleep and he doesn’t notice it for an uncomfortable amount of time. They have sex and immediately after climaxing, she falls into a coma. Turns out humans can’t digest hair, so it’s all been collecting in her stomach and/or intestines! With the two in a remote house and an ambulance hours away, Eli decides to perform a sloppy operation. This somehow doesn’t kill her! After they both get out of the hospital (he got hit by a car, no big deal), the two apparently continue their relationship.

Are We Not Cats–a title that never fully gets explained–is a horror movie in the same way that Requiem for a Dream is horror: not really, but also pretty close? But the trailers were super vague–which is good, don’t get me wrong–so I kept waiting for… I don’t know, the lovebirds’ various sicknesses and skin conditions to turn into the shunting from Society (again, ignorance is bliss in this case). Or for the hairball Eli cuts out of Anya to start moving. Something otherworldly and unrealistic to take me away from these incredibly broken people.

Also, when Eli decides to perform surgery, I was absolutely convinced he had killed her while under the delusion he was helping, like in the weird movie Excision (I’ll get to you some day, if only because the tampon scene still haunts my brain). But no, somehow this tweaked out motherfucker stitched her back up after cutting into her stomach, and she survived. How?! This is not a movie that needed a happy ending! Then again, it’s two incredibly dysfunctional people barely getting any help for their life-ruining disorders and potentially falling deeper into their codependency… Fuck, maybe this is a horror movie.


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