After her doctors declare she is ready to return to society, Ethel leaves the
psychiatric hospital and goes to live with her grandmother. Something is off about Ethel from the get-go, specifically her insatiable desire to consume massive amounts of food. When her grandma tries to curb Ethel's eating habits by locking the food up, Ethel's homicidal tendencies come out in spades. Nick Millard's Criminally Insane is a raw, low-budget horror flick with a fun little social commentary, whether intentional or not. Ethel is a grotesque women whose addicted to stuffing her face and while maybe I'm giving the film a little too much credit, Criminally Insane is somewhat relevant to modern America's obesity epidemic. The cinematography certainly does a good job at capturing how grotesque of a human being Ethel is, using close-ups of enormous amounts of food she consumes, which portray her more like an animal than a human being. There is a nice array of cinematography to help create atmosphere from well-placed low-angles and canted angles, to a few rare handheld scenes which do create a nice, subtle atmosphere putting the viewer into this woman's headspace. The violence is very explicit and stylized in a way that seems to borrow a lot from Italian Giallos - the extremely vivid red used for blood, the zooms, quick cuts, etc. Criminally Insane is a film that certainly suffers from most of the common problems with these types of low budget features - poor acting, low quality stunt work, etc. but it's another example of a film that still keeps your attention because of its unflinching desire to tell this warped tale.
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