Bag Boy Lover Boy was awarded the “Most Effectively Offensive” film at the Boston Underground Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why. It is neither a broadly appealing film nor is it a film that I would feel comfortable recommending without this caveat: get ready … and maybe don’t eat first. That being said, I do wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s a sort of camp-horror Taxi Driver with dark sense of humor and more than a few jugs of karo syrup. If you’re into this sort of thing (and as a potential Cinedelphia Film Festival attendee, I’d presume you are), Bag Boy Lover Boy is sure to please … or at least make you squirm!
Albert is a meek, slow-witted hot dog vendor who, when not shilling street food of questionable cleanliness, is usually admiring porn, or fantasizing about frequent customer, Lexy. One day, a popular avant garde photographer sees a potential model in Albert and invites him to his studio with the promise of riches. Insistent upon learning the craft of photography as opposed to just modeling, Albert obtains a camera and begins to create his own work. The thing is, Albert’s methods of creating art are even more avant garde – and violent – than his mentor’s.
Bag Boy Lover Boy is a low budget affair for sure, but the crisp visuals and consistent lighting make the film look sharp and distinct. The seedy underbelly of Albert’s New York is effectively grimy, shot with a digital acuity that really allows the filth to sink in. There are surreal dream sequences where writer/director Andrés Torres gets to play around with the medium a bit. At some points, these sequences are soft-focus and sensual, at others they are oily black and white, conjuring the “banned film” feel of The Human Centipede 2. It is through these sequences that we see both sides of Albert: on the one hand, he’s hopelessly romantic, almost pitiable, on the other hand, he’s a monster. The score effectively captures this duality as well: ‘bumbling weirdo’ Albert is accompanied by a bouncy gypsy-folk tune, while ‘violent obsessive’ Albert is backed by a gothic-industrial score.
At its heart, Bag Boy Lover Boy is a horror picture, and like almost all horror films before it, there’s a morality play at hand; a commentary about the fluidity of ethical codes when faced with opportunity, money, or sex, and the film uses black humor to drive these points home. I imagine that individual viewers might have different takeaways depending on their own experiences, but I maintain that the blanket themes will hold true.
Bag Boy Lover Boy is dark, funny, and violent, all things that you want in a genre picture. If you like your horror weird and you like your weird gross, Bag Boy Lover Boy delivers.
Bag Boy Lover Boy has its Philadelphia premiere on Sunday April 19 as part of the Cinedelphia Film Festival. Event info and tickets here.