After much anticipation I finally got the chance to check out Adrian Tofei's latest film...er...um..."love letter" to Anne Hathaway, Tofei's catwoman goddess. If you been following our reviews on the site you have an idea about how we feel about the "found footage" sub-genre. We don't hate it, but can admit to it's stale offerings as of late, although there have been exceptions. 'Affliction', 'Digging Up the Marrow', and 'Creep' are recent examples of found-footage films that have done a great job at bringing some new ideas and themes to the table, proving that there is still plenty of space left for this type of cinema; and thankfully, 'Be My Cat: A Film for Anne' falls right into this same company.
The film follows an obsessive director (Adrian Tofei) who will do anything to prove to Anne Hathaway that they are a cinematic (and personal) match made in heaven. Between his directing skills and her beauty, he'd truly be able to transform Mrs. Hathaway into the "Catwoman God" she deserves to be.
From the moment things kick off you know you are in for a uncomfortable ride. Saying Adrian Tofei's character is powerfully convincing is an understatement; he is the driving force and spirit of the film. Although very aware I was watching a movie, there were numerous times where I was taken away and actually caught myself contemplating if it was real. Even knowing it was all just movie magic, I couldn't help but still feel some concern for Anne Hathaway's well being; I even checked up on the sacrificial lead actresses playing in Tofei's mock film, by googling them. The on screen chemistry between him and his leading ladies couldn't be better; everyone does a great job all around which made for a solid, believable film experience. And while there weren't any glaring negatives worthy of deep criticism, I still personally would have liked it if the film's climax allowed itself to spiral even further out of control than it already did, but that's more just a personal preference than it is a knock against the quality of the film's story, and a good indication as to just how involved the entire thing made me feel.
If you are open to the found footage sub-genre or you just want to watch something completely creepy and off the wall, Be My Cat can't be recommended enough. It should be hitting VOD services in December (maybe even by the time you read this review) with a DVD to follow. So head on out (virtually or otherwise), buy it, rent it, watch it, support it any way you can; keep experimental films likes these alive in the community. In the meantime, we'll be looking forward to Tofei's next project, while also keeping tabs on Anne Hathaway's social media accounts...just in case.
Adrian Tofei has been criminally flying under the radar for me. The timid, gentle looking filmmaker and his found footage documentary style horror film for whatever reason, weren't really registering on my radar of frothing anticipation. Sure, I heard about 'Be My Cat: A Film for Anne' - and positively enough, due to the awards it had garnered at film festivals - which prompted some level of interest in eventually reviewing it, but I was never prepared for what awaited me. Looking back, it's clear that all the signs were there to clue me into just how incredibly unique - and batshit insane - this project was. Perhaps my misgivings were a result of the sub-genre itself, having had to endure so many uninspired entries the last few years. Well, at least with Adrian Tofei, I won't be making that mistake again.
The biggest draw of found-footage films is their ability to deeply immerse you - through the camera's first person perspective - in whatever plot-lines contained therein. By stripping away perspective buffers and as a result, layers of comfort, you experience a more visceral horror; at least, that's the intention. Unfortunately more often than not, what you experience is a dizzying incomprehensible smattering of fast cuts, cheap jump scares, and other over-used devices that take more away than they do add to the film's effectiveness.
But, I did mention that my apprehension and pre-judgement with this particular entry was unfounded. It doesn't fall into the aforementioned genre trappings. No forced jump-scares, no vomit-inducing shaky cam; it's completely comprehensible, focused...and mad. 'Be My Cat' is an uncomfortable, almost too real, found-footage style horror film about an obsessed Anne Hathaway fan, his disturbing determination to please her, and the shocking lengths to which he'll make that happen. Every actress playing victim in 'Be My Cat' did so to such a convincing degree that we were left feeling a touch of concern, but it was Adrian Tofei's authentic performance that sent us over the edge, spiraling down a quick decent into inescapable madness. He appears harmless, speaks like a child, and initially gets us to believe enough in his noble quest to convince Anne Hathaway of his genius that you actually begin to sympathize. That is of course until the deception, murder, mutilation and manic behavior take center stage and all that shit about sympathy and nobility go right out the window (along with your comfort levels), doing EXACTLY what this sub-genre was intended to do at it's best.
Of course, it's just a movie, right? At least, this was the question we asked ourselves repeatedly through its running time for self-assurance; and who can blame us? The guy can act his ass off, no question; and it just so happens that in this particular role, this being the first time we've seen him perform, he comes across as so veritably frightening that we were given slight cause for concern.
Yeah; I was afraid of the timid, gentle-looking Adrian Tofei.