[Short Film Review] MEAT FRIEND
Courtesy Nihil Noctem Films

It’s been quite some time since I last indulged in the fine creativity that comes from the minds of indie film creators. I always find short films pretty fascinating because creators cram so much plot and sometimes effects into such a short length of time and still pull it off pretty successfully. This time I had the absolute pleasure of checking out MEAT FRIEND, which was directed by Izzy Lee and written by Lee and Steve Johanson.

When I first turned on MEAT FRIEND, the immediate images you see are cattle farms with depressing conditions which led me to believe that I was going to be watching some pro veganism flick that encourages you to eat animals. It felt very similar to PETA videos (if you’ve ever seen them they’re horrible and depressing). The tempo switches very quickly showing a little girl named Billy attempting to heat up some ground beef in the microwave. I was still under the impression that this would be an ani carnivore presentation but I seemed to be far off.

Things quickly shift when Billy turns around to find herself being greeted by a creature that’s made entirely of a pile of ground beef. Now obviously you can imagine it’s pretty weird at this point but it only gets weirder as the film shifts again into what seems to be a kid’s educational show. However, that’s still pretty far off. Meat Friend begins his first lesson with Billy immediately teaching her how to make a prison shank. Why you may ask? I literally have no idea but I knew I was fully invested in the ridiculousness of what was unfolding before me.

Meat Friend continues to teach Billy lessons that can only be taught by a hardcore criminal or at least someone who watches hours and hours of “Law and Order”. From prison shanks to how to off someone, Meat Friend teaches only the most valuable and necessary life lessons to Billy. Of course, Billy is invested in the lessons, much like myself, while simultaneously questioning Meat Friend’s educational methods and curriculum. One especially valuable lesson Billy learns is that sometimes you can hurt people and make it look like an accident.

Still from MEAT FRIEND

At this point, I’m convinced that this mystical meat creature is surely an imaginary friend dreamt up by a very creative and lonely child. However, I was clearly wrong as an unfortunate “accident” happens to one of Billy’s pets resulting in a silly retaliation on the child’s end. This also changes Billy’s excitement about ground beef to disgust. I think I can definitely agree with Billy about this, especially if I suffered the loss of a pet to the hands of a fucking meat pile monstrosity that cuts fools with a bloody shank and drowns people in pools of pudding.

MEAT FRIEND fits really well into the current world of horror. Horror comedy has been a really popular sub-genre for the last 10 years and while this short film is far from horror, it’s still a pretty horrifying concept. I love the use of practical effects with rubber monsters and that’s exactly what I got with MEAT FRIEND. There’s also some pretty goofy CGI usage that I really enjoyed because of how bad it looked.  But it was obvious that it was fully intentional to not look great.

MEAT FRIEND is just around eight minutes long making it a pretty quick watch that will fill the hole in your day It’s sure to generate a few laughs and scar your brain with the image of what a horrible-looking meat creature born of ground beef looks like. Definitely give this short a whirl because it’s pretty darn funny, and I know I’ll likely be referring to friends and probably talking about it on my podcast sometime soon!

Devin March
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