COLD FISH is one of the more brutal, provocative, and frankly insane films I’ve ever seen. It’s fantastically, at times nauseatingly violent, yet has an overt humour and deliberate pace that makes it a strange, provocative beast indeed.

We’re introduced to a somber family making a go with their small exotic fish store. When their rebellious daughter is found shoplifting, the gregarious, Ferrari-driving owner of a far fancier store takes the family under his wing. This, naturally, go awry.

What’s truly remarkable about the work is the slow build, the step-by-step jump into insanity whereby we see the full horror wrought by the end. The lightness of the earlier scenes are made all the more diabolical by the conclusion, and the film plays even its most excessive moments with a certain sense of somber reluctance, a matter-of-fact realism that makes the gory moments even more unsettling.

The performances are uniformly excellent, and with their various phases and tonal shifts throughout the film the cast remains assured. This is an extremely challenging and bold work, but one that trips this type of genre film on its head, exploring the intensity of coercion and the descent of a family into a stylistic yet eerily realistic hell. A thinking person’s bloodbath piece, COLD FISH is a unique experience, with scenes of great humour, tragedy and violence that you’re not likely to soon forget.

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