Sundance Review: "Zoo" Drops A Steaming Road Apple

by | January 28, 2007 | Comments

They say that this was the year of deviant sex films at Sundance, and such was the case with a little documentary entry called "Zoo," whose title is a shortened take on zoophilia — as in, people who don’t just like animals, they love animals.

It’s a jaw-dropping subject for a film; what’s more shocking is that "Zoo" not only aims to be a gateway into understanding this sub-sub-community of unusual fetishists, but does so by examining a real-life case of small-town bestiality in which one man died after an encounter with a horse.

Without going into too much detail, suffice to say that while "Zoo" obviously means well — the filmmakers try to humanize, rather than sensationalize, their subjects — the film itself is a bit of a snoozer. And a messy snoozer at that.

Director Robinson Devor has access to two of the zoophiles involved but, since being blasted in the media following the 2005 death of their friend, neither appears on camera. Instead, using voice-over narration and codenames like "Coyote," the men’s stories are shown via melodramatic recreations (one man runs through a field to hide a bucketful of homemade horse porn in slo-mo) that evoke the cheesiness of TV crime-show docudrama. Beautifully shot on location on a rural Seattle-area horse farm, these sequences are dreamy and meditative — oftentimes too much so, to the effect that instead of connecting to the otherwise inexplicable motives of the deviant men, the audience becomes lost, bored, and (in my case) sleepy.

Adding to the confusion is a handful of poor choices by Devor that further muddle any connection, or understanding, of the people involved, the man who died, and why they felt so spiritually connected to their animal partners that a sexual connection was the next logical step. The worst offense is the inclusion of an interview with an actor identified as "Cop #2." He gives an earnest, but terribly inappropriate and irrelevant, meandering personal story about how death is bad — then, cut to the next scene, and we see him play police in a laughable reenactment scene.

Ultimately, we’re left baffled and bored — though the cop scene does provide an unexpected laugh and, for the record, there are two brief flashes of said home videos to satisfy any morbid curiosity.

As of this posting, four other reviews have trickled in for "Zoo" (all Fresh) that laud the film for expanding/challenging the tropes of the documentary format ("Devor and his accomplished crew expand our concept of the documentary film," writes The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt).

Click here for more of our Fundance at Sundance coverage!

Tag Cloud

Infographic Sundance Now CBS diversity franchise E3 politics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina singing competition ghosts Spike Extras LGBTQ Travel Channel sports Syfy FXX cults werewolf Valentine's Day Amazon Ellie Kemper Pop TV Comic Book medical drama cats Schedule Trivia Bravo Turner adventure technology YA indie Cannes historical drama serial killer Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt dceu GLAAD south america Funimation Tumblr ratings Polls and Games Lucasfilm casting Awards Comedy Central children's TV richard e. Grant Fall TV Trailer Anna Paquin Cosplay Box Office Country CNN Britbox adaptation Television Academy comics true crime facebook police drama talk show PaleyFest anthology mission: impossible harry potter Sneak Peek TCA Winter 2020 Photos chucky TBS Discovery Channel Creative Arts Emmys Sci-Fi disaster Food Network Sony Pictures Epix Netflix cars die hard 24 frames Summer parents RT History animated Crunchyroll based on movie Logo Arrowverse DC streaming service IFC Films Pride Month hispanic directors Film spanish language Mary Poppins Returns Women's History Month Amazon Prime Video Lifetime Christmas movies justice league FX on Hulu SundanceTV Pirates Netflix Christmas movies Disney jamie lee curtis First Reviews psycho CW Seed video Stephen King Spectrum Originals The Witch President See It Skip It CMT Mary Tyler Moore spider-man Rom-Com National Geographic supernatural Musical The Arrangement series crime thriller Winter TV Freeform composers canceled TV shows breaking bad blockbuster free movies DC Universe Action VICE transformers Disney Plus MSNBC halloween tv talk Adult Swim spain dragons revenge Star Trek HBO Max 2016 Superheroes Sundance TV WarnerMedia Holidays BET sitcom zero dark thirty Reality A&E crime drama Hulu Year in Review Countdown HBO AMC stand-up comedy natural history unscripted anime LGBT Tomatazos Marathons zombies Starz Biopics Columbia Pictures war Esquire Hallmark crossover Film Festival Apple TV+ Nominations Crackle criterion cops joker Apple TV Plus best cancelled TV series theme song Shudder TruTV Watching Series witnail The CW screen actors guild TV renewals Winners cancelled television 2015 a nightmare on elm street TLC Musicals Heroines Set visit TCA Endgame romance Song of Ice and Fire mockumentary 2017 Ghostbusters doctor who biography Thanksgiving Oscars movie mutant Paramount Disney Channel cinemax comiccon Opinion X-Men festivals 2020 comic Baby Yoda Podcast latino dogs Sundance space Comics on TV Interview award winner reboot 2019 Walt Disney Pictures Dark Horse Comics game show DC Comics The Purge Cartoon Network psychological thriller Mindy Kaling First Look Black History Month child's play New York Comic Con 2018 71st Emmy Awards movies ESPN Tarantino CBS All Access Premiere Dates cancelled Fantasy 4/20 independent strong female leads Brie Larson Rock WGN Grammys Martial Arts Christmas PBS TNT spinoff cooking Nat Geo Chernobyl SDCC OWN green book Writers Guild of America Lifetime Holiday Captain marvel sag awards DirecTV game of thrones ITV Hear Us Out asian-american what to watch screenings Animation Emmy Nominations Marvel quibi Music Hallmark Christmas movies TV Land miniseries Video Games spy thriller dc Elton John Rocky period drama Academy Awards 21st Century Fox TCM streaming Mudbound cancelled TV shows MTV VH1 Drama Kids & Family scary movies docudrama social media TV rotten movies we love Disney+ Disney Plus christmas movies Teen Universal Character Guide Election Family NBC USA book foreign MCU finale Awards Tour NYCC vampires Pixar boxoffice reviews A24 ABC Family RT21 Shondaland romantic comedy binge 20th Century Fox Western SXSW thriller golden globes Amazon Studios Red Carpet television YouTube Red The Walking Dead Lionsgate dramedy YouTube E! Avengers Warner Bros. San Diego Comic-Con Masterpiece Paramount Network canceled ABC travel slashers Comedy dark Certified Fresh Showtime Super Bowl FOX Quiz discovery Classic Film batman versus History DGA American Society of Cinematographers OneApp Toys aliens Ovation teaser hist stoner Marvel Television kids Black Mirror sequel crime Mary poppins zombie Horror Vudu documentary Tubi El Rey Pet Sematary YouTube Premium Disney streaming service name the review USA Network political drama Pop IFC Apple cartoon APB 007 TCA 2017 FX Turner Classic Movies 45 renewed TV shows GoT concert GIFs Emmys Amazon Prime nature Nickelodeon science fiction Acorn TV Star Wars Marvel Studios comedies Fox News Superheroe TIFF BBC America Peacock BBC Best and Worst elevated horror Calendar Binge Guide Mystery Spring TV toy story Reality Competition blaxploitation robots universal monsters Rocketman Trophy Talk