SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE: Flex Gourmet (2022)

Peter Strickland also made Berberian Sound StudioThe Duke of Burgundy and In Fabric, so I always look forward to what he does next. Even if I don’t completely like it, I know that it’ll definitely be interesting.

Since the 90s, Strickland has been part of the Sonic Catering Band, which creates music from the sounds of cooking, so it’s already piquing my interest when this movie is set at Sonic Catering Institute. Run by Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie), it’s the setting of this film and where a trio made up of Lamina Propria (Ariane Labed), Billy Rubin (Asa Butterfield) and Elle di Elle (Fatma Mohamed) is in the middle of a series of concerts that combine food and sound creation.

They’ve added another member for the three-week stint, a writer named Stones (Makis Papadimitriou). The great food within the center has left him with both indigestion and gas, so he visits Dr. Glock (Richard Bremmer) who warns him that he may have a life-ending bowel condition.

Have you ever watched a nude woman dance while pigs are slaughtered and chefs cook behind her? Well, get ready. And at the end of each show, the group has an audience tribute which is basically an orgy that only adds to the issues between Elle di Elle’s group, who have all been her lovers at one time. There’s also a rival group called Mangrove Snacks who are trying to sabotage everything.

Flux Gourmet is a strange film. I’m certain that a ton of people who watch it on Shudder will hate it because it’s not really horror. It’s…something. Where Strickland has made a giallo, Eurohorror and a British 70s horror movie, now he’s making a film about the inherent silliness of art movements. I didn’t exactly love it but I didn’t hate it — kind of like a high end meal where I definitely enjoyed the flavor but stopped at a convenience store to get a roller hot dog on the way home.

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