One of the most talked about and controversial films at Sundance this year also turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments. The description for Zoo had Sundancers talking long before the festival even started. Slated as a documentary about bestiality, the subject of Zoo sounded unique enough for patrons to wait up to five hours in line for tickets. I in fact was one of the curious, showing up to the theater early for my chance to watch men having sex with horses. This experience however, has turned out to be my largest waste of time at Sundance yet.
The first mistake that the filmmakers of Zoo made was in choosing to record only audio for the interviews. They chose to layer these sound-bites over cheesy poorly shot reenactments which had the audience laughing out loud. It often looked as if the filmmakers simply picked out stock footage to fit the visuals produced by the interviews. In addition the interviews in this film sounded almost entirely scripted.
They also seemed to tip toe around the topic of bestiality until the end of the film as if to avoid shocking audiences. The problem with this is that audiences here most likely know what they’re getting themselves into when they choose to watch this film, and are probably expecting, and are probably even hoping to be shocked. In addition, this film comes off as very shallow, and doesn’t dig deep into the issue of bestiality, a topic which has the potential of evoking discussion on many angles. The filmmakers instead makes a drawn out one dimensional story that could have been told in under ten minutes.
The only highlights of the film come when a horse rescuer explains that she witnessed a miniature horse giving a arabian stallion a blow-job. There is also a horse castration scene at the end that proved to be quite interesting.
Stay away from this film. The filmmakers should learn that audiences aren’t made of glass. This is a controversial topic and audiences deserve a film with more depth.
/Film Rating: 2 out of 10U.S.A. / color / 80 minutes
Director: Robinson Devor
Screenwriter: Charles Mudede, Robinson Devor