Caviar (2023) Movie Review – Horror on Tubi
Antigone Corday is an aspiring social media influencer. She is mourning the recent death of her brother, Jeremiah, a well-known pundit and voice for progressive causes. Soon, she receives a mysterious package in the mail--a pre-recorded video of Jeremiah. He claims to have uncovered a conspiracy that will throw her worldview, and the fate of the planet, into question.
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Welcome to Knockout Horror. We are pretty much done with our Horror on Tubi feature. I had aimed for it to run throughout June though it did start a little late. That doesn’t mean we won’t be going to the Tubi well frequently, though. There is just too much opportunity for viable horror, completely free, to ignore. Which brings us to today’s movie as we are reviewing Found Footage (sort of) horror movie Caviar.
Now I had no idea what to expect going into this movie. The vague references to social media influencers and conspiracies offers little hint. Not a huge problem, I thought. We have covered a ton of Social Media Influencer based horror movies here on Knockout Horror. How bad can it be? Holy shit was I ever unprepared for this.
Caviar is a word associated with opulence and excess. It conjures images of snobby people devouring tiny portions of food and drinking expensive wine. It is also a word I associate with the Dance Gavin Dance track featuring Chino Moreno from the Deftones. Kind of vague but those are the two things that came to mind when I see this word. Well, I now have a whole new association for the term Caviar. Caviar is one of the worst horror movies I have ever watched.
Just So Bad!
I really could end the review there and nothing of substance would be lost. There really is so little to talk about with this film; but, alas, I will go on. Caviar is, basically, the word soup from inside the head of a writer. Spewed onto the screen haphazardly without a hint of care or skill. Caviar is the Alphabetti Spaghetti of horror movies. A bunch of incoherent letters slapped on a plate with an unpalatable sauce of mediocre acting, terrible imagery and lacklustre story telling.
I really can’t think of a better way to put it than that. It might seem like I being a little bit unfair here. And, perhaps I am. I am sure writer and director Jacob Michael King would claim I just don’t “get” the movie. He would, likely, tell me that Caviar is a deft commentary on the proliferation of misinformation. He would point out how the movie draws attention to the susceptibility of society to manipulation from those in power. And how it highlights the tendencies of both conspiracy theorists and the elite to pray on the weak and the poor.
Which is all well and good. But does it really matter if the majority of people turn the movie off half way through? Do you really have an important message if people fall asleep while you are delivering it? Because that’s where I was during this movie. My fiancee abandoned it half way through. Choosing, instead, to go clean up animal shit rather than sit through the rest of the film. Leaving me to fight the boredom and soldier on through it.
Conspiracies, Lies and Misinformation
Caviar follows the story of Antigone. A pregnant woman who has recently lost her social media influencer brother. Determined to carry on his vision. Antigone maintains his YouTube channel and begins releasing her own content. After appearing on an interview. Antigone suddenly receives a package from someone that will turn her life upside down.
Caviar is a movie that plays out like a 4Chan Greentext made flesh. Paranoid, self important and repeating messages we have all heard a million times before. It’s, initially, simple premise. Quickly unravels to reveal something a lot more convoluted. A story that is eager to point a finger at misinformation and conspiracy. All while distancing itself from any particular political agenda. It’s satirical while also feeling rather redundant and unimportant. Caviar is like something you would wake up to autoplaying on YouTube in the wee hours of the morning.
Deepfakes of political figures play throughout the movie. With each character relating sentiments that touch on some of the wider known conspiracies regarding said figures. Seemingly drawing attention to the ease at which this type of media can be created. While never actually managing to feel authentic or impactful. The uncanny valley nature of everything portrayed provokes laughs as well as a bit of amazement at how far AI has come. It’s both impressive for its simplicity and a bit weird for how bad it looks in parts.
Boring and Repetitive
The reality here is that these are the same topics you have heard a million times before. It’s just not that interesting or thought provoking. Imagery of 9/11 spliced in with deepfake depictions of George Bush discussing the benefits of war. Really feels like something you would find on Limewire in 2007. References to the Bilderberg Group and Bohemian Grove feel stripped right out of a 2004 Michael Moore documentary. We even have a facsimile of Alex Jones presenting a show called “Truth Wars”. I mean, really? It’s a bit embarrassing to be honest.
I get it. We are in an age where people can be made to believe anything. Whether it is by government figures or simply people with bad intentions. But this is nothing new. We are hearing about this in the news every day. Discussions on deepfakes, AI and misinformation, as a whole, is a never ending topic, as of late. Conspiracy theories have never been more popular. Hell a person doesn’t even have the pleasure of dying nowadays without some anti-vaxxer claiming it was because of the vax. Caviar brings nothing new to this. It simply recycles worn out conversations and presents them in a slightly different way. I am not sure how this is supposed to open anyone’s eyes to anything at all.
Caviar wants to be significant. It wants to be poignant. It wants to inspire thought in the person watching it. But to do that it needs a message. Something more interesting and more significant than this. I can only assume that this is a subject that King recently became interested in. Fell down a rabbit hole and decided he could add to it. It’s a topic that is played out and done to death. And a topic that is likely to turn many people off immediately.
A Complete Fail as a Horror
Aside from the above. When looking at Caviar as a movie, as a horror, and as entertainment. It is a complete and utter fail. This movie is going to provoke some serious laughter. That is if you don’t check out half way through. There are visual effects in this that come straight from Jason and the Argonauts. Genuinely shocking stop motion complete with terrible effects and dodgy perspective work. It is horrifyingly bad. Perhaps this is what the director was going for? But, either way, the result will be laughter and bewilderment that a movie can look this bad in 2023.
Added to this are some truly awful looking AI generated characters. Used to interact with the actors in the film. A deepfake of political commentator AOC looks really bad. Reminding me of those apps people use to make static pictures sing or dance. Voices of political characters feel robotic and unnatural. And the dialogue written for these characters is pretty horrendous too. Often rambling and, in parts, disconnected. It’s all very amateur and a bit silly.
On top of this. The story at play here is just utterly boring. The slow start and awkward political discussions eventually gives way to something with some potential intrigue. But it is quick to fade away. Descending into silliness and nonsensical twists and turns. All while King rams the subjects of Owls and Aliens into every open story orifice. It’s as weird as it sounds. The movie, ultimately, wraps up with one of the most ridiculous endings I have seen in awhile. Featuring imagery of political figures shrouded in cloaks. Grinning maniacally as some Cronenberg-esque, psychedelic, visuals bombard the viewer. In, what I can only describe as, a psychotic episode of a final scene. It’s hilarious stuff and almost made it worth sitting through the movie.
Acting is Pretty Mixed
Acting is pretty awful, throughout. Betsey Brown is wildly inconsistent as Antigone. Opening the movie with some horrendously awful fake crying. Before moving into a more comfortable flow as a budding vlogger / mystery investigator. Before reverting back to terrible acting and overuse of the word “Bro” for the final 20 minutes. It was a weird performance. I think she is, more than likely, a very capable actor. It just seemed as though she was bored or tired. Maybe even a little bit frustrated at how silly the story was.
Al Warren was okay as Jeremiah. It’s hard to believe he would be someone that made it as any kind of social media personality though. He has no obvious charisma and feels incredibly bland. Aaron Pruner is decent as a sleazy dude with something to hide. There was a bit of a Tim Curry vibe to his performance which I enjoyed. Conversely, Jais Sardo is really bad as Alex Jones-lite Caesar Green. Never feeling anything other than awkward, on screen. Similarly, James Healy Jr. was not at all convincing as someone suffering from dementia.
I, personally, can’t point out any significant positives about Caviar. This is a movie that, for me, struck out in nearly every department. Still, I do actually think there is an audience for it. I think there are going to be some people that miss the point. Believing the movie to be a “right-wing” piece of media supporting theories that Hillary Clinton eats babies and smells like sulfur. It will, likely, find an audience there that appreciates it.
I also think that some people will appreciate the esoteric nature of the story. As well as the bizarre way it trails off into discussion of owls and aliens. Some might even appreciate the visuals and the old fashioned style, stop motion, monster work. It will also find an audience in fart sniffing critics that believe they understand movies on a different level.
That ain’t me, though, I am part of the audience, not a critic; I watch a movie and tell you what I think. I am not here to critique from a point of technical, or film-making, proficiency. I didn’t enjoy this movie and if I recommended it to friends, I would never hear the end of it.
Final Thoughts and Score
I’ve reviewed some utter crap lately. I didn’t think it could get much worse than I’m Haunted but, apparently, I was wrong. Caviar is terrible. It’s a movie that may appeal to certain people who enjoy certain topics. But for the majority of us, it’s just a movie that rambles on incessantly about topics we are all sick of hearing about. Bland conspiracies, deep fakes, misinformation yadayadayada. It’s all been done before and wrapping it in a story about Aliens and Owls doesn’t make it worth sitting through again.
Added to this; the terrible effects, boring plot and poor acting make this movie a real chore. Some may enjoy some of the deepfake stuff, despite how poorly done the majority of it is. Some may like the references to conspiracies and real world events. But for those of us looking for an entertaining movie, look elsewhere. Caviar is a real drag.
Thanks for reading. This movie is bad but some of the ones at the bottom of the page are good so why not take a look? You can check out Caviar for free on Tubi right now. If you enjoyed this, stick around and read some horror reviews. I also put together Horror Movie Lists and spend way too long explaining horror movie endings. I update most days of the week so there is always something new.
Trailer: Caviar (2023)
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|Release Date:||2nd May 2023|
|Movie Type:||Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Found Footage, Comedy|
|Movie Length:||84 Min|
|Starring:||Betsey Brown, James Healy Jr, Aaron Pruner, Jais Sardo, Al Warren|
|Directed By:||Jacob Michael King|
|Written By:||Jacob Michael King|
|Produced By:||Jais Sardo, Jacob Michael King|
|Parental Guidance:||Language, Violence|