Do Not Disturb: A psychedelic, cannibalistic love story

Do Not Disturb - Courtesy Dark Star Pictures
Do Not Disturb - Courtesy Dark Star Pictures /

Writer/director John Ainslie’s Do Not Disturb is certainly a gruesome trip. It follows a husband and wife whose relationship is rocky, to put it mildly. In hopes of salvaging their marriage and rekindling their love, they head to Miami for their honeymoon. There, they take drugs. What follows is a psychedelic nightmare involving cannibalism. Do Not Disturb is a bloody 90 minutes about testing the limits of a relationship and pushing boundaries in hopes of rejuvenating what feels tired and stale.  Oh, and amid the severed limbs, there are a few laughs to be found, too.

The wife, Chloe, is played by Kimberly Laferriere, while hubby Jack is played by Rogan Christopher. Of the two, Laferriere especially turns in a memorable performance. There are times when she’s downright menacing and dominant. More often than not, she wears the pants in the relationship. When Jack turns to his cannibalistic side, he’s a far more interesting character, transcending his generally whiny persona. The darker turn pushes Christopher’s acting to another level that makes his character somewhat more likeable, oddly.

Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb – Courtesy Dark Star Pictures /

It’s evident from the get-go that the couple’s relationship is stagnant. Early in the film, Chloe almost forgets to call Jack her husband when they meet another couple, Wayne (Christian McKenna) and Wendy (Janet Porter). Chloe and Jack fight over every little thing. Their bickering is constant, so they turn to other means in hopes of saving their relationship. First, they swing with Wayne and Wendy, until Jack’s jealousy erupts. Then, their friend Manuel (Patrick McNeil) gives them loads of drugs, and well, that’s when this film gets really interesting, at about the halfway point.

The editing and dizzying camera angels underscore the potent effect of the drugs, which, at first, plays out like a usual trip. However, Chloe and Jack start having sex for the first time in, well, who knows how long, but the sex is violent, to the point Chloe even bites Jack, while at other times he hits her. Yes, their relationship is toxic. Eventually, they’re consumed by this hunger and find one victim after the other.

Because this movie features cannibalism, it’s graphic and gory at points, though it never feels gratuitous. The drugs and cannibalism change the characters, making Chloe far more assertive and even Jack, but to a lesser extent. There are also some really funny moments in this movie, though Do Not Disturb is far more horror than it is comedy. Still, the bit of levity works.

Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb – Courtesy Dark Star Pictures /

As blood-soaked as Do Not Disturb is, and as much as the second half leans into the horror, it’s really a film about a stagnant relationship and testing boundaries in hopes of keeping a marriage vital. Laferriere is mesmerizing to watch. Her character is dangerous and alluring at the same time. Relationships can indeed become all consuming, especially when they’re weighed down by past baggage. In Do Not Disturb, cannibalism is not used for mere shock value, but rather to explore two characters whose marriage is floundering. They need to try something new to stay together. In this case, it involves human flesh.

Overall, Do Not Disturb is a character-driven trip where a couple’s hotel room transforms into a den of lust, violence, and plenty of carnage. This one features a strong dose of slaughter and mayhem to cure the post-Halloween blues.

Do Not Disturb releases in theaters on November 17 and then VOD on November 21.

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