Man Bites Dog (1992)

man bites dog poster 1992 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visual: 9/10

Better than many of the genre, an original that has been copied since

Too dark for many

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Man Bites Dog

Studio:  Les Artistes Anonymes

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama/Horror

Release Date(s):  September 12, 1992 (Toronto International Film Festival)/January 15, 1993 (US)

MPAA Rating:  NC-17

man bites dog serial killer bodies benoit poelvoorde

Man…disposing of bodies is such a pain

Ben (Benoît Poelvoorde) is about to become a star. He’s being followed by a documentary crew tracking and shooting his every move…as he lives his life as a serial killer. He’ll kill a postman and then use his mail to determine his next target, and Ben will maybe pick off one or two people annoying him along the way. With the crew in tow, Ben shows what it is like to kill for the joy of killing, but even killers have families and friends.

Directed by Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, and Benoît Poelvoorde, Man Bites Dog (C’est arrivé près de chez vous or It Has Happened Near Your Home) is a mockumentary satire. The Belgium film was released at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1992 with a U.S. release in 1993 (with an NC-17 rating). The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #165).

I had seen Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon which got a lot of comparisons to this film. While Leslie Vernon is more of an ode to slasher and devolves into a slasher film at the end, much of the film feels lifted from Man Bites Dog…and of course Man Bites Dog does it better.

man bites dog serial killer documentary benoit poelvoorde

Um…yeah. I’m probably going to edit out the parts where I murder people too….

The film is the dark and evil version of mockumentaries like This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman. Ben is entertaining and funny, and you don’t like yourself for thinking that. He’s a jerk, racist, and willing to kill children (though he doesn’t like it since there is no profit in it). The filmmakers realize this and capitalize on the uncomfortable laughter that follows Ben and his killings. The secondary story of the crew getting more involved of the killings is also interesting and brings into question the effects of violence on those around it.

The film is largely a vehicle for Benoît Poelvoorde. He must hold the movie together since he is the focus of the documentary and essentially all the other actors are just set pieces for him to play with. I do like his circle of friends who know he’s a serial killer and are ok with it (it does suck when your friend shoots you in the heat at a party though).

man bites dog mothers kid benoit poelvoorde

Just no profit in killing kids

The black-and-white movie is like many modern “found footage” films with shaky points and segments where the characters are talking off screen or running. It should be remembered that this movie was released before the whole found footage craze really erupted with The Blair Witch Project and it is put together better than many found footage films currently including sometimes playing with the audio and video in that aspect.

Man Bites Dog is an interesting film that was ahead of its time. The NC-17 movie now (while still violent) doesn’t feel as dangerous as I’m sure it felt back in 1992, and it is easier to “enjoy” the joy of the character and reflect on what that means. There is an interesting foreign barrier with the film in that it generally feels like serial killers are a uniquely “American” thing (not true at all), and it gives a foreign take on it when especially in early 1990s the Silence of the Lambs effect was leading to more stories about serial killers…check out Man Bites Dog and witness a strange morality code govern illogical actions.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response