Bill Whitney is the adopted son of a wealthy family in Beverly Hills. He’s successful and popular, but he feels estranged from his family and friends. He receives an audio tape that seems to implicate his family in a bizarre ritual. As Bill digs further into their odd behavior, he uncovers a vast conspiracy. The wealthy elite aren’t just well bred, they are another species entirely. They feed off of humans in a ritual called ‘The Shunt,’ and it looks like Bill might be the next guest at one of their parties.
Society is gross and often uncomfortably so. The film eschews over the top gore for something much more cartoonish and slimy. Skin is stretched and bodies meld in a way that feels like a Cronenberg movie that has made unwholesome love to a Looney Tunes short. To further add to these unsettling scenes, the music and editing is more akin to a comedy, complete with silly gags and a lilting score. It all combines to make these big show stopping effects sequences all the more nightmarish. My one complaint is that the opening credits give away the grand finale, I understand that the swirling images of undulating flesh are supposed to peak interest in what’s to come, but I feel like it spoils the surprise too much.
|I hate when the blankets get all twisted up like that.|
|*Angry kazoo noises*|
Society is a great film, and one that seems to be finally gaining recognition after languishing in obscurity for a long time. Technically, it’s a wonder of prosthetics and practical make-up. It was presented as a sickening comment on the waning days of the excessive 1980s, but it remains (unfortunately) still relevant today.