Novella McClure is a 30-something struggling actress in L.A. who never gets a part, is always confused as a porn actress due to her name and is completely out of money. To cope with her depressing life she has developed a habit of eating lose bits of skin from her fingers, and the habit grows into something a lot more disturbing than a minor bad habit.
Here we go again, another body horror movie about a deteriorating woman (in one way or another). We've had titles like "Thanatomorphose", "Contracted" and "Starry Eyes", which are similar in several aspects. "Eat" shares a lot with these too, as well as with "Dans ma peau" ("In My Skin"), but it came off as a more quirky, eccentric version that borders on comedy at times. This is a good thing after slowly feeling overfed by these types of movies, as much as I actually enjoy the genre as a hole.
Meggie Maddock stars as the actress with a porn star-esque name, Novella McClure, who just can't catch a break. She has been auditioning for a long time but has not gotten a single part, she has no money to pay off her very friendly landlord or to buy food. Meanwhile she sees her rival getting all the good parts. Novella develops the bad habit of eating loose bits of skin off of her fingers, but this is a habit that grows more severe. The innocent bad habit becomes a strange addiction that leads to her seriously wounding her body, which is mistaken as a suicide attempt by the hospital.
The plot might sound like a "fun" thriller, but yet my mind kept thinking of "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" meets "Dans ma peau". Both me and my wife had a lot of fun watching this movie, and I seriously don't think they intended it to be entirely serious. It's not a comedy, obviously, but there's a light tone to it that we're introduced with already in the opening montage of Novella getting ready to go out to an audition. That doesn't mean that "Eat" doesn't have a darker side - it goes equally as far as the contemporary titles of similar plot (except perhaps "Thanatomorphose", which was way more disgusting).
There's some neat gore effects in the movie, and some scenes work better than others. I think that the cuticle stuff was effective, and when she has left her wounded foot to rot it looks gross as hell. The blood is sometimes too pink in its tone. You'll most likely be satisfied with this if you, like me, expect gross wounds and gore with your body horror.
What makes "Eat" a fun movie is the characters. Novella McClure is quite a dumb actress, but the script really gave her a personality we could get attached to. She's a fun character, but when needed Meggie Maddock could also play her entirely serious. Her friend, Candice, is a more no-bullshit kind of girl, and is eventually the person who turns against us and Ali Francis pulls it off nicely. She balances between a likable "bad" girl and a selfish douche. In the end, if it wasn't for the colorful characters then "Eat" would have been a bland addition to the genre.
If you enjoy the body horror genre and especially the recent movies mentioned above, then "Eat" is a solid one. If you're getting tired of the genre, then it's up to you to decide - my personal opinion is that the characters make it worth it, but in the end it is rather unoriginal by connecting the body obsessed Hollywood lifestyle with self-mutilation.