An inbred family of cannibals are kidnapping, murdering, torturing and raping people in a Scottish town. A cop is ready to give his all to find the responsible behind these horrible crimes, but it's all made harder when a journalist is curious about the case as well. Will he find the bastard family and what will happen when he does?
Alexander Bean (or Sawney Bean) isn't quite as big of a name as Jack the Ripper, Ed Gein or Erzsébet Báthory in horror. That doesn't mean his legend hasn't been portrayed - or at least been used as inspiration - in art before. Most notably to people like us is Wes Craven's "The Hills Have Eyes". Other movies include "Samhain" ("Evil Breed") and "Hillside Cannibals", which are mostly.. pure trash. "The Hills Have Eyes", on the other hand, is a classic inbred horror movie which still today is largely unbeaten by most modern attempts - whether it's "Wrong Turn" or its remake, neither succeed in my opinion. I'd lie if I said I was a big believer in the inbred genre, as the modern movies all seem the same, but with "Sawney: Flesh of Man" in my hands I was curious to see how the legend of Sawney Bean was used.
It's a modern day story with certain throwbacks. People are being gruesomely mutilated by an inbred family where the head of the family is Sawney himself - or maybe the highest regarded part of the family is the dark secret that needs feeding. Whatever it may be, a cop is in serious shit when he begins to investigate the disappearances and murders around town. The murders are connected to a black taxi that's driving around in the Scottish town. A journalist is also trying to find a good story, something which makes the police investigation a lot harder to deal with.
There are some parts of "Sawney: Flesh of Man" that I enjoyed. Most notably, the taxi car bit. It reminded me of Jack the Ripper, and gave a creepy vibe not entirely familiar in the subgenre. When it comes to the meat of it all - the family and their murders - it's all things we've seen before, just slightly skewed with severe sexual deviation (such as masturbating with a chopped off hand). It gives the movie a bizarre edge that doesn't add to the scare factor, but rather the slight comedic tone that shows through at times (in most twisted scenes). Yet again we're let down by a modern inbred movie, and long gone are the days of "The Hills Have Eyes" and "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", it appears.
There's plenty of gore in the movie and most of it is well done. It wouldn't be wrong of people to go into it solely for some gore, as that's what they intended to give the viewer over most things anyway. Plenty of severed body parts, from hands to heads, are on display.
David Hayman does carry the role of Sawney pretty well, he's appropriately messed up and creepy. He brings a comedic tone to the movie that seems to fit. He's one of the few highlights in the cast though, as even the lead is a bore to follow. A few of you won't mind, you might be of the mindset that a movie like this only needs an entertaining antagonist, and in that case you might be pleased.
"Sawney: Flesh of Man" brings very little to an already full table. I enjoyed bits of it and I don't think it's a waste due to some of the gore, but you need to look further to find a great inbred horror. This doesn't manage to creep you out or even thrill you enough. The few times it does get atmospheric it
almost seems like it's a different movie (like the taxi scenes), separated from the rest. Even though I can't really recommend it, I wouldn't blame anyone for being curious and wanting to give it a shot. It has a few decent moments, but mainly bland ones.