Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012: Crave

Crave is a film with a serious identity crisis, and is one where the filmmakers (in this case, director Charles De Lauzirika and co-writer Robert Lawton) clearly had way too many ideas and tried, largely unsuccessfully, to cram them all into one project. It goes from a straight-ahead film about vigilante justice to a bizarre comedy and back so many times that it takes the wind out of its own sails, and that's a pity because either one of these two ideas are just fine.

The first half of the film is a darker, less surreal version of James Gunn's Super and even Bobcat Goldthwaite's God Bless America. Aiden (Josh Lawson) is a crime scene photographer who is growing increasingly less tolerant of the depraved world around him, and struggles with the idea of changing things. We're given glimpses into Aiden's fantasy life, usually with a fourth-wall-breaking nod of some kind. This works fairly well for the most part, and is the source of all the gory bits that make this film an After Dark selection.

We're introduced to Aiden's love interest, Virginia (Emma Lung), who forms Aiden's motivation to start trying to act on these impulses, or 'cravings' as they were, but nothing, at least to me, suggests that she's worth the hassle. She likes objectively horrible theatre, vacillates between hot and cold like a broken space heater, and generally comes off as a bit flaky. Considering the hoops that Aidan — who to be clear is no prize himself — jumps through for her it's a bit confounding, but they do show some decent chemistry at times.

I think what really drags the film down for me is the overuse of narration. It's a bit lazy and tells you things that should probably be shown onscreen, and the film as a whole would benefit from this being used a lot more sparingly.

I don't want to give the impression that Crave is a total waste of time or anything. There's a lot here that suggests that De Lauzirika is an extremely talented director, and most of the issues with the film have to do with the screenwriting. It's just that Crave could be so much more, and seeing it fail to reach its potential is disappointing.

Oh, one other thing: I remain confounded at Edward Furlong's unwillingness to age since Terminator 2, but he has provided me with the most laugh-out-loud moment of the festival so far. Thumbs up all around.


Stay tuned all week for more reviews from the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. You can find them all here.

This review was written by Sachin Hingoo, a freelance writer when he is not working at an office job that is purpose-built for paying the bills while he works as a freelance writer.  His writing has appeared on, the CBC Street Level Blog,, and The Midnight Madness Blog for the Toronto International Film Festival. He has also been featured at Toronto lecture series Trampoline Hall (which is rumored to be excellent). His mutant power is 'feigning interest'. You can read all of his posts here.

Photo: The poster for Crave.  It's a movie, with talking and music and actors and everything.


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