Directed by Robinson Devor
Written by Robinson Devor and Charles Mudede
John Paulson as Mr. Hands
Russell Hodgkinson as H
76 Minutes(Not Rated-Really Really Disturbing Content.)
"Zoo" is a somewhat nature documentary, and is of the fascinating subject that Werner Herzog should have made. Herzog seems to have made his mark on the nature documentary in my head after the masterpiece "Grizzly Man," and I have the feeling that if he was the one that constructed "Zoo" it would have had as much artistic merit as it does merit of interest. "Zoo" is more of a docu-drama than an actual documentary, and that fake account made the film a little more pretentious than it should have been. Director Robinson Devor tries to make this a compelling drama, and it seriously takes away from the subject at hand. He tries to make a more artistic work from such disturbing content, when I really just wanted to hear about what happened, and more about the issue.
But what is the issue? I have been rambling on about how disturbing it is, but what is "Zoo" about. "Zoo" is about a group of people that all met online, and decided to use the farm of one of them to meet up and fulfil their desires-to have sex with the horses. Yes-they get together, and they have sex with the animals. It seems that in Washington State, at this time, sex with animals was not something illegal. And these men film themselves doing it, have ropes and such around to "work the horses" better, and they get into groups and do it. Everything is under wraps and fine until one of them gets injured and ends up dying in a freak accident by bleeding internally. Suddenly the men are all on the verge of people caught-and animal activist groups get involved, the police get involved, FBI, everyone.
Now "Zoo" does make for great conversation, and it is clear that the subject matter is a fascinating one. However, only two of the men would reveal actual interviews, and instead of interviewing experts on the matter, Devor does the film like a drama, using actors as the men and having them reconstruct what the interviews are saying. However Devor also becomes a little obsessed with his own vision, and uses far too much slow motion and extremely melodramatic music to try and create these emotions that simply aren't there. At times I wanted to pop his ego and have him simply tell the story with talking heads and facts. If he wanted to make a dramatic version of this story, that is what he should have done. This is why Herzog is the master of the documentary, and this is also why "Grizzly Man" was so disturbing and effective. He would use actual footage, and run with it, not inserting his own ego or pretentious direction in every single frame. The high rating for "Zoo" is not based on how the film is made, but what the film is about. This is interesting to pay attention to the subject matter, but in the end a conversation about it would probably be more interesting than the film itself. "Zoo' is not very well made at all, and even the name Robinson Devor makes me think of some kind of private school know it all, or some stuck up film student. That is probably one of the most biased and unfit things I have ever said, but I thought it was somewhat humorous.
One thing that I was a bit happy with in "Zoo" was the fact that it doesn't exactly set blame to the men. Instead it tells the story and lets the viewer decide if it was right or wrong. I found it clearly wrong-there is no way to determine if a horse decided to also have sex with a human-but Devor never actually says "You did wrong! You are sick!" It is up to the viewer to choose. This is a technique that was used in "Grizzly Man" as well, and it really does make for more interesting thought and conversation with your mind isn't drilled with the opinions of the director. I can't exactly recommend "Zoo," but for more information on these zoophiles this is really the only thing you could resort to. I only wish it was in better hands.