Vietnam (and much of Southeast Asia) is littered with KFC restaurants. Colonel Sanders’ beaming face is nearly omnipresent in major Vietnamese cities, which makes it a fitting hook for a Vietnamese horror film, especially one as disorientingly crazy as KFC.
The film opens with two separate text warnings that this is not based on a truly story, seemingly to assure audiences that nothing this depraved has ever actually taken place. That sets the tone for a film that in its minuscule 68-minutes running time manages to cram in numerous scenes of necrophilia, torture, cannibalism, murder, and the thankfully unnamed act of feeding human flesh to a dog.
KFC washes over as a series of brutal scenes, often with no cohesive narrative structure tying them together. The main character drives around an ambulance looking to run people over so he can perform all sort of heinous acts on them following their death. There is also something about a brutal street gang, and the unsupervised children who spend their days in KFC, becoming obese on the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices.
So what does all this have to do with the actual KFC chain? Apart from a few scenes of characters eating there (which I can’t imagine the mega corporation would have ever approved) not too much. There is an argument to be made that the film is drawing a correlation between the insidious nature of American capitalism and fast food and its unpredictable effects on the Vietnamese culture and population, which would at least imbue the revolting scenes here with some point, apart from sheer shock value.
What’s more likely is that the ever-present fried chicken in the film is simply the banal backdrop against which a series of horrific incidents occur, seemingly without reason. We don’t see many horror films from Vietnam, so KFC at least works as a bit of a stomach-churning oddity, even though it never manages to make one iota of sense.
KFC screens Monday, October 9 and Tuesday, October 10 as part of the FNC film festival. For tickets and the complete schedule visit nouveaucinema.ca.