Archive for the ‘2014 Fantasy FilmFest’ Category

Among-the-LivingThe opening scene of Aux yeux des vivants (Among the Living), the new French horror film from the makers of Inside and Livid and contributors to the anthology The ABCs of Death 2, is intense. Intense in this case translates to shocking, violent, and graphic. How intense? Even hardcore fans of the macabre may fear that they are in over their heads with this one. If the movie starts with this type of shock, you might ask yourself frightfully in the cool black of a darkened movie theater, what lies in store over the remaining 85 minutes?

(more…)

FaultsFaults, an out of the mainstream effort detailing an attempt to rescue a young woman from a cult, appears to have been made in the 1970’s as an ABC Movie of the Week and kept in a time capsule until its release on the festival circuit in 2014. Take the stray cell phone and the recent automobiles out of the picture, and you have a period piece that is better suited for a time and place that no longer exists.

Kids into cults seems a bit passé. The hippie phenomena of the 60’s spilled over into the communes of the 70’s, and parents saw their children play out the ageless act of rebellion first through drugs and then through philosophies; in either case, it meant the young leaving the old behind. While cults remain a phenomenon, they generally break into the mainstream press now only through apocalyptic predictions or tragic acts of self-destruction. (more…)

BTW2The would-be teen noir thriller Bad Turn Worse was shown under the even more awkward title We Gotta Get Out of This Place at the 2014 Fantasy Filmfest. The new name is an improvement in that it is both more concise and a more accurate summation of the plot trajectory of this underwhelming little movie. For all its faults, Bad Turn Worse can now boast of truth in advertising as this movie starts out bad and, oh yeah, turns worse. A traditional premise that could have made for reasonable entertainment is undone by poor casting and a weak script.

(more…)

These Final HoursAs we await the reboot of the franchise with the May 2015 release of Mad Max: Fury Road, director/screenwriter Zak Hilditch offers a tantalizing glimpse at what a Mad Max prequel might look like in the early going of his feature, These Final Hours. It’s the end of the world, don’t you know it, but everyone is a hell of a long way from feeling fine. Suicide and homicide have become Australia’s twin national sports with rape, robbery, and pillaging hanging in there as sentimental favorites. Corpses dangle from lampposts, and machete-wielding maniacs carjack passing vehicles to drive them to their next act of retribution. What’s a young Aussie male to do, but run out on his pregnant girlfriend one last time and head for the true party to end all parties, where he can go out in a blaze of tequila, ecstasy, gunfire, and glory? Unfortunately, this promising start in nihilism, hyper-violence, and general bad-assedness is completely undone by the source of ruination of too many genre movies – children. (more…)

in-darkness-we-fallThe only good that could possible come out of widespread viewing of the latest group underground, found footage, schlock horror film known as La cueva or In Darkness We Fall is if audiences united after suffering through it and demanded a moratorium on trapped underground movies or found footage movies or, at a minimum, trapped underground found footage movies. It’s not going to happen, but it is nice to think that every film, not matter how awful, has an opportunity to make a lasting contribution to the arts.

(more…)

the-mule-movieLaws are laws (and the law is paramount in the new Australian black comedy crime flick, The Mule), but unwritten rules can be nearly as important. The applicable unwritten rule here is that one-note genre films should not run longer than 85 or 90 minutes. The Mule clocks in at 103 minutes, and that extra time, devoted almost exclusively to waiting for the main character to have a bowel movement, constipates the narrative. Its excessive length, the most common fault in modern cinema, is the only serious shortcoming in an uncomfortably original film from Down Under that dwells on activities down under. (more…)

Time LapseLegend has it that Leonardo da Vinci slept only two hours per day, resting in periodic snippets of 10 to 30 minutes. This unusual sleep pattern is known as polyphasic sleep or “the sleep of genius.” Da Vinci put these extra waking hours to good use, pursuing his mastery of painting and sculpture, continuing his work as an engineer and inventor, and furthering the knowledge of man in disciplines such as anatomy and mathematics. A journalist once attempted to adopt this habit, and after several weeks was able to get by on less than four hours of sleep per day, but he soon found himself bored and wasted the extra time on television and junk food. The moral of the story is that you need a genius to make the most out of certain opportunities. (more…)