Inspiration may be Jason Armstrong’s first feature-length movie in seven years, but he’s been a consistent storyteller. Just this Summer, Armstrong (along with frequent collaborator Mike Klassen) made 9 Days with Cambria, a moderately successful web series confronting abuse through short stories performed by different actresses portraying the same character.
Engineers (DIR. Tyler Williams) In a worn-down warehouse, three individuals tempt an experiment on a corpse. The result may be not exactly what they intended.
Holy Hell is the latest exercise in “grindhouse appreciation” or “exploitation homage” from a close-knit production crew who undoubtably had fun making an insane, politically incorrect vigilante yarn. The audience, unfortunately, won’t be feeling that same heedless joy.
A murderer whose calling card is a scratched-down horror story; a couple goes trick or treating and it quickly gets out of hand; a family brings home a witch to burn at the stake; a group of gutter punks find an easier way to come by food; a pair of police officers have a shady side business.
Capture Kill Release begins in the middle of a devious plot: young lovers Jenn and Farhang (played by Jennifer Fraser and Farhang Ghajar) are toying with the idea of murdering a random person. Their intentions and motives are deliberately foggy, which makes the film’s fly-on-the-wall experience more unsettling, disturbing, and impossible to look away – this is not for the faint of heart.
Readers from last year may have remembered my disdain for the Canadian short films featured at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. This year, out of a wide array of great shorts preceding each feature, the programming won me back.
The Lure (DIR. Agnieszka Smoczynska) Often, a film that has a convoluted plot is trying to hide the fact that it has nothing else going for it. Thus, it is absolutely understandable if someone were to question whether or not to see a Polish horror-musical about a pair of human-eating mermaid sisters who work in a cabaret show, partially based on the original Hans Christian Andersen version of “The Little Mermaid”. Thankfully, Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure is…
The Master Cleanse (DIR. Bobby Miller) The Master Cleanse is such a small film, it’s easy to see why it would slip under someone’s radar. It’s 79 minutes long, contains a seemingly underdeveloped plot, and the film doesn’t seem to provide much in way of cultural presence. This is why Bobby Miller’s movie was such a pleasant surprise – it was so endearing.
Antibirth (DIR. Danny Perez) Antibirth is the feature film debut of Danny Perez, someone who has – until now – worked exclusively in music videos, and it shows. The film has a chaotic punk rock aesthetic and beautiful imagery, but not much else going for it. Just like a music video, Antibirth is all about getting from one image to the next, only this time with several minutes of dead air between each visual. The film follows Lou (Natasha…
As the Gods Will (DIR. Takashi Miike) Takashi Miike has two modes of filmmaking: a deadly serious style that’s evident in films like Audition, and a goofy, over-the-top style visible in films like Ichi the Killer. In As the Gods Will, it takes the viewer mere minutes to figure out which category Miike’s latest falls into (for me, it was the moment when a student gets decapitated and bleeds red marbles).