This critic sometimes finds it impossible to believe the sort of films that premiere at film festivals. As I have warned you before, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival is particularly guilty of this cinematic crime when it comes to their world premieres. I would love to be proven wrong, but the streak continues.
The latest film in this “proud” lineage is Justin Decloux’s latest homegrown feature Impossible Horror, a film about two young women, a filmmaker whose earlier quirky works fill a quarter of the screen time and someone with an unknown grudge, who go out searching for a mysterious scream. Along the way, they meet demons and strange apparitions and gross things on the ground, all while being very quirky and self-aware. The filmmaker character decides to make a found-footage film of their expedition, with the old Faces of Death, get-that-camera-out-of-the-way trope intact.
This is the sort of film that could only get into a festival by virtue of the fact that one of the programmers has a cameo in it (and it does). Clocking in at only 75 minutes long, it was the longest 75 minutes I’ve recently endured. After watching an hour of so-random short films on a television screen, for example, I was shocked to find out that it had only been ten minutes.
Impossible Horror is commendable to some degree, in the sense that the shoot was clearly a fun one and the people who worked on it are clearly cinephiles. But, this is the sort of film that a few close friends would make and watch in private, laughing at their performances and enjoying the nostalgia; not something that would be shown to a crowd at a film festival. The soundtrack does need to be applauded, however, as it made a slogging feature that much less insufferable – it just would have been better served over a stronger film. This critic finds it difficult to imagine that anyone who was not involved with this film will enjoy it, therefore I can’t recommend it to anyone.
On a final note, in a year with a severe diversity problem, with no features directed by women, it would be easier to believe that such films simply didn’t make it into the lineup, but it’s difficult when a film like this is given a premiere slot.
Impossible Horror screens at Toronto After Dark on Monday, October 16 at 9:30 pm at Scotiabank Theatre.
For more information on the festival, visit the official Toronto After Dark website.
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