Toronto After Dark 2017: ‘Impossible Horror’

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.

Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Toronto After Dark: @TADFilmFest
Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam

Readers Comments (2)

  1. I feel compelled to comment in defense of this film, which I was an IndieGoGo contributor for. I have been friends with Justin Decloux for a few years now, since I saw and enjoyed his first feature Teddy Bomb at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival.

    This comment is written from the presumption that it only got into Toronto After Dark because of favoritism. Let me point out that even though he makes a cameo in the film, Peter Kuplowski is no longer a full time programmer for Toronto After Dark (since becoming the Midnight Madness programmer) and if you saw his intro for Impossible Horror at the festival, Kuplowshi DIDN’T EVEN SEE the film prior to the premiere. At the end of the day, it is Adam Lopez has final say on all films that get into Toronto After Dark. Admittedly, this year had quite an unusually large number of Canadian films having their world premiere.

    You have every right not to like the film, but don’t you dare undermine the hard work of the filmmakers by saying that it didn’t deserve to have it’s world premiere at Toronto After Dark. I have first hand experience that making a film and getting it into a film festival is a hard and costly process and you should think twice before making accusations.

  2. Thank you for your permission to not like the movie. I appreciate it. Now, allow me to dare: you clearly have a lot of personal connection to this movie and you’re totally allowed to like it, but it was a bad movie! As for the Kuplowsky connection, I’m not saying that he chose it: He seems like a perfectly fine, ethical person and I don’t think he went out of his way to ensure this plays, but as a fellow programmer, I know the urge to play the works of friends and you can’t tell me that Lopez, another great guy, wouldn’t be compelled to play the work of a friend. Finally, this movie totally deserved to world premiere at after dark but I don’t mean that as a compliment!


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