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Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘Blood Machines’ and ‘Homewrecker’

Blood Machines (DIR. Seth Ickerman) The cinema is a visual and narrative medium, but the narrative is often king.  Way too many films will give up on the visuals to tell a story, leading to slightly stagnant results.  As such, it is sometimes oddly refreshing to get a film which will sacrifice narrative cohesion in order to produce a spectacle of light and sound.  Seth Ickerman is such a filmmaker and Blood Machines, a collaboration between…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘Extra Ordinary’

Ghosts are just ordinary people who have died.  Surely, that means they are all around us, right?  Extra Ordinary starts with this quirky concept and adds satanism, post-domestic abuse, and driving school experience to turn the weirdness up to eleven.  The film’s weirdness isn’t its only trick, however, because Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s film is roaringly funny despite that.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘James vs. His Future Self’ and ‘Making Monsters’

James vs. His Future Self (DIR. Jeremy LaLonde) Jeremy LaLonde’s recent movies have truly owned their genre in a unique way.  The Go-Getters was a gleefully foul play on the traditional buddy formula, and How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town was a charming sex comedy.  With James vs. His Future Self, LaLonde takes a swing at crossing science fiction with a romance – it’s a sweet success.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2018: ‘Extracurricular’, ‘Lifechanger’, ‘Nightmare Cinema’, and ‘You Might Be the Killer’

Extracurricular (DIR. Ray Xue) As the Canadian pop-punk band Sum 41 once sang, “motivation, such an aggravation.”  That seemed to be Ray Xue’s complaint as well when he was directing Extracurricular, which is the only way to explain why anything in this film happened.  Long time readers may recognize the number one rule of TAD: if a film is having its world premiere here, it will be terrible.  This is not a knock against any of…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2018: ‘Prey’ and ‘Robbery’

Prey (DIR. Dick Mass) Sometimes viewers are given the rare pleasure of experiencing a film that, by all intents and purposes, should be awful.  Whether because of its genre’s history or just a general sense of ridiculousness, these films need to be dead on arrival, but sometimes a film is way better than it has any right to be.  Dick Mass’ Prey, a film about a giant man-eating lion causing carnage in the streets of Amsterdam,…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2017: ‘Dead Shack’ and ‘Rabbit’

Dead Shack (DIR. Peter Ricq) Audiences that like their zombies with a healthy side of laughs shouldn’t miss Dead Shack, director Peter Ricq’s dark comedy about three teenagers whose week-long vacation at a cabin in the woods takes a nightmarish turn when they learn that their neighbour in the cabin next-door is feeding unsuspecting young locals to her undead family.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2017: ‘Defective’

Filmmaker Reese Eveneshen seems to be his own worst enemy with his latest project Defective.  On one hand, on a limited budget, he’s developed Toronto into a nameless city living in a convincing dystopia.  The visuals are on par with the works of Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium).  However, Eveneshen’s overwritten screenplay becomes so convoluted, it reaches a point of no return.