The Furies (DIR. Tony D’Aquino)
So, there are these seven women and seven monsters. The women are tasked with staying alive, while the monsters attempt to kill them. This plot could either be attached to a self-aware bit of amazing cinematic trash, or it could take itself too seriously and fail. Tony D’Aquino’s The Furies falls firmly into the latter category.
Epileptic Kayla (Airlie Dodds) wakes up in a coffin in the middle of the Australian outback. She’s unsure of where she is, how she got there, and she certainly can’t identity the masked man trying to murder her. Along the way, she meets the other women who are being hunted. Then, the gore-show begins.
This film’s greatest strength, and what could have very easily gone hand-in-hand with a tongue-in-cheek sensibility, is the over-the-top and often physics-defying gore. The visuals give The Furies some much needed colour – both literally and figuratively. In addition to the other effects utilized towards the seven masked killers, this seems like a recipe for success.
Unfortunately, the sudden loss of plot in the illogical third act along with a nonsensical twist are glaring distractions from the film’s bloody showcase. The acting is inadequate as well, including Linda Ngo’s performance which may, in fact, make movie goers root for the villains.
Mutant Blast (DIR. Fernando Alle)
The phrase “this movie doesn’t make any sense” is usually a criticism, but films made and distributed by Troma Entertainment are not usual. Troma very specifically deals in nonsense, and Mutant Blast certainly fits that designation, with one important difference: despite all of its schlocky, low-budget glory, it looks like some care went into its creation.
Fernando Alle’s film tells the story of a government experiment which leads to individuals finding their way into the streets shortly before a nuclear bomb starts turning people and other creatures into mutants. Meanwhile, a murderous genetically created superhuman is sent to find another less murderous genetically created superhuman. Does this movie make any sense? Of course not. Again, it’s Troma. Is it, however, endlessly entertaining? Of course. Again, it’s Troma.
As you have surely ascertained, Mutant Blast’s selling point is not its acting, or cinematography, or creative storytelling. Instead, its selling point is the holy trinity of creatures, gore, and humour. Characters are frequently slaughtered, with quite a bit of head-stomping thrown in the mix. Also included: killer rats, people with extra ears, and a giant Francophone lobster. Explaining the film in full detail is tough because it’s full of weird surprises that shouldn’t be spoiled. These surprises, lovingly crafted by Alle, definitely benefit the comedy.
If you’re looking for a masterpiece of “elevated horror”, look elsewhere. If you want to turn your brain off for 90 minutes and watch some fun schlock, Mutant Blast is *exactly* what you’re looking for.
For more information on the festival, visit the official Toronto After Dark website.
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