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Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: Shorts After Dark

The biggest strength of Toronto After Dark is, and always has been, the importance given to short films.  Shorts are given their own programs, but they also play before features.  Due to genre cinema’s specific limitations, shorts are both useful as a way to make a name for oneself and as a storytelling medium.  As such, it’s important to look at what is happening in that world.  Let’s take a look at the good, the…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘Contracts’ and ‘Paradise Hills’

Contracts (DIR. Alex Chung) Critics Jean-Luc Comolli and Paul Narboni once suggested that all films were inherently political because, even when a film lacks an overt political bent, its refusal to question the politics of its world is an acceptance of said politics.  This lesson in film theory may sound like it is coming out of nowhere, but it serves a purpose, namely in explaining that Alex Chung’s Contracts—which had its world premiere at Toronto After…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘The Furies’ and ‘Mutant Blast’

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.

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: ‘The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale’ and ‘Witches in the Woods’

The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (DIR. Lee Min-jae) The zombie genre has always managed to survive because zombies, as a monster, are wholly dependent on the zeitgeist of the time.  Since they are brainless creatures, their existence can generally be justified by the anxieties of the time (military industrial complex, consumerism, conformity, racism, etc.).  While that is an advantage to sub-genre, most zombie films follow the same template.  The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale is no…

Reviews

Harpoon

The intersection of comedy and thriller do not often mix well, especially in survivalist narratives.  But Harpoon, even with its familiar survivalist tropes on display, evenly balances the two in an intense, frequently unpleasant, but endlessly watchable nightmare-at-sea.

Reviews

Last Call

Last Call pitches itself to audiences with an intriguing gimmick.  Shot in real time, the film’s story is told from two perspectives – using a split-screen technique to divide the pair of one-take shots.  However, Last Call is more than a crafty production with a trick up its sleeve.

Reviews

The Curse of Buckout Road

Myths and urban legends are most effective in horror movies when filmmakers stick with simplicity.  It’s what makes most legendary villains in the genre resonate with audiences.  The Curse of Buckout Road is a film that does the exact opposite, further proving why less is always more.