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Toronto After Dark

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2021: ‘Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break’

By: Trevor Chartrand Director Nick Gillespie’s Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is a hilarious dark comedy that combines 2019’s Joker with 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite – featuring an inept dancing social outcast who plots vigilante justice.  The titular Paul Dood (Tom Meeten) is a troubled man-baby who, despite living with his mother, has aspirations of achieving fame.  On his way to an important career-making audition, Paul is delayed by a series of rude and apathetic citizens,…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2021: ‘Alien on Stage’

Directed by Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer, Alien on Stage is an unexpectedly heartwarming documentary about an amateur theatre group comprised of Dorset bus drivers who set out to produce a stage adaptation of Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi/horror Alien.  Though their initial adaptation is serious, they are given the opportunity to take their show to London’s West End as a comedy.

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: ‘Enhanced’, ‘Werewolf’ and ‘The Wretched’

Enhanced (DIR. James Mark) The idea of a low budget superhero film is an undeniably commendable one.  Superheroes are incredibly generic, and there is nothing that necessitates the bloated budgets that they tend to cost, so the idea of telling those stories with less waste should be celebrated.  Unfortunately, the films that come out of this practice tend to be underwhelming.  Case in point: James Mark’s Enhanced.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘8’, ‘The Assent’ and ‘The Mortuary Collection’

8 (DIR. Harold Holscher) Horror can be found just about anywhere, however not all horror is equal.  This is why films that incorporate real-life horrors must be particularly aware of how they incorporate the various elements.  Former TAD presentation Under the Shadow is a great example of how to do this correctly.  But, this is why Harold Holscher’s 8 is so conflicting.  It doesn’t really have much to say about its source events, creating a final product…

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: A One-On-One with Precious Chong

At this year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival (which is currently in full swing at the city’s Scotiabank Theatre), you won’t be able to shake Precious Chong’s wild performance in Zach Gayne’s Homewrecker.  As Linda, Chong channels mousey and maniacal characteristics after she haphazardly kidnaps a new “friend” Michelle (Starry Eyes’ Alex Essoe).  Chong is funny, but she’s careful not to exploit the character;  allowing Essoe’s character to show empathy towards Linda under nerve-racking circumstances.

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…