Part four of our Fantasia Festival 2013 recap takes a look at three brand-new horror titles. Here’s the cat, robot, and gorgon with more details:
Director: Adam Wingard
Screenplay: Simon Barrett
Cast: Sharni Vinson, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Barbara Crampton, Ti West, Amy Seimetz
Vagabond Spacecat: You’re Next was one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen as of late.
MyzMyth: There’s been a lot of hype for this film, and I wasn’t too sure we needed another home invasion movie… but I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked this one!
Demonobototron6066: From the creepy masks, to the multitude of gore, to the kick ass performance of Sharni Vinson, this film had a lot to like. And Barbara FRIGGIN’ Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR, CHOPPING MALL, FROM BEYOND) is in it!
Spacecat: And fellow horror director Ti West also makes a cameo!
MyzMyth: The cast is good. But what’s really great is how they tweaked and twisted the traditional home invasion horror story. The basic plot is simple. A wealthy family is having a reunion to celebrate their wedding anniversary when three invaders wearing animal masks break in wielding axes, machetes, and crowssbows.
DBT6066: A lamb, a tiger, and a fox to be more specific. And they’re the creepy expressionless masks you’d find in any costume shop or weird parties.
Spacecat: I liked the tiger one, but I am biased…
MyzMyth: The invaders then proceed to hunt the family members down and none of them are really sure why.
DBT6066: There’s really no time to figure out what’s going on because almost immediately insane bloody carnage is going on.
MyzMyth: Did we mention this one’s gory? This film has some of the sickest kills I’ve seen… and I fought hoards of monsters in ancient Greece!
Spacecat: Uh… right. But we’re leaving out one of the most important things that make this film stand out. This film isn’t about a group of helpless and hapless rich folk fending for their lives. Well, sure, there’s that, but also there’s also Erin, the Australian girlfriend of one of the rich kids.
MyzMyth: Played by the aforementioned Sharni Vinson. And she really does kick ass!
DBT6066: See, it turns out that Erin grew up on a survivalist community, meaning she was taught at an early age how to fend for herself in the event of any approaching hostility.
Spacecat: So what happens is Erin must help the rest of the family survive this creepy onslaught. The hunted becomes the hunter.
MyzMyth: Classic trope, but so effective in this film.
DBT6066: And it was comforting to not see another damsel in distress type movie. Erin really gives these animal masked attackers a good fight.
Spacecat: How cool was it when that awesome vintage synth soundtrack kicked in?
MyzMyth: Yes, it was perfect because this film really did feel like one of those 70s/80s horror flicks, but with a cool modern twist.
DBT6066: And of course there are twists and turns and exciting and suspenseful moments.
Spacecat: I read someone claim this film to be really slow at times. I didn’t find any slow moments at all. Everything was perfectly paced. Especially the crucial final act, which I’ve seen many films suffer from lack of depth… but this film had no problem keeping it interesting and kicking in the adrenaline.
MyzMyth: This film was tense. And very brutal! Loved it!
DBT6066: Between the soundtrack and a few Italian Giallo elements, it really felt like they asked Dario Argento was asked to direct a 70s exploitation version of Home Alone with a kickass female lead. I highly recommend this one.
Spacecat: It comes out this week on August 23rd. Watch for it.
PINUP DOLLS ON ICE
Director: Geoff Klein, Melissa Mira
Screenplay: Michael Penning
Cast: Karine Kerr, Suzi Lorraine, William Jarand, Kyla Shinkewski, Melissa Mira
DBT6066: So I wheeled myself into this screening room and plopped down in my robot chair without knowing very much about this film. I then found out this was a Canadian production. I won’t lie. I got a little worried. I’ve seen some great local stuff… but I’ve also seen a lot of not so great local stuff. Would a slasher flick filmed in Lancaster, Ontario billed to be in the same vein of FRIDAY THE 13TH work? Would it be entertaining? Yeah. It actually is.
Spacecat: The great thing about this flick is the filmmakers obviously cared about this film looking good. That’s the first thing you’ll notice about this film. It looks really slick.
MyzMyth: They filmmakers, who attended the sold out World Premiere at Fantasia, mentioned that it was really important for this film to look just as good as a Hollywood film. It needed to be able to compete with that same level of quality for it to be taken seriously. And I’ll actually go as far as saying that this film, while significantly lower in budget than even the cheapest of Hollywood slasher productions, is far more impressive in both look and quality. It really harkens back to the classics.
Spacecat: Even the sound design and score is great. It’s a great looking AND sounding film.
DBT6066: But let’s not bore you with production values– what’s the story like? A cabaret burlesque troupe are chased by a grunting, necrophiliac. madman named Moe. And all this takes place in and around a pub on an empty campground.
MyzMyth: It’s a slasher film, what do you want?
Spacecat: And there are other elements, too, of course. There’s comic relief and oddball characters. And a weird and creepy backstory to Moe.
MyzMyth: Soooo creepy.
DBT6066: AND SO MUCH GORE. MEAT-GRINDERS AND VARIOUS OTHER DESTRUCTIVE KITCHEN ELEMENTS! AND OUTDOOR TOOLS!
Spacecat Really well done practical effects and gore. Oh, and some typical T&A, of course.
MyzMyth: It’s pretty much a love letter to 80s slasher flicks. A very well done love letter.
DBT6066: Yes. This film has a lot of heart. More or less the entire cast and crew were in attendance, and you can really see the love they had for this production.
MyzMyth: It’s worth pointing out this is a sequel to 2009’s BIKINI GIRLS ON ICE, which I haven’t seen, but apparently a major complaint of was the lack of gore and nudity, perhaps staples of this genre… to which the filmmakers responded in full force by having the opening scene in this film be a full on T&A bloodbath.
DBT6066: As a certified horror junkie, I have to say that PINUP DOLLS ON ICE passes with flying colours. It’s not high art by any means, but it’s not trying to be. What it set out to do was be a thrilling slasher flick and it absolutely succeeds. It has the jump scares and the gore, without being ridiculously over the top. Just the right amount. And some really inventive kills, too.
Spacecat: I was freaked out a few times and yelling at the screen.
MyzMyth: Yeah, you would be…
Spacecay: Ahem… Another thing I loved is that the characters are likeable. You’re actually rooting for them to get to safety. A lot of times the characters in this films are so one-dimensional that you really don’t care what happens to them. Here you actually do care.
MyzMyth: Great fighting choreography, too. And these girls can put up a fight. Which is a tough thing to do when you’re all dolled up and wearing stilettos. And did we mention Moe is really freaky? Because he is. He’s really freaky.
Spacecat: You mentioned…
DBT6066: The key here is this is a fun film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It looks and sounds great and it does what it sought out to do. It entertains! You leave the film wanting to see more, which is great because there’s another one in the works soon. And seeing what a great job they did with this one, I’ll be there in line without the slightest hint of worry.
Director: Cody Calahan
Screenplay: Chad Archibald, Cody Calahan
Cast: Michelle Mylett, Cody Thompson, Adam Christie
MyzMyth: This film, much in the same vein as George Romero’s THE CRAZIES, involves a strange disease that makes people hallucinate, go crazy, and turn murderous. It’s a delightful horror thriller, and it, too, is a Canadian production.
Spacecat: The film opens up with our lead character being dumped via Video Chat. Ouch. She soon goes to a New Year’s Eve party where she makes some new friends who soon find out about this murderous disease that’s spreading worldwide. Everyone seems to be infected… but no one seems to know why.
DBT6066: DUN. DUN. DUN.
Spacecat: And it’s quite clever and innovative too. Since the ensemble is under lockdown and barricade themselves in the house, you know, due to murderous crazy people outside, much of the film revolves around the characters trying to figure out what’s going on via interactions with social media, viral videos, and watching news reports on television.
MyzMyth: Probably the freshest use of this is during a montage sequence early in the film. The characters and their social media profile pages are prominently featured. It’s a very smart way of giving the audience a quickie introduction to all their character traits and quirks.
DBT6066: And it’s also the filmmakers way of further expanding upon RedRoom, the Facebook within this film’s universe, which plays a very crucial role in this film.
Spacecat: And like every film where people are trapped in a house… things soon go wrong. Oh, how they go wrong in this house… Friends soon fight among friends. Accusations fly. Paranoia. Infection. Hysteria.
MyzMyth: Don’t forget gore.
Spacecat: And a lot of gore. Including a really unique death involving Christmas Lights.
DBT6066: That one was sooo friggin’ Argento.
MyzMyth: Didn’t you say that about the last film?
DBT6066: I CAN’T HELP IT THAT HE’S INFLUENTIAL.
MyzMyth: There’s some great scares, too. Weird slimy gross tentacle stuff seems to occur during infection.And once infected with THE SICKNESS, they see weird ghostly stuff when they hallucinate.
DBT6066: And those infected with the sickness seem to be linked up and have this hive mind thing going on.
MyzMyth: Was that a spoiler?
DBT6066: Sorta? There’s still more surprises, trust me. Point is, it’s really freaky.
Spacecat: So, you have thrills. You have surprises. You have action. You have gore. You have zombie drama without the zombies. You have a great industrial-rock inspired soundtrack. You have great moments in character growth…
MyzMyth: You also have definite moments of WTF…
DBT6066: And you have a really clever revelation about the cause of all of this. Brilliant blurring of reality and possibility with a good dose of social commentary.
MyzMyth: Ignore the armchair academic film studies prof routine, it’s a cool twist and works well in the context of the film.
Spacecat: And you have a possible promise of a sequel with a great last minute plot development.
MyzMyth: There’s so many more cool things about this film that we simply can’t talk about without spoiling some really crucial scenes. But trust us, this film is awesome.
DBT6066: I so want to spoil! it’s that good… But I will add that there’s also some good old fashioned ass-kicking.
Spacecat: Really great fight scenes in this one between those infected with the sickness and those not infected. Leads to a tense and really gory final act.
DBT6066: In short, it’s a lot of fun and a rather clever horror flick for the social media age. This is another example of going in to a film and not knowing what to expect and thoroughly enjoying it. Something for everyone in this one.
END OF PART FOUR