FANTASIA FESTIVAL 2013 RECAP – PART SEVEN: BIG BAD WOLVES, WILLOW CREEK, and BAD MILO
Wrapping up the Fantasia coverage, our crack team of magical film geeks tackle 3 films that blur the genre lines. Ranging from Israel’s dark and brutal BIG BAD WOLVES, Bobcat Goldthwait’s creepy WILLOW CREEK, and BAD MILO, a film about a loveable but murderous ass polyp…
BIG BAD WOLVES
Director: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
Screenplay: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Tzachi Grad, Rotem Keinan, Dov Glickman, Menashe Noy, Dvir Benedek
Vagabond Spacecat: A suspected child killer is being interrogated by a tough cop on the whereabouts of a missing child. And by that, I mean beat down in the roughest manner possible. The suspect flat-out denies any knowledge or involvement and seems perplexed more than anything. And so, with no evidence or concrete proof, the suspect has to walk.
Demonobototron6066: The child then turns up dead and beheaded. The cop, thrown off the force for being rough, decides to go back and interrogate the suspect for some answers.
MyzMyth: But he’s also being tailed by the dead child’s father, an ex-member of the Israeli army, who plays a whole lot rougher.
Spacecat: By the way, this film is a comedy.
DBT6066: Big Bad Wolves is a hell of a film. And no, Spacecat wasn’t kidding. This film is a comedy. It’s also a great crime film. But it’s best described as hilarious dark comedy full of tense scenes, some gore and some awesome, awesome dialogue.
MyzMyth: It’s a very tough task to make a film with as serious a plot as this and still be able to make it funny. Keshales and Papushado completely succeed in probably one of the best genre-bending films of the year.
Spacecat: The humour comes out of a weird place. Specifically when the cop and victim’s father clash. He soon learns that his methods of interrogation are nothing compared to the lengths the father will go.
DBT6066: This film was nuts.
MyzMyth: And the great thing about this film is we know as much info as the cops and vengeful father do. You cheer them on… but there’s always a sense of doubt.
Spacecat: Incredible performances by this cast. You feel the emotion. You feel the rage. You feel the empathy. You find yourself, along with the characters, questioning… is this the way they should be doing it?
DBT6066: It brings forth a lot of interesting ethical questions and dilemmas… and it does this while still being funny.
MyzMyth: And there’s the great mystery about whether this guy is guilty.
Spacecat: There’s a lot of gross turn your head away moments.
DBT6066: That’s because you’re a wuss.
Spacecat: No, but the violent torture scenes were really well done and everything from the look to the sound of fingers being smashed really have a great impact.
MyzMyth: And you’re a wuss.
Spacecat: Most of the film takes place in this soundproof basement, but there’s a lot of great secondary characters that they still manage to introduce, playing with popular tropes and perceptions.
DBT6066: Great scene where the father’s parents call in the middle of an interrogation… and like everything in this film, it pays off.
Spacecat: Incredible structure to this film. It’s perfectly paced and there are no slow moments.
MyzMyth: And it just builds and builds.
DBT6066: WELDING TORCH!
Spacecat: And yes, the gore. It’s funny, at times demented, but it’s also one of the best films this year and will no doubt be remade in the United States like every other international cult film these days…
DBT6066: But it really shouldn’t be remade, because the chemistry and cast of this film, not to mention the crew, and the fact you’re definitely going to lose something if this film is not set in Israel. I’m all for great remakes, but this film is so pitch perfect, let’s just leave it alone. Let it grow. Spread the word. This is a masterpiece in filmmaking. It’s right up there with classic Coen Brothers.
Spacecat: The filmmakers were thrilled with the audience reaction at Fantasia and were generally stoked about this release. And they should be. This film is quality through and through.
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Screenplay: Bobcat Goldthwait
Cast: Bryce Johnson, Alexie Gilmore
DBT6066: WILLOW’S CREEK, directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, is BLAIR WITCH done right.
Spacecat: What was wrong with BLAIR WITCH?
DBT6066: Confession time. I did not like the Blair Witch Project very much.
MyzMyth: He’s been saying this for 15 years now!
DBT6066: I liked the idea, but it was either too hyped for my robot circuits or something. Maybe had I seen it right away I would have dug it. Either way, it’s hugely influential, especially today when every other film is a found footage film.
Spacecat: PARANORMAL ACTVITY 22: PARANORMAL BOOGALOO!
MyzMyth: Let’s not mislead the reader, this film was glorious! And weird!
DBT6066: Yeah, this is a well made found footage film. It’s got the right moments of creepy and weird and the final act was a lot more tense than anything in Blair Witch.
Spacecat: Such a long scene too, but it totally works! Great pacing!
MyzMyth: No one reading this cares about shots or pacing…
DBT6066: Okay, so basically, this guy is obsessed about Bigfoot and wants to visit the location where the famed Bigfoot footage was filmed and decides to record his whole experience and make a documentary about it.
MyzMyth: And his girlfriend tags along for the ride because she thinks it’ll be fun thing to do. She thinks the whole Bigfoot thing is goofy, but sure, why not? I’ve placated my friends’ geeky fixations too! Hell, I have my own.
Spacecat: But they soon find out that this trip is anything but fun… reports of missing people, weird townsfolk, scary Hill People that just want them to leave, shady folk , and plain general oddness all leading up a master class in suspense and tension.
DBT6066: Saying anymore would just ruin the ride. But I will say the final 20 minutes are some of the most tense and freakiest things I’ve seen in a long while.
Spacecat: And he’s pretty freaky, so that means a lot.
MyzMyth: Bobcat Goldthwait, is well known for his standup and film appearances, but his films are whole other level. If you don’t know his other filmwork you’re in for a hell of an experience.
Spacecat: What I like about this film is it’s a perfect example of HOW TO MAKE A GOOD FOUND FOOTAGE FILM. I can’t stress that enough. There’s been some great recent found footage films (like VHS 2, which we talked about in a previously) and there’s been a lot of notsogreat found footage films (which we won’t talk about). And it feels like it’s found footage. Not handheld stuff edited together. It really feels as if you’ve found an abandoned camera, curiosity got the better of you, and you hit play.
Dbt6066: This one has everything you could possibly want. Good acting, likeable characters, intrigue, the feel like you’re actually there–
MyzMyth: And not via shaky cams that give the viewer nausea and epilepsy rather than scares.
Spacecat: And when there is movement… it’s done so damn well.
DBT6066: Did we mention it’s creepy? It’s solo friggin’ creepy. I want to spoil the creepy climax solo friggin’ bad but I can’t possibly do it justice.
MyzMyth: Let’s get back to how it’s shot. Throughout the film the leads take turns filming, and Goldthwait does a great job conveying that. It really does look like two different people are shooting the footage. And that really adds a whole lot to the realism of this.
DBT6066: And a large part of that is because the leads actually WERE filming the scenes.
Spacecat: It’s a small thing, but it really adds a whole lot in the long run. It shows the filmmaker gives a shit. And when he gives a shit, you’re getting a quality product.
DBT6066: But enough on this technical stuff, is it scary? Yes. Especially in the dark. And in a crowded theatre.
MyzMyth: We’re not talking about cheap jump-scares either… we’re talking about, “Holy shit, it’s really dark… what’s going on? is that what I think is going on? Oh, god they’re actually…”
Spacecat: It gets really uncomfortable. Creepy sound design. Creepy atmosphere. Just plain uncomfortable and creepy.
MyzMyth: But this film is really funny at times, too. And a large part of that is because the leads are so likeable and joyful. And let’s face it… it’s a town who’s main draw is the Bigfoot myth. There’s going to be some laughs there. Because bigfoot is kind of goofy.
Spacecat: But all goofy myths have an element of darkness to them… and that’s why they’re sometimes better left unexplored.
MyzMyth: Harry and the Hendersons this is not…
DBT6066: If you want a creepy, suspenseful, take on the Bigfoot Mythos check out WILLOW CREEK.
Director: Jacob Vaughan
Screenplay: Jacob Vaughan, Benjamin Hayes
Cast: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Stephen Root, Patrick Warburton
Spacecat: A guy walks into the doctor’s office. Says he’s stressed and has a pain in his stomach and, uh…
MyzMyth: Ass. He has a pain in his ass. Literally.
Spacecat: Turns out it’s an ass polyp.
DBT6066: But it’s not just any ass polyp. It’s a giant demonic parasite living inside his ass that comes out and kills anyone that’s causing him stress…
Spacecat: And of course, then crawls back inside his ass. Oh, and his name is Milo.
MyzMyth: If you’re not with us so far, you probably won’t like BAD MILO, but if you are, you’re in for a treat.
DBT6066: BAD MILO is a very funny comedy-horror flick that’s very much like a mashup of GREMLINS & OFFICESPACE… but if Gizmo was a murderous ass polyp.
Spacecat: It features a great ensemble of talented comic-actors, such as, KEN MARINO (RENO 911), GILLIAN JACOBS (COMMUNITY), PETER STOMARE (FARGO, LEBOWSKI), STEPHEN ROOT (OFFICESPACE), PATRICK WARBURTON (VENTURE BROS)… and frankly, you would need a roster that talented to deal with this subject matter, because it’s pretty freaking ridiculous.
MyzMyth: And that’s why it works so damn well!
DBT6066: Jacob Vaughan crafted an epic love letter to those 80s creature films, of which there seems to be an infinite list of.
Spacecat: GREMLINS, GHOULIES, SPOOKIES, MUNCHIES, CRITTERS, HOBGOBLINS, etc, etc…
MyzMyth: I’m pretty sure some of those last few names were made up, too…
DBT6066: And while not all of those are classics…
MyzMyth: Or even good…
DBT6066: They do have a sense of charm… and so does this film. That ass polyp is damn charming.
Spacecat: In an age where everything is CGI, it was so refreshing to see practical effects and puppets used to bring Milo to life.
MyzMyth: Is it wrong that I find him adorable? Because he’s adorable. So damn adorable.
Spacecat: How do you not fall in love with that savage ass parasite? You can’t. You just can’t. And he seems so real. And yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but why start apologizing now?
MyzMyth: You feel for the little guy. You really do. He’s got heart.
DBT6066: So, the effects are good. The designs are amazing. The cast is good. The script is funny. It’s got everything you pretty much want in a film about creatures living inside someone’s asshole.
MyzMyth: It’s quite touching too! Underneath it all you got this great story about a father and son relationship… and that’s not even talking about the relationship with the guy and his ass polyp.
Spacecat: So many feels. So. Many. Feels.
DBT6066: If you want a goofy horror-comedy, with old school creature effects –with some feels– and don’t mind the weirdness of a film about a murderous ass polyp…
Spacecat: Can we stress this again? IT’S A FILM ABOUT A MURDEROUS ASS POLYP. WHY AREN’T YOU WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW??!?
DBT6066: In fairness, who didn’t want a murderous ass polyp to deal with a stressful boss? Just me? Hey, I don’t even have an ass…
MyzMyth: Uh, back to the film… It’s really funny, it’s got twists, it’s got turns, it’s exciting, it’s got a bunch of wacky characters, and it’s the perfect film if you just want to watch something good and stupid.
DBT6066: And you really can’t have enough creature films… especially when they’re adorable/murderous and live inside your ass.
And with that we bring an end to our Fantasia Festival coverage. Overall, we think it was one of the best ones yet, but that’s something I say every year because they’re so good at upping their game. Easily one of the best genre film fests out there right now and I anxiously await the next one. If you’re reading this and regretting missing out any of these films, be a good genre geek and remember to free up your calendar next July/August… And when you do, we’ll see you there!