The Vast of Night Review

Certain decades have their own tangible fears. The 1950s possessed a culture of fear that has been explored repeatedly throughout the horror and sci-fi genres. Cold war fears were heavily centered around an aversion to the other, technology, nuclear war, and aliens. There’s a singular simplicity in film and television that captures the emotional impact of these anxieties, allowing filmmakers to enhance metaphors through style, dialogue, and setting as opposed to overt displays of violence and nightmarish imagery. Director Andrew Patterson’s feature debut The Vast of Night at Fantastic Fest 2019 applies all of the conventional trepidation of the time period, while delivering a film with concise and unorthodox storytelling along with subtle suspense rooted in sci-fi. Read More »

Deerskin review

Have you ever loved a jacket? I mean really loved a jacket? Ruined your life for a coat? Destroyed your marriage and your finances for cool-looking cool-weather clothing? Have the fringes on your outfit caused you to live a fringe existence, evaporating your sanity, and driving you to a rampage? And was your outfit made out of Deerskin?

Director Quentin Dupieux’s new film will certainly speak to anyone with a dash of fashionphilia, or even a simple desire to rid the world out of outerwear. It’s a completely bonkers exercise in lunacy and cold, calculated obsession, all revolving around a really groovy suede outfit. Read More »

Fantastic Fest Day Two Recap

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest 2019, day two. In this entry, Reflections of Evil is one of the most insane movies ever made, The Death of Dick Long is a surprisingly tender movie about idiots, and Color Out of Space is the wild H.P. Lovecraft movie we’ve been waiting for.

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Tammy and the T-Rex Review

Tammy And The T-Rex is a tale as old as prehistoric time. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl’s punk ex-boyfriend kidnaps her new crush and leaves him to be mauled by lions in a wildlife park. Wounded boy is stolen by a crazed genius, has his brain removed, then implanted into an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex. Boy, now a Jurassic Park prop, goes on a deadly rampage in order to win back his lover and reclaim a new body. Shakespear meets Mary Shelley meets 90s slapstick comedy.

Stewart Raffill, what have you done. Read More »

in the tall grass review

Just how scary can grass be? Ask Stephen King and Joe Hill, who crafted an immensely disturbing tale of terror called In the Tall Grass. Then ask director Vincenzo Natali, who has taken King and Hill’s story and worked it into an off-the-wall crazy adaptation that mostly captures the madness of the story…but not quite. Just when you think Natali will fully embrace the shocking twists of the source material, the filmmaker takes the easy way out, resulting in something that’s both horrifying but also oddly muted.

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4x4 Fantastic Fest Review

Mariano Cohn’s 4×4, which sadly is not a lumberjacked themed slasher, brings fresh conceptualization to the single-setting thriller format. Those suffering from “Amaxophobia,” peel off in the opposite direction. Ever get stuck in highway traffic, roasting on the interstate with no air conditioning and mounting frustrations? Cohn constructs a far scarier transportation lock-in scenario where moral quandaries rev all the right engines. Maximum tension without burning any rubber. Read More »

the golden glove review

Fatih Akin‘s The Golden Glove is the rawest, most real, and most brutal serial killer movie since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Unflinchingly gruesome, and covered in a thick layer of grime, Akin’s film tells the true story of Fritz Honka, a murderer who stalked 1970s Hamburg, preying on the weak, the old, and the destitute. Honka was able to easily navigate amongst the downtrodden because he was one of them himself – a physically unappealing loner with a serious drinking problem. The Golden Glove has seemingly taken Honka’s inner and outer ugliness and projected it large on the screen. Buried under gruesome makeup, actor Jonas Dassler transforms into Honka, creating one of cinema’s most repulsive-yet-fascinating characters.

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Hope review

Scandinavians know how to draw out operatic misery from quotidian life, and Hope, filmmaker Maria Sødahl’s masterful take on a couple in crisis, illustrates just how effective delving into the misery of brokenness can be. Read More »

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest 2019, day one. In this entry, Guns Akimbo is Scott Pilgrim for assholes, First Love is the best Takashi Miike film in years, and Sweetheart is a thrilling creature feature.

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night has come review

If Terrence Malick and Franz Kafka decided to get married, and then adopted an old wooden crate full of reels of stock footage as their baby, that offspring would look something like Night Has Come. Director Peter Van Goethem has cut together a plethora of Royal Belgian Film Archive stock footage to tell the story of a dystopian society plagued with a memory-erasing virus. Making use of overly poetic, often vague narration, Night Has Come unfolds like a memory of a fever dream, burning its way through your brain as you drift in and out of consciousness.

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