If you’ve seen The Road or Season Four of The Walking Dead, you’ve seen more artfully realized versions of the film Refuge. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.
Andrew Robertson’s film peeks into the lives of some of the survivors of a bacterial plague that has wiped out much of humanity. Unfortunately, we find this out in a post-credits montage that is reminiscent of 28 Days Later or The Bay but not as clever. In fact, we’ve all seen so many zombie/post-apocalypse movies at this point it would have been more compelling to just show that kind of footage without explaining what actually happened. It would have given the movie a much-needed bit of creepy mystery.
Why Horror? is for every person who’s been mocked for loving everything encompassed within horror film fandom. Horror writer and hardcore fan Tal Zimerman is the subject of this documentary from Nicholas Kleiman and Rob Lindsay that explores why people are drawn to one of the more maligned, misunderstood genres in popular culture.
Most of the movies screened at the Knoxville Horror Film Fest are now available for either VOD rental or disc purchase. They weren’t at the time, though; technology moves quickly, and so does consumable product. Here’s a quick rundown of what was shown, with a humbly presented opinion on each.
The ABCs of Death was a worthy, if not always satisfying, exercise in horror anthologies (review). In some ways, it’s more ambitious than the V/H/S series; trying to fit in 26 films by 26 directors is a challenge, especially when the only common theme is death. While I quite liked the first installment, I think The ABCs of Death 2 is in many ways a better film.
By Jeffery X Martin
Photos by Hannah Martin
There are two different stories in horror: internal and external. In external horror films, the evil comes from the outside, the other tribe, this thing in the darkness that we don’t understand. Internal is the human heart.
They stare at us as they leave, that smug crowd of assholes leaving the theater. Art movie snobs, still dabbing away tears caused by The Hundred-Foot Journey, the white guy with the neckbeard talking out of the side of his mouth to his Asian-American girlfriend about how he is so far above the real message of Dear White People that he didn’t actually like the movie, but it’s OK.
By Siân Melton
Real talk: time travel hurts my brain. Sometimes I sit and wonder about the logistics of it all. If I travel back in time, is there still a Present Me or did Present Me vanish? If the latter, what happens in present time without me there? And how can I, instead of Chuck Berry, end up responsible for the discovery of rock and roll music? I think that’s why I hesitate before seeing a time travel movie. Sometimes I can enjoy the story and time-travely-ness (very official) and not get too distracted by it and other time’s I’m all, WHOA, WHOA, WHOA.
By Siân Melton
There’s no better signifier of a great movie than being more than willing to see it twice. That was the case with my love affair with Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. Sigh. Seriously, I have so much love for this movie. I saw it at Sundance and was so blown away by well, everything: the story, the cinematography, the music (the music!!), and of course Kumiko herself, played by the ravishing Rinko Kikuchi. There’s also a bunny, but I’ll get into that later.
Even though I’ve never seen Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes, I’d heard enough good things about it to interest me in Open Windows. The premise was intriguing on its own: the story of an actress, a murderous stalker, and an unwitting voyeur all told through computer screens. The cast was also a draw: Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey. Unfortunately, Open Windows is a huge disappointment.
If, like me, your knowledge of New Zealand cinema is limited to Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi, then Housebound will both delight and surprise you. I went into Housebound with zero knowledge of the plot, but you should know that it’s essentially a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a red herring. Just when you think you’ve figured out what kind of movie it’s going to be, it turns into something else. Rather than being confusing, it makes the movie that much more fun to watch.