Writer & Director - Chad Crawford Kinkle
Stars - Katie Groshong, Brandy Edmiston, Larry Fessenden
A prime example of how the verisimilitude of low-budget hand-held aesthetic can enhance the uncanny of the horror genre (so this is what a horror film would feel like in the real world?). With the documentary feel of Katie’s starting work at a care home constantly interrupted by the flashbacks to a horror film and the prevalence of a soundtrack that always reminds you of a perpetual sinister presence and manipulations. Great naturalistic performances – Katie Groshong is great – exceptional sound-design, a plot that you can untangle afterwards makes this haunting and quite bold.
“Director Chad Crawford Kinkle built the film around his sister Stephanie, who has Down Syndrome and stars as one of the film's leads”, says IMDB trivia, and certainly the film thrives with respect for its subjects even as it bubbles and then overflows with genre.
As In Heaven, So On Earth
Come in cielo, così in terra
Writer & Director – Francesco Erba
With: Eva Basteiro-Bertoli, Ania Rizzi Bogdan, Federico Cesari, Philippe Guastella, Margherita Mannino
Combining found footage, animation, interviews, police procedural, gothic mystery, medieval outrages, religious conspiracies … ghosts? Hitmen? Director/writer Erba throws everything in and perhaps bites off more than can be chewed, but it certainly doesn’t lack for ambition and makes for a fascinating curio. The animated puppet Medieval sequences, which take up nearly half of the film (the film took 5 years to complete) are sublime, and the found-footage hand-held perspectives also hit heights. It almost feels like a portmanteau. Although sprawling and verging on the incomprehensible at times, there are perhaps tonal hiccups and perhaps clear answers come a little later than the viewer wants, there are enough jigsaw pieces that slot together and enough ambiguity that remains to fully satisfy. Erbo’s conviction in telling a quite prosaic tale with myriad styles certainly distinguishes this.
Director - Rob Schroeder
Writer - Conor Stechschulte
Stars - Vincent Kartheiser, Chelsea Lopez, Breeda Wool
Definitely one of those films that is best going into knowing nothing,
It starts off like one of those ‘The Gift’ (2015) or ‘Pacific Heights’ scenarios, that kind of thing. A guy (a brilliantly brow-beaten Vincent Kartheiser) seeking help when his car blows a tyre is welcomed by an odd couple… I really had to go to the bathroom at an early point (at home: this was digital) and when I came back it had turned into a different film. Unpredictable and always pulling the rug from under the viewer, it has elements of indie people drama, science-fiction and even conspiracy thriller. It’s a delight to just go along for the ride when you know you will only work it out on a second watch, and even then some points are up for grabs. It could easily lose the threads and become baffling, but Stechschulte’s adaptation of his own graphic novel and Schroeder’s intelligent direction keep the viewer on their toes without losing coherence. Tricky, smart, multi-layered.
Directors -Brad Baruh & Meghan Leon
Writer – Meghan Leon
Stars- AJ Bowen, Sophie Dalah
A ride share driver picks up a wild card young woman and a night of increasing craziness ensues. And for the most part, that’s what you think you’re getting, agreeably, with brilliant performances and interplay between Bowen and Dalah. And then, just when you think you have it figured, things take a left turn and all of a sudden, her obnoxiousness takes on new layers and events take on new shades. Darkly humorous, slick and playful, but one you have to stick with.
Writer & Director - Stefan Lernous
Stars – Tom Vermeir, Ruth Becquart, Anneke Sluiters
This disgusting hotel is full of the deadpan, surrealism and black humour that typifies Roy Andersson, Aki Kaurismaki, Terry Gilliam, Jarmusch without the humour, and something like a Quay bros digression brough to life. Dave plays manager to the dead hotel which is getting a renovation into some kind of failed Lynchian club. It’s the set design, the details, the offbeat dialogue which, the increasingly nightmarish characters and aesthetic that holds the attention rather than a story. This is Dave’s descent into existential hell: everyone else seems to be having a decent time but him. This is a film of the horror of decay and disgust. It’s the sets and the phantasmagorial tricks Lernous pulls to convey Dave’s plotless dilemma that enthrals.