Friday, February 13, 2009

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 8

A night of sick and twisted horror movies. Starting with Strange Girls last night, Indiefest has been feeling a lot like Holehead.

First up was the Belgian nasty punk comedy, Ex-Drummer. For the record, Jeff Ross, the founder and director of Indiefest, said this is his favorite film in the festival. I knew he was kinda twisted, but I didn't know he was this sick. Good for you, Jeff!

Anyway, the movie is about a punk band of disabled men. Except they all have really lame disabilities--the lead singer has a lisp, the lead guitarist is hard of hearing, and the bassist has a stiff arm. They just need a drummer, so they turn to a famous author Dries. His disability--he can't drum (never mind that they turned to him because he was recommended as a great drummer). He joins the bad to mine them for ideas, and they name themselves "The Feminists" (because even handicapped men are better than stupid feminist bitches. Yeah, that's the sense of humor here). What follows is a sick and twisted. It delighted me with it's visual gags (the guy walking on the ceiling seems to be an invitation to Trainspotting comparisons, which have been made and totally work). But it might offend you if you're: gay, female, handicapped, Jewish, old, political, punk, a victim of child abuse, a child, well hung, or in any way human. Oh, and it has my new favorite gross slang term for vagina--"exploded rat". And the ending is even better than everything leading up.

And continuing with the horror/comedy theme was Home Movie. David and Clare Poe--a Lutheran minister and his child psychologist wife--move out to the country to enjoy the simple life with their twins, Jack and Emily. The movie's told entirely through their home movies, starting with their Halloween birthday. You gotta watch out for people born on Halloween, they're a little messed up. And sure enough, a game of baseball ends with Jack throwing a rock at his dad; Emily catches a frog that ends up in a vise; etc. Soon enough they're crucifying the family cat and biting kids at school. And there might be more than just bad kids, there are elements of the supernatural. It's a good enough setup. Found footage horror isn't exactly new, and I've seen it done better and worse. The kids are excellent, perfectly cast. But some things just don't feel right. David doesn't seem to be much of a man of God, and Clare doesn't seem to be much of a woman of science. They try to play up that tension, but I find them more convincing in their parental roles than career roles. It's like they decided he was a minister and she was a scientist just to set up that conflict, but that doesn't seem to carry over to the rest of the characters. Moreover, the horror is foreshadowed way too much. I'd overlook that if it had a better ending, but that's where they lost me. They built up the escalating horror all though the movie, and in the end...well, I don't want to give it away, but there wasn't a money shot. I give it an A for concept, C+ for execution (A+'s for the two kids), and D- for the ending.

And that was Thursday at Indiefest. Now time for a long weekend of films.

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