Two more movies Thursday night, before the big second weekend. Let's jump right in.
First up was a short and a feature about ghost hunting, in perhaps the first well-matched short/feature combination of the fest. The short, ENTER THE DARK was a very clever and surprising story of a man enlisting the help of his highly skeptical and sarcastic best friend to investigate the odd paranormal happenings in his house. Starts kind of conventional, then has some really good scares, and an excellent surprise ending.
And the the feature, HAUNTED CHANGI from Singapore. Changi hospital is famous as "the most haunted place in the world." First as a British military barracks, then a base for the occupying Japanese in WWII (where unspeakable torture and mass beheadings took place). Finally after the war it was turned into a hospital, but most locals would prefer to let their illness linger than receive treatment among the ghosts there. Well, a group of young, cocky documentary filmmakers decide to make a movie about it, and this is the 'found footage' from their adventure. We see them joking around in their office, reviewing footage, etc. And they get permission to film for one day and one night. Day footage has just a few oddities, but nighttime is when the true creepiness happens. There's a good mix of humor with the horror (the scene with the Ghost Hunters of Singapore is pretty funny). And although the ending is fairly predetermined, they still do a good job of building up to it and keeping surprises coming the whole time. It does suffer a little from the handheld shaky-cam syndrome. Part of the concept, so it's forgivable, but there were some shaky sequences that just dragged on too long (run frantically through more underground corridors, please) and even in the conceit of 'found footage' could've been edited down. But overall, it was still fun and effectively scary.
And then the late show was another wacky Japanes violence comedy from Sushi Typhoon, YAKUZA WEAPON. What can I say? Shozo was already the toughest damn yakuza ever when he returned to Japan to avenge his father's death. No man can defeat him. Women, on the other hand.... Well, after a particularly vicious battle, he gets his missing arm replaced with a machine gun and his knee turned into a rocket launcher. Now he's really ready for revenge, even if he is now government property. And the insanity never really lets up. Old loyalties, a naked lady weapon, and a nuclear finish--all the things I expect Holehead and their Japanese connection to deliver. Awesome!
Total Running Time: 205
My Total Minutes: 238,852