Two more movies last night, as we start the second week of Indiefest with a whole new slate of films.
First up, a new contender for the best of the fest, THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE. Dressed in genre trappings, this is really a psychological story of friendship and trust. Wyatt is mentally ill. He believes shape-shifting monsters have taken over the bodies of people. Even his fiancee is not who she appears to be. So he runs away to New York City and meets up with his old friend Christian. And Christian reacts like a saint (come to think of it, that name doesn't seem like a coincidence.) He takes Wyatt in, plays old childhood games with him, puts his life basically on hold (even though he finally got a date with his hot boss) to try to calm Wyatt down. So it's not too good when Wyatt (Wyatt...Why...it? I don't think that name's a coincidence either) starts suspecting that maybe Christian is infected, too. The movie is shown from Wyatt's perspective, so there are mysterious phone calls and distorted faces that make you question whether it really is an alien-invasion horror film. Which was my favorite thing about the movie--I felt like there was a ~10% chance it might actually turn out to be a horror film, and that mimics the temptation Wyatt must feel about believing his hallucinations. So I struggled with how to present this (and in the Q&A, the filmmakers admitted they struggled, too.) I actually think the best way to see this is to expect a horror film, but be pleasantly surprised at something much smarter and much more interesting. But I'm afraid that the majority of the horror audience would just be disappointed and pissed off by that. So here it is...it is not an alien invasion horror film. Not at all. Unless you want to believe it is, in which case maybe it is, but be prepared for it to not be.
And then we went from my favorite to my least favorite, with YOUNG BODIES HEAL QUICKLY. It starts out promising, with some mostly wordless mindless destruction. Two brothers smash up a car, then fire a bb gun at some girls on ATVs, then the older one gets his ass kicked by the girls. Then the younger one breaks up the fight with a baseball bat to the head of one of the girls. And she's dead. So they go on the run. Check that, they go on the pointless meander, getting away from there but not really doing anything. The constable shows up, identifies the older brother's helmet, but doesn't go off chasing them down. They just...wander. To their sisters house (Kate Lyn Sheil, showing up in Indiefest again. Remember that movie where she looks like she's paying attention to what's going on instead of daydreaming and thinking about something else? Neither do I.*) Then they eventually make it to their dad's place, where he takes them into the woods for his annual war reenactment--the Vietnam war.
Ya know, I'm a big fan of subverting expectations (although it's been done so much that it would almost be more subversive to fill a movie with cliches) but please entertain me while you're doing it. This movie did not do that and did not even try.
*Note: I actually don't think Sheil is a bad actress. I've liked a lot of the movies she's been in, and I actually liked her in the short in this year's festival, HELBERGER IN PARADISE. I just whispered that to my friend during the movie, and she laughed.
Total Running Time: 192 minutes
My Total Minutes: 383,292