Frightfest 2013 Tweet Review Roundup

Julia Garner in We Are What We Are (2013)
Julia Garner in We Are What We Are (2013)

100 BLOODY ACRES (C+/B-) Aus appropriation of Motel Hell post-hillbilly sensibility. Low key, & likeably character driven rather than outright farce

THE BANSHEE CHAPTER (C+) Telegraphed scares, but enjoyably pulpy feel, and verite (rather than found footage) aesthetic well suited

BIG BAD WOLVES (B+) Tight, comic chamber piece, propelled by ambiguity & delicious irony. Superbly constructed, realised & performed

CHEAP THRILLS (B+) Contrived setup, real moral truths. Nice After Hours-y single-night out of control spiral, farce rooted in empty-glass pessimism

THE CONSPIRACY (C+) Mock-doc stylings intriguingly blur formal edges between reality & fiction, though at times too much of a storytelling constraint

CURSE OF CHUCKY (C+) Modest aims, partially achieved: frequently amusing, likeably knowing, if never greatly suspenseful

DARK TOUCH (C-/D+) Good ideas & occasionally striking compositions drowned beneath clunky dialogue & bungled supernatural scenes

DARK TOURIST (C+/B-) Somnambulance + unpleasantness a heady brew, but noir stylings & invocation of God’s Lonely Man feel heavy-handed

THE DEAD 2: INDIA (F) Earnestness of predecessor replaced w/ dull sentiment; clichéd script, off-the-peg characters, wobbly performances

DEMENTAMANIA (D+) Sub-Fight Club yuppie psychosis lifted by Bateman-esque fantasy psychopathy, but narration & soapy perfs feel cheap

THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT (D+) Charmless, tonally flat first half, ludicrously scattergun second. Periodically forgets mock doc rules

FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY (C+) Steampunkish alt history concept interesting, story less so. Found footage aesthetic oddly anachronistic

HAMMER OF THE GODS (D+) Mostly looks the part (though underlit≠style); lacks own sense of identity, save for ‘GoT for Nuts readers’

HATCHET III (C-) More of the same (ergo YMWV), tho nice line in self deprecation. Entertaining, but more accomplished -> less interesting?

HAUNTER (B+) Conceit a doozy: teen ennui as in media res Groundhog Day. Shifting sands reveal notes of melancholy & existential revolt

THE HYPNOTIST (D) That’s quite enough portent now thanks, Scandinavia. Dreary pulp procedural flatlines under Hallström hackwork

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 (F) “Your honour, the accused has returned to admit to extra charges of xenophobia & breathtaking ineptitude”

IN FEAR (B-/C+) Rural horror vigorously tense when rooted in ambiguity, suspicion & mistrust, but really drops the ball post-reveal

THE LAST DAYS (C-) Undemanding cookie-cutter apocalypse drama, polished into glossy blandness. Identikit Hollywood remake inevitable

MISSIONARY (F) Flat shorthand emotions give way to dreary, inept psychodrama. Thematic content practically nonexistent. Dreadful

NO ONE LIVES (B-) Low fat slasher-with-a-difference, freshness from dry wit & shifting, ambiguous identification. A genre fan’s delight

ODD THOMAS (C) Slick, colourful & mostly likeable, tho smug in over-eagerness to hit offbeat notes. Not keen on 2D-ness of main female character

R.I.P.D. (D) Yeah, Men in Black-lite, let down by bland action seqs. Bridges playing familiar riffs, but melody still charms. MLP = MVP

V/H/S/2 (C) Snappier than predecessor, though some problems remain: gimmicky nature of segments, and limp link narrative

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE (A-/B+) Irons out wrinkles of original, elegant Southern Gothic restyle teeming with Old Weird America resonances

YOU’RE NEXT (B-) Effective, mischievous home invasion-er, spiced w/ black comedy. Snarling synth score + stylish visual tics among host of pluses

Five to watch:

We Are What We Are (Jim Mickle, 2013, USA)

Big Bad Wolves (Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado, 2013, Israel)

Haunter (Vincenzo Natali, 2013, Canada)

Cheap Thrills (E.L. Katz, 2013, USA)

You’re Next (Adam Wingard, 2011, USA)

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