Supplement your reading of Giles Edwards‘ full-length Fantasia Festival 2019 reviews of The Deeper You Dig, Vivarium, Dreamland, and Come to Daddy with this digest of “everything else” from week one.
It could have been a century ago: I descended from the subterranean locomotive to make a rendezvous with a Frenchman at a café to gain access to my base of operations.
Flowing from a deep well of tedium, this J-Horror Ringu “re-boot” made me nostalgic for a film I haven’t actually seen. (Shame, shame.) Over the course of one-hundred long minutes, I was challenged to feel sympathy for young hospital psychologist, Mayu (Elaiza Ikeda), find her insufferable brother, Kazuma (Hiroya Shimizu), endearing, and be remotely crept out by the “mysterious girl” (Himeka Himejima). It failed on all counts. The director of the original franchise, Hideo Nakata, was at the helm and managed to drain whatever life was present in the original to present an over-lit, under-developed story which only managed to elicit an enthusiastic response from the audience on two occasions. The first was from a direct nod to the video of “girl-with-hair-emerging-from-well”; the second was a raucous laugh at the discovery of a victim that reminded me of nothing else so much as Martin Prince’s contorted corpse reveal in The Simpson’s “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace”.
7/12: Little Monsters
Director Abe Forsythe accomplishes what I had thought impossible: wringing another blood droplet from parched Zombie Movie cloth. (Bad metaphor: forgive me, it’s early.) Little Monsters opens with an hilarious montage of a couple constantly bickering while the credits run, setting things up nicely for dead-beat, former musician Dave (Alexander England) to hit rock bottom and crash at his sister’s place. While there, he connects with his nephew, and ultimately meets the nephew’s kindergarten teacher, Miss Clementine (Lupita Nyong’o, playing her as a cross between a schoolmarm and a manic pixie dream girl). What follows is a field-trip to a local zoo, which happens to be situated right next to an American military research facility. (Forsythe knows well that he’s re-treading the zombie thing; when troops are called in there’s the exchange, “Zombies? Again?” –Yeah. “Fast ones, or slow ones?” –Slow ones. “Thank God it’s the slow ones.”)
The movie is not only an odd mishmash of rom-com and zombie horror, but also plays like an R-rated version of a G-rated movie: if it Continue reading 2019 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL: OMNIBUS FIELD REPORT #1