All Liza wanted was the chance to start a new life and to get out of the dump she was living, and Chip just wanted to see his girlfriend happy. There is a reason why everybody says that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The plan was simple: Get into the house and take the 68 grand from Ken, Liza’s wealthy Sugar Daddy. The job was supposed to be quick, the good old “in and out” thing, and nobody was supposed to get hurt, but as we all know, The Devil is in the details, and Chip suddenly finds himself with not only two corpses on his conscience but also a hostage in the trunk.
Liza, who clearly has no problems with spilling blood, specially if is not hers, suggest that Chip should dispose of Violet, their hostage and the only witness of their crime, but Chip, who actually does not have a single criminal bone in his body, decides to save Violet and escape with her, accidentally taking the money in the process. This ignites the rage of she who Chip considered the woman of his dreams, and from there on, Chip will be running for his life, being threatened not only by Liza, but also by other more bizarre and violent characters that he will meet along the way…
Screened recently at the Fantasia International Film Festival and coming from France, we just saw “Le Manoir” (The Mansion), a comedy/slasher film where we meet a group of students reunited on a secluded mansion, with the goal of celebrating the arrival of the new year with alcohol, drugs and sex (or at least that is what some of them hope).
As the hours fly by, we see that this colorful group has its share of secrets, envy, resentment and unrequited love, but still, these friends promise to stay together no matter what. Little do they know, that as soon the first minutes of the new year start running, the numbers in their group will start to decrease in a fast and violent manner, courtesy of a mysterious masked visitor.
Oz is a very skilled electronic technician that works repairing old arcade consoles, and that rather loose himself in the screens and circuitry at the repair shop where he works instead of interacting with other members of the human species. Learning that the shop will be shut down soon due “Times change and nobody wants arcades anymore” Oz decides to have a few drinks at a local bar and is approached by a very attractive girl named Tess that also is a nut for old vintage video games, starting a romantic relationship that not only could cause us a diabetic coma, but also defies the laws of logic and reality, nothing wrong there (I am old and bitter, please bear with me and keep reading).
That same night, Oz finds an old weird motherboard, and pinched by curiosity, decides to install it on a machine that he was repairing. The result is the appearance of a weird hypnotic old-style video game on the screen, that compels Oz to play, and start giving him strange hallucinations that might or might not be predicting his future and doom, while a strange apparently homeless man gets in and out of the shop like if he had the duty to ensure that the entity on the other side of the game’s images can find a way to pay us a visit.
Sam and Ian are a couple that while trying to escape the chaotic life in city, decide to camp in a remote lake for the weekend, a place found by recommendation from a local stranger. To their surprise, when the couple arrive at the lake they see that they are not the only ones at the camp, since there is a tent near the lake’s shore, although they can not see the owners. Assuming that the other campers could be hiking in the woods, the couple decide not to think much about it and enjoy the peace and quiet.
After a relatively calm night, Sam and Ian start to feel uneasy by the absence of their neighbors and decide to look around their camp, finding the place trashed, and later finding a small boy clearly hungry and dehydrated. Convinced that the child’s parents could be hurt or worse, the couple try to go for help, but find their car with a flat tire and that their cell phones have no signal. That’s when a local hunter arrives at the camp offering his help, and as you might expect, this is just the beginning of the problems for Ian and Sam.
OK, I am sure that the previous synopsis will make “Hunting Ground” sound like another film of a million out there about tourists sent to the slaughterhouse, but let me tell you, this film has a several things that felt fresh and can make it stand out from others, and while I will try to not get into spoiler territory, I will explain why you should definitely give “Hunting Ground” a chance.
Recently played at the Fantasia International Film Festival, we had the chance to see “Tilt”, a film that brings us the story of Joseph Burns, a unemployed documentary director that once enjoyed a modest success with his first documentary, and have been trying to complete his next project ever since, getting constantly distracted by one thing or another. His wife Joanne, who has been supporting him through all this time (both morally and economically) makes him realize that now that there is a baby on the way, it might just be the time to come back to the regular workforce and put the documentary on hold.
Joseph’s mental crusade about destroying the myth of “The Golden Age in the U.S.” thru his documentary, turns into a complicated obsession when he sees than nobody seems to be even remotely interested in the theme of his project, even when someone like Donald Trump starts to place himself on the television as a candidate for the U.S. presidency, using the same myth (according to Joseph) to turn the masses to support him and his purposes…
As days goes by, Joseph tries without success to show enthusiasm for his future as a parent, and the idea of finding a stable source of income. What we see however, is that maybe as a form of retaliation for being forced into responsibilities he was not fond of, he starts to set a series of accidents where Joan gets hurt. Also with the excuse of needing to clear his thoughts for the documentary, Joseph starts to walk around the neighborhood late at nights, but in reality he is just stalking people from different social status, maybe looking for someone to unleash his anger with… or to continue something sinister that was already there and now he has decided to hide no longer…
Like any other fan of horror, I can enjoy a good story told in the Body horror sub-genre, and I was glad to see that “Replace”, the new film that we watched via the Fantasia Film Festival, not only has the right amount of gore and blood for the peeps, but also brings a very interesting thriller for the general public.
In this film we meet Kira, a lady that after a romantic date starts to experience blackouts, amnesia and disorientation, and while we could say “Hey, that’s what happens when you fall in love!” that would not explain why her skin is deteriorating at an accelerated rate, to the point that is actually breaking and falling apart.
Screened recently at the Fantasia Film Festival, we saw the new film from Jian Liu “Have a Nice Day” (Hao ji le) where the saying “You never know who you work for” fits like a glove in this old school-style animated film. Using the neo-noir genre, this film brings us a story of cynicism, irony and black humor with the reminder that behind any smile and compliment, there always can be an immoral, ruthless person ready to screw you over if the price is right.
In an very ordinary day, Xiao Zhang, a low level driver that works for an small criminal in a nameles city of China, decides to steal the money from a recent job, as you might guess, his boss “Uncle Liu” decides to send “Skinny”, his most effective assassin (a Rocky fan, to boot) not only to find the money, but also to use Xiao as an example to dissuade other employees from having any more bright ideas.
A group of millennials bored at a weekend party with sex, drugs and alcohol find a vintage electronic board game called “Game Of Death”. Without thinking twice or even bothering to fully read the instructions, they start the game, finding out later that the game claims that it can’t be stopped until a certain number of people have been murdered or all the players are dead.
Dismissing this last instruction as a joke, or that some pieces from the game might be missing, the kids decide to continue the party and forget the whole thing, but suddenly one of the gang experiments a massive explosive headache (to put it lightly) and the rest of the group gets convinced that the game might be for real when another one of the players dies, starting a race against the clock to find more victims in their sleepy little town in order fro them to survive the mortal countdown. (hey, that is actually a cool name for another game!!)
“The Senior Class” (” Jol-Up-Ban”) bring us the story of a group of art students approaching their graduation, and how while most of them spend the time focusing on their final projects, some see their worlds collapse.
Jung-woo has been in love with his beautiful and talented classmate Ju-hee for some time, but has never mustered the nerve to even have a conversation with her, instead he tries to reflect his attraction for Ju-hee in a web comic he publishes under a pseudonym. Dong-hwa, his more cynical and careless friend is always looking for a chance to get laid with any girl he can find, not caring about the consequences or her feelings, an aspect that we see reflected on his dedication (or more accurately his lack of…) on his art, since even when graduation is mere days away, he has not even started his project. Jun-hee, who is considered by her classmates as the most talented, shows an unexpected complexity with a labyrinth as her final project.