Day two of Saskatoon’s first installment in to the Dark Bridges Films festival opened with a bang despite a less than desired turnout on September 25th. Due to an early showtime and a myriad of other early Saturday issues (Hangovers, work, etc..) Day two opener Werewolf Fever was seen by a only a fraction of the audience it deserved.
Surface and Remote were openers, and both drew more more from the sci-fi end of the pool then one would expect from a movie preceding a Werewolf-slasher-comedy. In Werewolf Fever A group of unwitting and heinously stupid twenty somethings jockeying a greasy burger joint do battle with one of the most hilarious on-screen creatures since Rawhead Rex.
Skot M. Hamilton: “A blast of an indie horror flick for which the word “Romp” was invented.” 3.5/5
Tyler Baptist: “An absolutely hysterical and entertaining mash-up of the werewolf genre and 80’s Canadian sex comedies (minus the sex, and in this case that’s not a bad thing!) Werewolf Fever is a howl!” 4/5
After the slapstick comedy and gore of the entertaining low-budget Werewolf Fever, the festival took a turn to the darker side with the next feature, Long Pigs. Opening the film was a short cannibal-themed Western starring Ken Foree of Dawn of the Dead fame called Dead Bones. The juxtaposition between the comedy and the now dramatic and sinister nature of Long Pigs, a documentary-style glimpse into the life of a cannibalistic serial killer, was unexpected by the audience.
SMH: “Despite issues in the pacing and acting departments (problems that seem to plague these lower budget Mockumenteries) Long Pigs is reasonably tight package with big pay-off. Man Bites Dog it’s not, but a really respectable effort.” 3.5/5
TB: “Sinister satire and an interesting concept, but Long Pigs doesn’t engage like it should and too many plot holes and pacing issues ultimately leave it to be rather boring and uninspired.” 2/5
From there we began the “Dead-walk-the-Earth” marathon starting with shorts 36 Sous Sol and the outrageously funny Inferno Of The Dead. By this point the number of festival goers had grown quite a bit, a handful of whom had shown up in full undead garb. Needless to say, 2008’s Spanish favorite [REC]‘s built in fan base had finally arrived. In [REC], a television crew witnesses the beginning of an unknown outbreak that has seized an apartment complex.
SMH: “Just as fresh as it was upon it’s release despite a North American remake and other imposters vying for its limelight, [REC] losses nothing to multiple viewings. It is still just as jarring, exciting, and intriguing as ever.” 4/5
TB: “[REC] will scare even the most jaded of horror fans. Intense, claustrophobic, and extremely well executed. A masterpiece of modern horror.” 4.5/5
Now that the entire audience was shaking in their seats after being put through the paces with [REC] the festival is not going to let that sense of dread let up as we continue the story with [REC]2. But before the onslaught of tension and terror began we continue the undead short film theme with Alice Jacobs is Dead starring the lovely Adrienne Barbaeu and followed up with the intense, bizarre, and crazy Argentinian exorcism opus Deus Irae. Then it was time to follow a SWAT team into the quarantined apartment in [REC]2.
SMH: “Delving further in to the back story of any genre film is a risky situation, and [REC]2 launches head long in to its own with reckless abandon and is at the end of the day at least as strong a film as its predecessor for it. A retread would have been the easiest route, but Plaza and Balaguero make a really surprising and brave gear shift that most wouldn’t have had the guts to commit to. Really smart genre filmmaking.” 4/5
TB: “Just as good as the first film if not better, [REC]2 amps up the scares and delves further into possession, claustrophobic terror, and intelligent horror filmmaking. A new horror franchise worth buzzing about.” 4.5/5
Finally it was time to let up from the scares, but not the undead, with some campy humour. Opening the midnight film were The Elusive Man and Game Night, two twisted shorts that had the audience busting a gut. Then came The Karate Kid as if written by Lloyd Kaufman and featuring zombies. The director Gary King and main actress Christina Rose were present to introduce the film and answer a Q&A following this campy low-budget zom-com which the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
SMH: “Unapologetic gag a minute Schlock-o-rama that plays like the Zucker Bros gone twisted. A genre mash-up that will please underground cinema aficionados from all ends of the spectrum.” 3/5
TB: “A campy, sophomoric, and slapstick spoof featuring karate-zombies, quite a few laugh-out-loud moments and a surprising amount of heart not commonly seen in the genre. Worth a look.” 3/5
An interview with director Gary King and actress Christina Rose will be forthcoming. Stay tuned for the third and final day of the Dark Bridges Film Festival.
copyright 2010 Skot M. Hamilton and Tyler Baptist