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TADFF 2012: Audience Awards and Justin’s Five Festival Favourites

TADFF 2012: Audience Awards and Justin’s Five Festival Favourites

Toronto – With twenty horror, sci-fi, action, and cult movies crammed into nine nights, and an eclectic mix of short films thrown in between, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012 gave the Toronto genre fan a multitude of reasons to be sleep-deprived. Before going into a sustained state of hibernation, audiences cast their ballot for which film they liked the best; the results are as follows:

Audience Choice Awards, Best Feature Film

1. Gold: Cockneys vs Zombies

2. Silver: Dead Sushi

3. Bronze: A Fantastic Fear of Everything

Audience Choice Awards, Best International Short Film

1. Gold: Henri

2. Silver: Vicki

3. Bronze: Numbers

Audience Choice Awards, Best Canadian Short Film

1. Gold: Bio-Cop

2. Silver: A Pretty Funny Story

3. Bronze: Frost

Audience Choice Awards, Best Independent Video Game

1. Gold: Hotline Miami

2 Silver: Tales from Space: Mutant Blob Attacks

3. Bronze: Mcpixel

Fans Choice Awards

Best Horror Film: Citadel

Best Sci-Fi Film: Doomsday Book

Best Candian Feature Film: American Mary

Best Action Film: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

Best Comedy: Cockneys vs Zombies

Best Director: Jen & Sylvia Soska, American Mary

Best Screenplay: Justin Benson, Resolution

Best Leading Actor: Simon Pegg, A Fantastic Fear of Everything

Best Leading Actress: Katherine Isabelle, American Mary

Best Ensemble Cast: Cockneys vs Zombies

Best Special Effects: Dead Sushi

Best Make-Up: [REC]³ Génesis

Best Soundtrack: Sushi Girl

Best Cinematography: American Mary

Best Editing: Crave

Best Trailer: Dead Sushi

Best Poster: [REC]³ Génesis

Best Title Sequence: Crave (closing credits)

Best Film to Watch With a Crowd: Dead Sushi

Film Most Likely to See a Sequel To: Cockneys vs Zombies

Best Villain: Derek the Unholy (Mike Smith), Lloyd the Conqueror

Best Hero: Clara (Leticia Dolera), [REC]³ Génesis

Best Anihero: Mary Mason (Katheirne Isabelle), American Mary

Best Kill: Inbred (shotgun to the head)

Best Fight: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (sport store fight)

Goriest Film: Inbred

Scariest Film: Citadel

Most Thrilling Film: Citadel

Most Innovative Film: Resolution

Most Disturbing Film: American Mary

Best Film Intro: Resolution

Best Audience Q&A: Resolution

Having had the privilege to cover the festival, I’ve been able to see and review every single feature film in the lineup [pats myself on the back] and have compiled a list of five festival favourites. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Favourite Features:


Every time you walk down a dark alleyway, you’ve felt it. Every time you’ve waited for the bus late at night, you’ve felt it too. Every unsolicited knock on the door, tap on your shoulder, distant chorus of laughter, and sudden hush of silence, you’ve felt that feeling course through your body: that intrinsic and deep-seated fear of the unknown and the unseen. In an urban setting, these feelings are ever-present and persistent, and in Ciaran Foy’s Citadel, they’re expertly amplified and actualized. Combining the urban paranoia of [Rosemary’s Baby] with the urban decay of [Harry Brown], the film hits on a nerve that seems a bit far-fetched on the surface, but feels all too real and believable.

Cockneys vs. Zombies

As with something like Snakes on a Plane, Cockneys vs. Zombies derives much of its promise and purpose from the title. Anyone going to see Cockneys vs. Zombies will be looking for either or, and the film provides both in spades. The zombies and kills are top-notch, with some imaginative use of their abilities/disabilities, distinct British humour (i.e. football), clever and amusing flashback sequences, and strong performances overall; especially on the part of the hard nut Alan Ford. If you threw Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later into Guy Ritchie’s Snatch (pun very much intended), you’d have an unlikely and crowd-pleasing synthesis of the two in Cockneys vs. Zombies.

Dead Sushi

To best put the film into words, we’re going to have to use a food analogy. If Dead Sushi were itself an actual piece of sushi, it would be in the form of a jalapeño stuffed with wasabi, wrapped in kimchi, dipped in Red Bull, and covered in the most piquant, foul smelling cheese. In fact, on the menu, it should be labeled as the ‘Gangnam Style Roll’. The non-sequiturs are intrepidly brazen, every single line of dialogue is infinitely quotable, and the tone couldn’t be further down one’s cheek if the tongue itself was a killer sushi. We’re promised sushi action, sushi erotica, and sushi violence (sushi humour is implied), and that’s exactly what the audience gets.

Doomsday Book

In all, Doomsday Book is a highly ambitious sci-fi anthology, whose qualities come from its parts as opposed to its whole. Each individual chapter is laced with ideas and insight on humanity in our technologically infused world, and each, taken alone, has its own merits. As a whole, it’s tonally uneven, ranging from silly (A Brave New World) to serious (Heavenly Creature) and back to silly (Happy Birthday), with the didactic intentions of each serving as the only connective thread. However, as a compendium of science fiction stories about the fall of humankind, Doomsday Book is ultimately an anthology that [H.G.] Wells would probably approve of.

My Amityville Horror

In My Amityville Horror, the subject isn’t really the house or the alleged haunting; it’s really about Mr. Lutz. Believer him or not, Mr. Lutz is able to command the viewers attention with his detailed, confident, and impassioned recounting of what he believed happened to him. His stories about being exorcized, his turbulent relationship with his stepfather George, his strained relationship with his mother Kathy, and his claims of supernatural phenomena all grab the viewer because of how earnest and honestly he tells them, and director Eric Walter is prudent enough to limit his own questions and to let Mr. Lutz and other people in the film tell their own stories.

Honourable mentions: AfterResolutionWrong

– Justin Li

The 7th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival ran from October 18-26. For general information and news on next year’s festival, please visit the offical website.