The Top Short Films of Celluloid Screams 2016!

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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At horror festivals, fans and film enthusiasts alike are treated to a selection of short horror films created by talented filmmakers that are currently taking the underground, indie circuit by storm. The feature films normally take centre stage however in his year’s Celluloid Screams line up the short films proved to be just as striking, some even thought provoking and others were downright weird! (but more on that later). So, here goes, these are the top shockingly good short films of Celluloid Screams 2016. As always these are my own views and not a reflection on the overall panel vote.

10. Death Metal (2016)

  • Directed by Chris McInroy
  • USA, 5 Minutes

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Perfectly placed before The Devil’s Candy, Death Metal is a loud and proud, gore-fuelled spectacle. With similar vibes to last year’s Deathgasm about a satanic guitar that unleashes hell on earth, Death Metal is a rocking black comedy that promises “riffs that shred”, literally! It’s a laugh out loud, thrill ride that’s perfect for the horror festival crowd. Watch this one LOUD!

9. Gwilliam (2015)

  • Directed by Brian Lonano
  • USA, 6 Minutes

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Where to even start with this one? Gwilliam is one of those moments in life where you watch something you completely cannot erase. Bordering between the disgusting, the bizarre and the comedic, Gwilliam is certainly a unique piece of genre cinema! Crow Hands director Brian Lonano takes the crazy up to max level as an ex-con (played by William Tokarsky) is released from prison looking for a night of fun with a hooker. The build up of Gwilliam is done exceptionally well as it’s unclear where the narrative is heading and boy, isn’t it a surprise! Expect the unexpected, once watched, you will never forget your Gwilliam…this short film means what it says!

8. Do You See What I See (2016)

  • Directed by Justin McConnell and Serena Whitney
  • USA, 14 Minutes

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Sloan (Caleigh Le Grand) is reluctant about attending her overbearing sister Jessica’s (Jorja Cadence) annual Christmas party. With all the garish Christmas iconography imaginable, Sloan goes through the motions, that’s until an uninvited guest gatecrashes with very little festive cheer causing madness and mayhem for the warring sisters. Do You See What I See has the makings of a classic slasherific Christmas flick. The performances are believable especially the increasing tension between Sloan and Jessica. The short showcases strong, kick-ass women who take matters into their own hands once the stakes are raised. From a filmic perspective Do You See What I See takes influence from iconic slasher films e.g. Peeping Tom, Halloween and The Burning to create a sinister effect, seeing things through the killer’s eyes with several POV shots. Intense and well executed, Do You See What I See guarantees you’ll be dreaming of a Black Christmas!

7. Dawn of the Deaf (2016)

  • Directed by Rob Savage
  • Canada, 12 Minutes

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In this hard hitting short focused on a minority group, Dawn of the Deaf raises the bar with the traditional apocalyptic horror narrative. With similar techniques to Mike Flannagan’s Hush, the audience is placed in the point of view of the hard of hearing characters and the world around them. A sonic pulse infects the hearing, now it’s up to the deaf community to band together in a fight for survival. Dawn of the Deaf is a layered offering and uses the survival concept in more ways than one, it centres on abuse, sexuality and coping with disability prior to any fantastical horror element. The film portrays the vulnerability of the deaf extraordinarily however the tables do turn depicting the strength within the community. As spoke about during my Ghostface Girls Facebook live video, there is a stunning moment where sign language is used and the camera pans around the characters, some of the subtitled dialogue is missed out proving to be incredibly effective. Dawn of the Deaf is a poignant and moving short.

6. The Disappearance of  Willie Bingham (2015)

  • Directed by Matthew Richards
  • Australia, 12 Minutes

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The Disappearance of Willie Bingham contained the most controversial and disturbing subject matter out of all the short films on this list. A new kind of torturous, radical punishment has been put in place for the worst kinds of criminals, and Willie Bingham is the first to undergo this method. This film conveys the internal thoughts of the majority of society who feel strongly about the lack of justice projected at murderers, rapists and pedophiles and this is a somewhat cathartic experience. The vulnerable and afraid side of the criminal is portrayed as the family are permitted to exact their brutal revenge as slowly as possible. Kevin Dee in the title role is exceptional as his character is paraded around by authoritative officials and made an example of. It’s a powerful piece of film that raises difficult questions in relation to the justice system and the treatment of despicable criminals. The Disappearance of Willie Bingham  deserves to be seen and talked about.

5. Ink, Cocks & Rock ‘N’ Roll (2017)

  • Directed by Matt Harlock
  • UK, 15 Minutes

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Ink, Cocks & Rock ‘N’ Roll is an innovative, cleverly executed, documentary style short that presents the work of controversial comic book artist Steve Martin (no, not the bloke from Father of the Bride!) and his perverted alter ego Krent Able. It’s psychologically chilling as the film challenges the concept of spilt personality and questions whether there’s a thin line between Steve and the monstrous side to him. Is Krent just a fictional character stemmed from his imagination or something much worse? Fourth wall breaking and filled with edgy art work in it’s believable set up, Ink, Cocks & Rock and Roll is one to look out for in 2017.

4. Mindless (2016)

  • Directed by Katie Bonham
  • UK, 8 Minutes

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Mindless is a thought-provoking psychological horror directed by the talented Katie Bonham. Taking away the horror subtext, the subject of Mindless is very real as it focuses on the care of the vulnerable within British society. Peter (Nicholas Vince- Hellraiser & Hellbound: Hellraiser II) is a senile man, living alone; each day his house is torn apart much to the horror of his patient care worker Judy (Kate Danbury). Peter has no recollection of how his home got into the state it has and becomes frustrated with Judy, blaming her. Determined to get Peter into a care home for his own safety and well-being, Judy is about to get more than she bargained for, is Peter’s declining memory the real issue or is there a more sinister presence at play? Mindless brings an important subject matter to light, it’s a topic that can be very difficult to talk about however Bonham does a tremendous job portraying it on screen. It’s bleak from the outset in it’s tone and cinematography creating a psychologically unnerving atmosphere. Nicholas Vince gives an exceptional performance as Peter, playing him with a sense of vulnerability and confusion that allows the audience to garner empathy for him. Kate Danbury also brings in a strong performance as the frustrated care worker doing her best to help him. Mindless is a film that will resonate with audiences as it draws on issues that many can identify with. Katie Bonham has created a powerful film on a low budget that demonstrates a film can leave a long lasting impression without traditional scare tactics or elaborate special effects. It’s no surprise that Mindless continues to win awards all around the world.

3. Imitations (2016)

  • Directed by Milos Mitrovic and Fabian Velasco
  • Canada, 10 Mintues

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Who doesn’t love a bit of Canadian Film Collective Astron-6? They are certainly one of a kind with their off the wall brand of humour. Imitations is another of their unforgettable and bizarre offerings, centring on a lonely YouTuber named Arnold (Milos Mitrovic) who gets plastic surgery to look like his idol “21 Year Old Baby” singing sensation Austin Kelsey (Conor Sweeney). Arnold begins to experience strange side effects following his operation, forcing him to take drastic measures when he attends his eagerly awaited karaoke night. Everything about this short is laugh out loud hilarious and strange. The entire cast look like they’re having a blast, Milos Mitrovic and Conor Sweeney are both fantastic as well as Divorced Dad, Matthew Kennedy. Imitations is an entertaining short that must be seen to be believed. If you loved Father’s Day and loved The Editor, then you’ll love Imitations.

2. Kookie  (2016)

  • Directed by Justin Harding
  • Canada, 13 Minutes

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Bree, a disobedient nine year old is taught a valuable lesson from a sinister visitor after breaking the rules set by her mother involving a creepy cookie jar. Kookie is a slow burning, genuinely comedic short that will certainly be appreciated by fans of creepy clowns. The child actress is superb as young Bree, playing the troublemaker role with menace. Harding ensures that the audience are kept on edge as he builds on the tension with the unnerving clown iconography. A thrilling and funny short, that will ensure that children should behave!

  1. Overtime (2016)
  • Directed By Craig D. Foster
  • Australia, 9 Minutes

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For a huge fan of An American Werewolf in London, it’s no surprise that Overtime, a werewolf themed, dark comedy takes the top spot. Comedic tension is at play as poor Ralph (Aaron Glenane) urgently attempts to get home from work but a series of obstacles get in his way. Overtime is a real delight to watch as poor Ralph attempts to make his exit before it’s too late. The joke is on those around him from his boss to romantic interest who risk unleashing the beast by stalling him. The special effects are incredible and are a spectacle to watch as Ralph’s body morphs into something inhuman. Aaron Gleane gives a brilliant performance as the tormented werewolf. Overtime is a lot of fun and a brilliant homage to one of horror’s most iconic monsters.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Celluloid Screams 2016: The Devil’s Candy Review

Posted in Horror Festivals, Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Sean Byrne (The Loved Ones) brings his second feature film to the big screen with a blood soaked, satanic offering, The Devil’s Candy. The movie centers on an unconventional family who move into a new home, unaware of the deadly secret it harbors and the impact it’s about to have on their lives. The Hellmen’s consist of self-employed artist and metalhead Dad Jesse (Ethan Embry), his patient, understanding wife Astrid (Shiri Appleby) and his chip off the old block young daughter Zooey (Kiara Glasco). Immediately the family encompass a likable quality that keeps the audience involved in their story from the outset. Jesse is a Metallica loving, doting father, his relationship with Zooey is lovely to watch with his protectiveness towards her played as heart-warming. Once peril arises for the family in the form of the tormented former owner, Byrne’s direction effortlessly endears the audience to them but makes the villain (Pruitt Taylor Vince) interesting and complex enough to garner a slight empathy for him initially.

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In comparison to The Loved Ones, The Devil’s Candy has a completely different tone. Whereas The Loved Ones is an extremely nasty and gritty watch, The Devil’s Candy is a more polished effort that doesn’t take the same uncomfortable turns as Byrne’s debut offering although it does come with its intense moments. In terms of the production quality, The Devil’s Candy demonstrates how Byrne has developed as a filmmaker. He uses striking visuals particularly the disturbing art work Jesse unveils that foreshadows dark events as they happen and what’s to come.

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The plot is the kind we have seen before, with the creepy house setting and a terrorized family however it’s the core characters that make The Devil’s Candy a compelling film. Byrne writes them as multi-layered and relate-able. There is a strong sense that Jesse and Astrid are polar opposites in some respects, him the artist and her the career woman. She isn’t as fond of his taste in metal music as the daughter is however there’s an implied sense of her once having a rebellious nature in order for the attraction and relationship to work between them. As the troubled teenager Zooey is portrayed as having a strong supportive parental network behind her which is refreshing to see. In their own rights, each of them are strong characters and go out on a limb for each other. This isn’t a movie where it’s just the male character depicted as the heroic type.

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There’s a distinct theme throughout of the relationship between horror and heavy metal that usually comes with a negative stigma attached relating to its association with violence. There’s such a positive portrayal in this film of characters who enjoy and consume dark material but on the outside they are the most grounded and genuine, every day people which was satisfying to see from two genres that normally receive a bad rep.

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Byrne delivers something fresh which is a world away from The Loved Ones, cementing is versatility and growth as a filmmaker. Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby and Kiara Glasco are outstanding in their performances, bringing depth, emotion and shared chemistry to their characters. Glasco is a young actress to look out for and delivered the standout performance from a young performer in a genre film this year so far. Also, be sure to look out for a cameo from Leland Orser (Faults, The Guest).

The Devil’s Candy is absolutely awesome, a movie that ends with Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” at the end credits certainly rocks!!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

 

Celluloid Screams 2016: Pet Review

Posted in Horror Festivals, Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

On the surface Pet appears to be a conventional cat and mouse thriller but this is actually not the case. Directed by Carles Torrens (Apartment 143, ABC’s of Death 2.5) with a screenplay by Jeremy Slater ( The Lazarus Effect), Pet is a genre defying film, placing a refreshing spin on an overdone concept. Starring Dominic Monaghan and Ksenia Solo in two powerhouse performances, Pet takes the term “deadly obsession” to a whole new, twisted level.

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Like many of the films that screened at 2016’s Celluloid Screams Horror Film Festival, it’s advisable to go into Pet knowing very little about the plot in order to get the full jaw dropping experience.

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Monaghan plays Seth, a loner living a mundane existence working at the dog pound. Out of the blue, he comes across his high school crush, Holly on the bus home one day. Seth rapidly becomes interested in her to an unhealthy degree and starts hanging around a bit too often for Holly’s liking. When Holly brutally knocks him back events take a turn for the sinister as Seth captures his romantic interest and locks her in a cage located in the basement of his work place in order to teach her a lesson; but has Seth literally bitten off more than he can chew? and what are the mysterious secrets that Holly is harboring?

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As stated at the beginning of this review Pet isn’t what it seems. If you’re looking for a typical captive/torture flick, this is not that film. Pet is an intensifying slow burn that once it turns the tables they just keep on turning. Monaghan and Solo display intense chemistry in their roles, providing engaging performances to an edge of the seat effect. Both characters are equally as complex with layers of hidden depth. Modern horror is seeing an increase is strong, celebrated female characters and Pet certainly explores that and twists classic horror tropes. Holly proves to be an empowered character as the film progresses while her appearance reflects the typical pretty, blonde victim that features prominently in the slasher film.

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Pet is everything a horror film should be; incorporating intense, emotional moments to the downright horrific. It’s psychological horror at it’s best and it’s no surprise that’s one of 2016’s most talked about films on the festival circuit due to it’s innovative take on a tired horror cliche. Nail-biting until the bitter end, Pet dares to be different and is utterly unforgettable.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Celluloid Screams 2016: Raw Review

Posted in Horror Festivals, Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Julia Ducournau’s critically acclaimed Raw (Original Title: Grave) is currently the most talked about horror movie of the year. Taking place in a veterinary school, Raw is the story of strict vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier), a naive young girl starting out in university, away from the rigid views of her parents. Following an initiation in which she is pressured into consuming raw meat, Justine goes down a dangerous path when her cravings begin to grow.

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Firstly, what needs to be addressed when discussing Raw is the hysteria surrounding it. Much like 2015’s The Witch, it is the film that is described as the most eagerly anticipated, one that all movie goers must see. The hype has been driven further by claims that the film caused fainting during it’s screening at the Toronto International Film Festival due to being “too intense” and that audience members required medical attention. Yes, these kind of reports will draw in curious cinema goers but when it comes down to it, the “hype” could become detrimental to the overall viewing of the film. Bottom line, don’t expect some nasty, shocking gore film. Without a doubt, Raw is an excellent piece of cinema and it is one of the best genre movies of 2016, but is it pass-out inducing? No!

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There is of course gore, there are squeamish moments however they are shot and edited in such a skilful way that much is left to the imagination alone rather than the film including lingering, gross out scenes that will provoke nauseating reactions from the audience. Raw is an artistic film in terms of how it’s composed visually with a strong narrative flowing throughout. It has something for all kinds of cinema fans from those who enjoy art house, to straight up horror fans.

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Comparisons have been drawn between the 2000 monster, coming-of-age movie Ginger Snaps starring Katherine Isabelle and Emily Perkins. Raw does in fact share similar themes. It’s a tale of two sisters, it’s a metaphor for growing up, experiencing change and the influence of a new and different environment. While the narratives of both films share a likeness, Raw is it’s own beast and a strong example of how versatile the genre can be in terms of taking a familiar concept and being innovative with it, which is what Ducournau has achieved.

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Amidst all the shock and panic centring the film, the most surprising factor of Raw is how darkly funny it is. Certain moments are unexpectedly dark and take the audience by surprise that it’s difficult not to be amused by the fantastical nature of it all. The gore effects themselves are realistic enough to cause a sense of discomfort, namely when Justine experiences physical reactions after eating meat.

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Another of Raw’s strongest point is it’s portrayal of female characters. It proves how far the genre has come in terms of three dimensional female leads. Women are no longer helpless damsels in distress being chased after by a mad man only to end up hacked to pieces. Raw proves how the gender tables can turn. The film explores female sexuality and female characters taking control of their own decisions which is refreshing to see. It celebrates the female body and doesn’t shy away in terms of what it shows but is also tastefully shot. Both Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf (Alexia- Justine’s older, more experienced sister) are outstanding in their performances.

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Hands down, Raw is one of the horror films to watch in 2016 and is certainly one of the most incredibly brilliant films to emerge on the festival circuit this year. It completely deserves it’s mainstream release courtesy of Universal Pictures in Spring 2017 as it will introduce more casual horror viewers to something different from the usual Hollywood fare. It’s best to go in knowing very little and enjoying everything it has to offer. The one piece of advice to approach Raw with is ignore all the silly hype and just see for yourselves what a fantastic film it really is.

As a Horror Fan and a Vegetarian Raw is a genre film that will be most welcome in my collection when it’s eventually released.

Raw is screening at the Abertoir Horror Festival on Friday, 18th November at 10pm at the Aberystwyth Arts Cente.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Celluloid Screams 2016: Trash Fire Review

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , on November 1, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Richard Bates Jr. (Excision, Suburban Gothic) is renowned for his quirky style and skill for creating detestable yet compelling characters, this directorial trait is still strongly prominent in his third feature film and the third to be screened at Celluloid Screams, Trash Fire.

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Owen (Adrian Grenier) and Isabel (Angela Trimbur) are a couple embroiled in a turbulent relationship, displaying mutual resentment and repulsion for one another. Close to breaking point, the couple unexpectedly face a life changing event that binds them together. After a horrific fire that burnt down his childhood home and resulted in the death of his parents, Owen is estranged from his remaining living relatives; his kooky religious freak Grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) and badly scarred sister Pearl (Annalynne McCord). With Isabel’s encouragement, the couple set off to make amends but little do they know the kind of weirdness that lies ahead for them. The real test of their relationship is set to begin.  But will the experience destroy the couple or bring them closer together?

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Trash Fire is Bates Jr.’s strongest film to date, it’s side-splittingly entertaining from beginning to end accompanied by a razor sharp script that doesn’t let up on it’s sarcastic humour. The pacing works well, we are gradually introduced to the protagonists Owen and Isabel, learning about their toxic relationship and how they reached that point. The second part of the film takes the characters out of the environment we were initially introduced to them in and places them in the strict religious confines of the grandmother’s home, shifting the tone and feel of the film in a different direction.

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What’s great about Trash Fire is it veers off into unexpected territory and by the end it’s a completely different film to the one that first begun. It remains a mean spirited dark comedy in tone however as it progresses there is a certain empathy attached to the main characters. Owen, as a character is layered with issues and comes across as obnoxious and deliberately unpleasant however once his back story is revealed it provides an inclination of why his character is so unapologetically mean. For a film laced with a brutal sense of humour the character development is spot on, keeping the audience entirely compelled.

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There’s some hilarious moments of comedic tension shared between Grenier and Matthew Gray Gubler who plays his straight laced brother in law Caleb. Gubler is one of the film’s most welcome highlights. All the performances are brilliantly acted portraying over the top characters. Angela Trimbur play Isabel as a woman at her wits end, it’s incredible how her character managed to survive a three year relationship with Owen. Fionnula Flanagan is quick witted and unapologetically horrid as the ghastly Grandmother. Annalynne McCord is ambiguous and empathetic as Pearl with a side of uncomfortable weirdness, it’s refreshing to see her in a different kind of role and this one is certainly memorable.

Similarly to Bates Jr’s previous films, Trash Fire still incorporates bizarre visual sequences used for a metaphorical purpose but not to the same extent as his other offerings. With the focus primarily on the core characters and dynamics, it doesn’t need to include as many stylish visual sequences like Excision. On some level it has an 80’s B-Movie style thriller feel to it.

One of the genre’s best dark horror comedies of the year, Trash Fire is surprising, unpredictable and ensures that what you see is what you get and more!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Celluloid Screams 2016: We Go On Review

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Death is always a difficult subject matter, something the human mind struggles to comprehend. This is the case for the troubled and extremely phobic Miles (Clark Freeman) in We Go On; a film that boldly questions the universe’s ultimate unknown mystery, is there life after death?

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Ever since experiencing a tragic loss during childhood, Miles is tormented by not knowing what comes after his mortal existence so much so that his obsession leads him into taking out an ad offering $30,000 for anyone who can prove that an afterlife does in fact exist. Of course the situation lures in a number of cranks ready to deceive Miles for a stake at the extortionate amount of money, but the tables take a sinister turn when he receives an ominous voicemail. Along with his over-protective mother Charlotte (Annette O’Toole), they set out on a journey of emotional and chilling proportions leading to a discovery that they both could have never imagined.

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We Go On is expertly crafted bringing an equal amount of gut punching emotional drama alongside unnerving horror. It keeps the audience on the edge of their seats throughout as it ventures into unpredictable directions, raising questions about the uncertainty of mortality and death. At its core it’s a very human story. The lead character is complexly constructed as instead of living in the moment, his whole life is determined by whether there is a greater purpose beyond his current state of being. Annette O’Toole and Clark Freeman play the dynamics between mother and son as believable with layered performances, it’s a great balance having her character as the skeptic and him as having faith. One of the central standout performances however goes to Jay Dunn as Nelson, an ambiguous character that plays a big role in the chain of events on Miles’s journey. Hands down, Dunn provides the creepiest performance of 2016 so far.

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The film also reunites O’Toole with her Smallville co-star John Glover. Glover plays Dr. Ellison, a character that displays intent to aid Miles’s quest for answers leading to tension and conflict with Ellison and Charlotte’s mistrust of him.

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Directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton take on a challenging concept and portray it effectively. With it’s melancholic and enigmatic tone that is aided by the bleak cinematography, We Go On is a strong film from the supernatural sub-genre. It’s a slow burn that keeps the audience guessing until it’s unveil which results in heart-rendering moments. We Go On is a film that easily gets under the skin and leaves us questioning whether it’s better not knowing if there’s really something after death.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

 

 

Celluloid Screams 2016: Dearest Sister Review

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Dearest Sister (Nong Hak) is the second feature film from Lao Director Mattie Do following on from 2013’s Chanthaly. Mattie’s work is groundbreaking for several reasons; firstly Laos has a very small film production with only 13 films to this date being produced in the country. Secondly, Mattie is the only female director to have made horror movies in Laos and faced creative restrictions in how much graphic imagery she could visualize on screen which include both gore and scenes of intimacy between actors. With a strong crowd funding campaign behind her courtesy of Indie Go Go, Dearest Sister proved to be a passionate project and has resulted in a potential trilogy of films focusing on the characterization of women in Laos.

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Starring Amphaiphun Phommapunya in her third on screen role, her debut being ChanthalyDearest Sister centers on Nok, a young village girl who travels to Laos capital city Vientiane to care for her visually impaired cousin Ana (Vilouna Phetmany). Ana faces vulnerability and confusion as her sight begins to fail her. She then develops a paranormal ability to communicate with the dead which Nok uses to her own advantage.
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Dearest Sister is an intriguing character study of female hierarchy and the place of women within their own society and culture. It depicts Ana, the wealthy housewife who’s status was achieved through marriage to an Estonian man. Her role is complex due to being looked down on by her peers and detested by her servants. Nok is portrayed as coming from a poor village however through her familial association with Ana she is again met with resentment from the maids. Instructed by Ana’s strict husband Jakob, Nok is to care for Ana but is permitted from partaking in domestic housework. The dynamics shift throughout the film which adds to the compelling drama. Amphaiphun Phommapunya who previously played a more empathetic part in Chanthaly is given a edgier role this time around, she’s an untrustworthy protagonist. Nok isn’t necessarily bad however her poor upbringing and experience of a higher class in her cousin’s home motivates her to look out for herself financially which results in her using Ana’s “gift” for her own gain. The film’s underbelly is layered with the ghostly subtext and Mattie presents the idea of a spiritual world with subtly. The idea of fear and an otherworldly presence is created through the atmosphere coming across as genuinely spine chilling rather than using the obvious jump scares tactics.
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 The film offers up something different in comparison to any genre film on the circuit this year as well as any female fronted horror film that has emerged during 2016. You won’t find Lottery ghosts anywhere else! Dearest Sister is an authentic portrayal of Lao culture amidst a horror subtext. It’s cinematography is beautifully composed, the characters are compelling to watch aided by strong performances by the cast, namely Amphaiphun Phommapunya and Vilouna Phetmany in the leading roles, there’s a naturalistic quality about them. Mattie Do is setting the standard for Lao horror and Lao filmmaking and is a director to look out for.
The Ghostface Girls interviewed Mattie Do and Producer Annick Mahnert at Celluloid Screams here.
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Dearest Sister will screen at the Abertoir Horror Festival in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre  on Thursday the 17th November at 12:00pm.
Hayley Alice Roberts
Hayley’s Horror Reviews.