Rowan (Lee Marshall) and Emily (Lauren Beatty, also in this fest’s Bloodthirsty) are best friends at work who seek to bond at a wintery weekend away at Emily’s cottage with Emily’s boyfriend, Branden, in tow. As the weekend unfolds, Rowan’s social anxieties take hold but more immediately worrying is that Rowan believes an unseen figure is taking her blood as she sleeps. As Rowan tries to get to the bottom of this, a battle of wills ensues between Rowan and Emily and Rowan’s grip on reality loosens. In her debut film, director/writer Ameilia Moses has created a tense chamber piece of paranoia and personal ghosts played out within a friendship.
MY TAKE: This slow burn, moody psychological horror, which brushes up oh-so-gently against vampirism, will keep you on the edge of your seat, constantly questioning who is the real monster here? Who is the antagonist? You are forced to watch through one perspective...and the film will leave it up to your good judgment. If you love a tense and carefully crafted atmosphere with a claustrophobic setting, you'll love this film.
MY TAKE: Another gorgeous and engaging short from Jeremy Lutter with a very interesting take on how one deals with one's demons.
Read on for "Hall" and "A Dinner Party"
Val (Caroline Bartczak, White Lie) and Brendan (Mark Gibson, Exit Humanity) are in a troubled marriage. On this night, they are taking their daughter, Kelly, to a Montreal hotel for a fun weekend stay as a pandemic starts to spread across the city. What they don’t know is that the virus renders its victims rabid and very aggressive. Once staying with her husband becomes problematic, Val must navigate herself and her daughter across a hallway literally crawling with these blistering infected creatures to get to safety. Director/co-writer Francesco Giannini has taken this usually apocalyptic genre and focused on the micro to create a taut pressure-cooker of a film.
MY TAKE: Another film that builds slowly, this time not quite in chronological order, revealing what's happening with a viral outbreak right away, then revealing how they got there, as well as its source, later on. The intense focus on one family that must escape more than just a plagued hallway (as if that's not enough), as well as one less fortunate woman who thought she escaped hell already (watching her become one of the "creatures" trying to escape by crawling and crawling and crawling down the seemingly longest hall in the world is detailed and agonizing) makes this apocalyptic thriller personal and highly satisfying. Hello again Julian Richings!
MY TAKE: A dinner party at the end of the world brings out the worst kind of denial, and the host has had enough. Love the ending!