Toronto After Dark 2015 Large

TORONTO AFTER DARK FILM FESTIVAL 2015: NIGHT 5

 

The Diabolical CoverTurd

The Diabolical (screened with the short film Sleep Monster)

Every now and then, a movie comes along that is so bafflingly flawed that it goes down in the annals of ironic watches, right alongside Plan 9 or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. I, for one, vote that this movie be given every Razzie award on the docket. The film stars Ali Larter as a single mother who is broke and can't figure out a way to get her family moved out of their house where horrifying spectres of melted men routinely appear and torment her and her children. Seemingly as a godsend, a mysterious man with a devilish grin makes an offer on the property, and she refuses (because it's her haunted house and no one else's, goddamnit!). Presumably having lived for this for a long time, she readily tells herself when a monster appears, "It's not really there," and generally things work out fine, but for some reason she decides that she's finally had enough and it's time to leave. When the family tries to abandon the house, her children become deathly ill immediately when they step off the property (assuming they've never, ever tried to leave their crazy haunted house before), which is the only logical thing that far into the movie as to why a person with two small children would subject themselves to such ghostly torture. This movie has a supremely weak script that actually manages to get sillier than the aforementioned when the big 'twist' comes into play, alongside dialogue that isn't necessarily expository but very much strikes the viewer over the head with detail and is also wildly unbelievable (specifically, when eight year old children make jokes about fingering people). To top it all off, it is also very poorly acted, with Ali Larter as vaguely capable as she can be. The Diabolical may be a stunning example of filmmaking, but for all the wrong reasons.

Sleep Monster is a short film which preceded The Diabolical, which is an infinitely more interesting and clever example of work. It follows one girl who wakes up from a nightmare and returns to her angry, sad emotions about the fact that her boyfriend has been gone for two weeks. The story carries out with her eerie, emotional narration, and the twist to come is surprising and very entertaining. Although the main actress is definitely the most captivating and the other two actors in the short fall a little short, it is still a charming, spooky little story.

Sleep Monster Fourandahalfstars

The Interior CoverFivestars

The Interior (screened with the short film Let Me Down Easy)

Have I ever told you about the one time that I went camping? Although it was fun to spend the weekend intoxicated with my closest friends, I literally got no sleep whatsoever because the realization that I was in a flimsy tent in the middle of no where (pardon my french) was fucking terrifying. Even though I had no plans to ever go camping again, after watching The Interior, I can solemnly say that I will never, ever, ever camp again. The film follows a very Peter Gibbons-esque young man named James who hates his office job and has grown tired of his life, so he decides to leave it all behind and camp in British Columbia. After a few days in the woods, he begins to hear noises that spook him, and what follows is a stunning, realistic and almost suffocating depiction of paranoia, which is effortlessly channeled through the main actor Patrick McFadden. This is a movie that is best watched with no knowledge of what's to come, because its quiet and subtle nods to the heavyweights of horror are fun and eerie, and will definitely make you think twice about entering the woods.

The Interior was preceded by the short film Let Me Down Easy, which is the story of a group of newly twenty year olds who have been sheltered by their elders for their entire lives for religious reasons. On their twentieth birthday, they are sent out into the woods to be tempted by wine, cheese and relaxation, of which they all take in a little too heavily. Although this short is so good looking with an interesting Utopian location and characters that are costumed very appropriately, it suffers at moments by some cheesy dialogue, such as when one girl takes a swig of alcohol and exclaims, "It tastes like stars!"

Let Me Down Easy Threestars

01 The Diabolical Poster02 The Interior Poster

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