HorrorSquad papabear Scott Weinberg is currently at the Toronto International Film Festival getting an early perusal of all kinds of films the rest will have to wait months to see. And to make the wait even worse, it seemed best to bring over a few excerpts from Weinberg's FEARnet reviews of three highly anticipated genre films.
The Hole, Directed by Joe Dante
How strongly the hardcore horror fans will be able to embrace such a low-key, gore-free, and ardently nostalgic little thriller remains to be seen, but those of us old enough (or young enough) to remember The Gate, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and (yes) Gremlins will probably find something to enjoy in The Hole. Aside from some minor pacing issues in the mid-section, the flick breezes by at a quick clip, it's really quite pretty to look at (well done, cinematographer Theo van de Sande), and the scary bits are delivered quite playfully. The screening I witnessed was presented in 3-D, which I found virtually unnecessary, as the flick is fun enough without the gimmick, but hey, if that's what it takes to get today's youthful movie geeks in touch with Joe Dante, then I'll make that sacrifice.
Read his full thoughts here.
The Loved Ones, directed by Sean Byrne
The subject of "unrequited love" seems to come up fairly often in horror films, several of which are (logically) focused on fragile young women whose inner turmoil spill outward in some truly unpleasant ways. Films like Carrie, Rabid, May, Ginger Snaps, Teeth, etc. all take some of the stresses, the strains, and the insecurities of teenage femininity and remind us that, yowch, teenage girls have it pretty rough.
Feel free to toss a new Australian horror export onto the pile: It's a slick, quick, and surprisingly intense little anti-love story called The Loved Ones, and it's easily one of the coolest Aussie offerings of the past several years.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Directed by J Blakeson
None of which is to say that Blakeson's debut, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, is any sort of revolutionary genre film, but when someone is able to re-tell the old "hostage" story using only three actors, four locations, and (at least) five nifty twists, then I say that's a low-budget import that's worthy of some attention. And little things mean a lot: Disappearance is shot and presented in crisp and austere fashion, and it kicks off with a fantastic sequence in which two kidnappers (Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan) are preparing for their new arrival: We're treated to every last detail of their post-abduction preparations, and one can sense that Blakeson is starting out with crisp and efficient sequence -- just so we'll be able to feel the pressure once chaos starts to reign.