Godspeed, Directed by Robert Saitzyk, 2009
I'll have a longer review of Robert Saitzyk's indie thriller Godspeed closer to its DVD release on April 20th, but in short it's an unique, impressive little film. Written by Saitzyk and actor Cory Knauf (The Hamiltons), Godspeed tells the story of a faith healer, Charlie (Joseph McKelheer), in rural Alaska whose life is shattered when his wife and son are murdered. The tragedy turns him into a bit of a woods-bound hermit until one day a young girl recognizes Charlie from his faith-healing days, which sets him on a strange journey that eventually intersects with his past.

I'd say more, but given the unreleased nature of the movie I'd rather err on the side of caution so as to not give too much away. Still, it's a pretty interesting excursion into the more restrained, thoughtful side of independent horror. Saitzyk really knows how to capture the Alaskan frontier whilst building big moments for his characters with minimal dialog. Unfortunately the script isn't as resourceful as the directing, often dragging out exchanges longer than they need to be. Even with those hiccups, though, Godspeed is still an interesting, worth-your-time diversion from typical indie horror films, which tend to opt for gore and sex over ideas.

Frailty, Directed by Bill Paxton, 2001
I love Frailty, I just do. It's the kind of movie that's difficult for me to talk about because I know everything I say is going to be positive. Brent Hanley's script really only has one problem, which arrives late in the game, and even that I'm willing to forgive because I still think the whole is better than that one narrative snag. This is easily my favorite Bill Paxton role and I really wish he would direct more often. He's got a great instinct for how to blend the fantastical with the mundane until they merge together in a beautiful, surreal way. Plus, it's a nice change of pace for the otherwise extreme personality that is Matthew McConaughey.

I've seen Frailty at least half a dozen times and it still has scenes that grab me by the balls, thanks in no small part to a kick-ass score by Brian Tyler. When Paxton lays his hands on one of the "demons" on his list for the first time...it still has me sitting bolt upright. I just love this movie.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil
, Directed by Eli Craig, 2010
I don't know where Eli Craig and co-writer Morgan Jurgenson have been hiding, but if they made horror comedies for the rest of the careers, I'd be absolutely okay with that. Unlike the other horror comedy that played SXSW, the brilliant Australian gem The Loved Ones is more straight horror with keenly paced beats of levity, Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a steadfast comedy that happens to be playing around with horror tropes. Craig and Jurgenson's script turns the hillbillies kill co-eds in the woods script 180 degrees by making the hillbillies, Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk, the victims and the stupid co-eds the ones who keep accidentally killing themselves.

The humor comes fast and fierce for the first hour of the film, which leaves the second, slower half reeling to recover. Still, it's not a huge, deal-breaking complaint to say that the really funny half of the film is better than the merely funny other half. Labine and Tudyk are a perfect duo on screen, so much so that I can't imagine this film being made with anyone else in the lead roles. I can't wait to see this again. I'm really pretty surprised between Tucker & Dale playing Sundance and SXSW to unanimous praise that it still lacks a distributor. I really hope someone steps to the plate soon.