Nicholas Ferwerda’s “Family Game Night” is a short that I could actually see becoming a feature film somewhere down the road. The potential for a dark comedy horror film is right there. As a short though, it’s a very good and very darkly eccentric horror film with a fun twist on the conventional nuclear family concept that entertains successfully.
Corealie Fargeat’s “Revenge” is kind a new chapter in the rape revenge sub-genre of thrillers and horror films. It deconstructs an often very controversial and polarizing sub-genre to make it less about the exploitation of women and more about the empowerment of a woman who even views herself as a sex object when we meet her. “Revenge” is a grueling film to endure, but one that is also quite fantastic in its imagery and depiction of men as less cunning sexual predators and more slimy snakes that prey on a woman who proves she is a pure force of vengeance to be reckoned with.
Written by Josh Collins and Steven G. Michael with Collins directing, Fags in the Fast Lane is a low-brow, tongue-in-cheek comedy that goes for a style and universe that would make John Waters proud. The humor and the story are in your face, over the top with just about everything and the glittery kitchen sink thrown at the viewer. The story is one that includes something to shock or offend everyone. The trashploitation sub-genre is well represented here and viewers who won’t have been stopped by the film’s title should find something to have fun with here.
As a killer offs all other sisters in their sorority, two young women argue as to which one will survive based on completely arbitrary characteristics leading the killer to wonder if he’s the crazy one or they are.
I remember a time where it was nearly impossible to get a film like “Fags” made, but now we’re in a glorious time where the LGBT community is allowed to be fun and unleash their creative visions. “Fags in the Fast Lane” is Andy Warhol, John Waters, Russ Meyers, and a dash of Frank Henenlotter thrown in to a blender and given some pretty fun tweaks here and there allowing Josh Collins and writer Steven G. Michael to go as far out there as he wants. Thankfully he never loses track of the narrative or the film’s genuinely weird sense of humor once. “Fags” is a very LGBT aimed action comedy but it also has an admirable sense of self-awareness always looking for any reason to poke fun at itself.
“Truth or Dare?” is a movie that feels like it belongs in 2005 where Hollywood was churning out abysmal remakes of mediocre Japanese horror movies. And that’s what it felt like I was sitting through. It feels like somewhere there’s an original Japanese version of “Truth or Dare?” that’s sadly not even very good, either. “Truth or Dare?” comes from Blumhouse which is usually great about releasing bold and unique horror movies. Even when they land with a thud, their cinematic experiments usually have potential to impress. “Truth or Dare?” wants to be this modern tech iteration of “It Follows” and “The Ring.” With a competent director and writer, this could very well have been a haunting story about the damaging effect of secrets, trauma, and how we never quite know the people we love.
“And it was going so good too.” That’s my initial reaction to the third act of “Ghost Stories” which feels like one gigantic cop out of a finale. You can reason that the creators wanted to introduce these esoteric ideas that come colliding, but I felt like “Ghost Stories” just ran out of ideas and just stopped trying. I’m also not a fan of the underlying message about how lack of belief is linked to being some kind of bitter individual with a horrible life. Either way I imagine the finale to “Ghost Stories” will be a very polarizing element in the horror movie world in 2018. I think some horror fans will defend its radical approach while others will lambast it for trying way too hard. I’m in the latter category. I didn’t buy its self important morality play.