Saturday, April 7

2018 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – Friday, April 6th 2018

2018 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – Friday, April 6th 2018

Coda’s ongoing coverage of the 2018 Phoenix Film Festival & International Horror Sci-Fi Film Festival. I'll be using these posts to recap the films I've experienced as part of these festivals.

FOREVER B (ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT) – Directed by Skye Borgman

Before I went into this true crime documentary, a friend told me that it would be fun to count how many times I said “WTF” during the screening. Now, I’m not all that hip to all of these new internet acronyms and I’m far too scared to Google them so I’ll just assume that WTF stands for “Wow!!! This Film!!!”
This story takes place in a small Mormon community in Idaho in the mid 1970’s where apparently, literally anything, including alien abduction is more plausible than pedophilia. It’s kind of like the mirrored image of Andrew Jarecki’s CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS (’03). All extreme forms of trust issues are explored, from dumbfounding naiveté to crippling paranoia. This film may leave you questioning its authenticity but, who could possibly make something like this up, and why in the hell would they?

DOWNRANGE – Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura

VERSUS (2000) director, Ryûhei Kitamura brought his new high concept thriller of a gore-fest to the IHSFF this year. The opening scene sets up the entirety of the plot. And even before anything significant happens, this film appears to assume that its audience has seen the trailer or read the synopsis. It exploits some existing horror tropes to throw a few misdirecting shots around. Also, I’m beginning to wonder if we’re about to see a revival of the split diopter camerawork. This is the 2nd release this year that I’ve seen it used (the other being STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT) and it gave an interesting effect.
I may be giving this film more credit for its timeliness than is warranted. But, we live in a day and age in which someone with the means will randomly kill others, just because they can. This film, in Kitamura’s over-the-top flare, does an overall good job at playing on the collective fears of living in modern day America.

FERAL – Directed by Mark Young

This year is actually the unofficial Scout Taylor-Compton film festival. She stars in 3 films including this one, CYNTHIA and ANDOVER. She’s pretty great so I’m into it…
I’m always a little curious about horror flicks like this. It sets up a sort of mystery for the characters to solve. But answer is usually fairly obvious to the audience. I’m not sure how I feel about this. And I wasn’t too thrilled with how this was shot. Lots of close ups are great for dramatic tension but when the horror action starts, it makes it too hard for the viewer to keep track of the space being used. Overall, amid its shortcomings, this film ultimately succeeds as a combo cabin-in-the-woods/creature feature.

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