Wednesday, April 11

2018 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – Tuesday, April 10th 2018

2018 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – Tuesday, April 10th 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.

REVENGE – Directed by Coralie Fargeat

This was a pretty phenomenal rape revenge film. The first 20 or so minutes is shot like an erotic music video. There is absolutely nothing subliminal about the male gaze that is being exploited. Jen, our main character is gawked at by the camera even more than her eventual assaulters.

But that all changes at the drop of a dime. The polished sheen is still there but now the subject of the gaze has been abandoned and replaced with something grotesque and cinematically unfamiliar. I'm not sure if you should say that this film subverts the male gaze exactly. It was more like the intent was to flip the perspective around to show us just how ugly the other side is. We men should take note and be concerned if this how women see us.

All of the performances are quite good and the soundtrack was a lot of fun but what really made the difference for me was this film's cinematography. Amazingly unflinching close-up captured some of this flick's most disturbing and unsettling imagery. Then in the action scenes, we are treated to some great long takes and tracking shots. The director and cinematographer had a great grasp of how to translate spacial relations cinematically and this is something that is seriously lacking in a lot of today's genre films.

CYNTHIA – Directed by Devon Downs & Kenny Cage

I probably should have caught this one on opening night. I think it would have greatly benefited my viewing experience to have been in a much more crowded screening with a rowdy audience... That's really just the kind of movie this is. This is a low budget romp of a horror comedy in the same vein as Frank Henenlotter's BASKET CASE or even Larry Cohen's IT'S ALIVE. And that's exactly how serious you are supposed to take it.

I would absolutely like to single out Scout Taylor-Compton's performance however. The plot of this movie is ridiculous and the practical effects are well... charming. And a lot of the cast seemed to put just that level of effort into it. Even Sid Haig seemed to be phoning it in. But not Taylor-Compton. She committed to her role and nailed it. I can't tell you how much I appreciate when performers give that level of effort in films like this. I takes professionalism, grace and humility and it makes film lovers like me a fan of her talent.

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