Saturday, August 14

2021 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – Friday, August 13th

 Coda’s ongoing coverage of the 2021 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.


By Emery Snyder - @leeroy711

THE IMMORTAL JELLYFISH – Directed by Dusty Bias


Denny (Whitmer Thomas), a Southern ‘dirt bag’ artist is trying to make ends meet, living in his trailer on his Alabama riverfront property when a man, dying of gunshot wounds washes up on his shore. As one would expect, hilarity soon follows. With the help he enlists from Linda (Rosalyn Coleman), the woman at the other end of a ‘1-800’ Nurse’s hotline, the unlikely pair attempt to save the injured man whilst solving the mystery.

 This was a great way to start this year’s festival for me. This film was smart, breezy and hilarious for the most part. The performances were quite well done. Although, I’m not sure if was just his voice, but I caught more than a few glimpses in which Thomas seemed to be heavily channeling Jack Nicholson.

 The music in the film was fantastic. It felt regional and when combined with the scenery and cinematography, it gave the impression that I was being introduced to a slice of Americana that the filmmakers were already quite familiar with.

 I would only say that I think the film could have used a slight trim. I’m not opposed to a great monologue, but there are moments in here that didn’t quite work with the rest of the story’s momentum. It was as if the film was trying to give us an unnecessary breather. But overall, I enjoyed this flick a great deal and highly suggest it.

 Additional Screening: Sunday, August 15th @ 5:10 PM



BLOOD CONSCIOUS – Directed by Timothy Covell


Two siblings, Kevin (Oghenero Gbaje) and Brittney (DeShawn White) travel with Brittney’s husband (Lenny Thomas) to join their parents on their lake cabin. When they arrive however, they find their parents, as well as everyone else on the lake murdered by a mass shooter who claims that he was fighting off demons.

 This film was shot in 4:3 and the title sequence gave it a nice throwback feel at first. But it didn’t take long to realize how modern and unique this movie is. I’m not going to go too far into any specifics because this is one that would be hard not to spoil. But this is a story about fear itself as much as it is about anything. Fear manifests itself in many ways, and all are on display here. Suspicion, fear of others, fear of the unknown all sink their teeth into the characters navigating this tragic story. It’s a timely story that I found entirely engrossing.

On technical levels, this film succeeds. The performances were spot on, the score was haunting and the overall pacing did a great job of quietly building tension. I found this film to be extraordinarily interesting and I’m very hopeful that it will find its audience.  

Additional Screening: Sunday, August 15th @ 8:00 PM

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