Wednesday, August 18

2021 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – Tuesday, August 17th

 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

SET! – Directed by Scott Gawlik


SET! is a documentary that welcomes its viewers into the cutthroat world of competitive table setting. The film takes place over the course of the six-month period leading up to “The Olympics of Table Setting” (aka The Orange County Fair).

You know that thing that happens when a documentarian shows us a world that most of us never even knew existed and likely would have never even cared about, but to the subjects of the film, it’s the biggest and most important passion in their lives? Yeah, that happens here too. Similar to Seth Gordon’s 2007 film, THE KING OF KONG, this film showcases all of its subject’s traits and eccentricities, warts and all. It’s insanely engrossing and so much fun to watch.

Unlike KONG however, this story never seems to be interested in painting any of its subjects as the clear villain. This is fortunate. There are times that you could apply that moniker to a few of these people but thankfully, the film seems much more interested in an honest human portrayal. You could however, make the case for one of the competitors as the lovable underdog. In a world dominated by the ‘real housewives of Orange County’ spending hundreds or thousands of dollars at Cost Plus and antique shops on their setting, Tim, a broke, unemployed 41-year-old gay man enters a Cosplay contest in an attempt to fund his Dr. Seuss themed table. It seemed only natural to be cheering for him, but in all honesty, I’m here for all of it.

This film was wild, hilarious and a whole lot of fun. It’s not life changing or even challenging in any real way. But I’m confident that you will thoroughly enjoy spending this time with these people.


There’s nothing that I can find about a U.S. release date, but the film had a Discovery Plus logo at the beginning, so look for it there in the coming months.



WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING – Directed by Sean King O’Grady


A family of four seeks shelter from a storm in their bathroom but soon become trapped in there. As the storm passes, mysterious occurrences keep the family questioning what is happening. Was this just a storm? Or something far more diabolic?

This movie made me look up Cotard’s syndrome, or “walking corpse disorder”. Now that I know that is in fact real and what it actually is, I can safely say that this knowledge is an entirely unnecessary prerequisite for this film.

This one is a tough one to nail down. I neither loved nor hated it. It wasn’t boring, there are plenty of moments to shock and at times, absolutely disgust you. But there are also quite a few long lulls in the progression so it will take a bit of patience. The performances were well done. Sierra McCormick is a rising star in this world and she definitely has what it takes for longevity. And in this writer’s opinion, Pat Healy has solidified his position as independent horror’s most dependable actor. This isn’t news but his presence is what made me excited to see this one in the first place.

What makes this flick hard to write about is its multiple tonal shifts throughout the runtime. I really have no idea how seriously I was supposed to thinking about this. I won’t get into specifics but it actually reminded me of a 2007 film, THE SIGNAL, which was one continuous story, broken down into three distinct segments, each one by a different director. For better or for worse, that was the feeling I got here. Almost as if I was watching an anthology.

In spite of, or because of all of this, I still recommend the horror-hounds check this one out. If for no other reason, I need someone else to talk about it with. It’s been picked up by IFC Midnight so maybe I’ll revisit it in a few months.


Additional Screenings: Friday, August 20th @ 10:15 PM

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