Our correspondent Robert Melville has recovered enough from four days of horror movies at the New York City Horror Film Festival to give us a report of the the second program of films.
Friday Night - Program Number 2
I arrived at Tribeca Cinemas just shortly after 7, for the upcoming first screening of the evening. To my surprise, there was already a line forming to get in the theatre. I certainly was not expecting that, but it moved rather quickly and we were in the door in no time. Now I'm not sure, but I think this screening was either a complete sell out or at least a near one. Regardless just like the previous night, it was a packed house. It's great to see so many people come out to support independent horror.
*Side note* DB, it was very cool catching up with you again and being able to chat for awhile before the movies eventually started. Also, a big thanks for letting me review the festival on the site. Much appreciated, my man.
Ok, well let's get down to it.
Remote - Temporarily connected in time, a man tries to prevent a murder of a young woman, living in his house 30 years in the past. Now this is the type of the film, to start out an evening. A very original, clever piece that I was delighted to have seen. Granted, this was only the second program, but this might have been the best thing I had watched so far. Major props to director Marc Roussel for making a smart little movie, that definitely stood out from the rest. Well done.
Laura - Laura is on her way back home and not feeling so well, so you better not try to do anything stupid with her. This 10 min. short from France, turns the tables on the old Killer goes after the helpless female cliche. While the female lead doesn't exactly go 'I Spit on Your Grave' style on the villain of the story, it was amusing watching her pull out her best Mortal Kombat style moves. I enjoyed it.
DemiUrge Emesis - A mummified cat is tormented by the skeletons of past meals in this stop-motion short, directed by goth-alternative singer/songwriter Voltaire and narrated by Danny Elfman. If you're a fan of Tim Burton style animation films, then this would be for you. Personally, I am not. I've never enjoyed A Nightmare Before Christmas and I doubt I ever will, but now I'm getting side tracked. Regardless, I'll give credit where credit is due, for a 3 minute piece, I thought it was kind of cool. Now if only Burton could make something that short, I'd stop cursing his name.
The feature film:
YellowBrickRoad - One morning in 1940, the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire walked north together up an unmarked trial and into the wilderness. They left behind their clothes, money, and essentials. Their dogs were tied to posts and left to starve. Many were later found frozen to death. Others were found slaughtered. But most were never found. In 2010, the coordinates for the 'YELLOWBRICKROAD' trail-head are declassified. An expedition begins in hope of answers. A few among them believe they will find something terrible in the forest. But it is the forest that will find something terrible in them.
Oh boy, you know I'm really torn on this film. There's things I enjoyed yet there were moments when I wished it would end already. For a 1hr 40min movie, to me it really felt so much longer. Which of course, does not help its case. The film throughout really gives off a Blair Witch Project feel to it, with the obvious difference being that YellowBrickRoad is not just held to a nightscape atmosphere. There are some real genuine creepy moments in the film. The characters are well established, and the locations work in the film's favor.
So, why the hate? To me, as the movie rolled along I was starting to get the feeling that, it was just not going to wrap itself up in a nice little bow. I was beginning to get frustrated by the lack of payoff and then 'The Shining' influenced ending just sealed the coffin for me on this one. The first half of the movie, I was totally on board. I was digging what I saw but as stated as it continued, it just felt like the same thing was happening over and over again. I grew tired of it.
Another issue, I think this is a film that will only end up working in a theatre setting. Unless you live in a cave with big booming speakers blasting in your ear, you won't get the same effect as being in a darkened screening room.
YellowBrickRoad has gained a lot of positive reviews across the horror sites, at least from what I've seen. So, if you are going to check this out, find a theatre that is playing it in your area. Waiting for a DVD release, I wouldn't recommend.