Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NYCHFF Program 5: The Pack

Saturday - Program 5

After receiving just a few minimal hours of sleep Friday night, it was back to the city for Saturday's first screening. Now if your paying attention at home you might ask, what happened to Program 4? Was that just an error? Do I know how to count? Am I losing my mind? The answers being: No, Yes & Maybe.

The fourth program was a special event held by the festival for the attending filmmakers. A free camera-workshop program located at a nearby software store held a class for all those who wished to attend. Being that I'm no filmmaker I opted to skip out on that one.

This was the first time of the festival, where it was not exactly a packed house. I've learned to expect that from previous years. Either it's just too early for some to head into the city or maybe others were still hungover from the night before. Whatever the case, here is what I saw.

The shorts:

Recollection - After awakening in a freshly dug grave, a man with no name and no memories struggles to escape a nightmarish lair while trying to understand who he is and why he's being hunted. A predictable but very bloody short from director Federico D'Alessandro. I happened to like this one a lot. It has a twist ending I saw coming a mile away, but it didn't stop me from getting into the story.

Bienvendia A Casa (Welcome Home) - A tale of displacement, the undead, and the search for new beginnings that will redefine the meaning of family. This family won't leave you nor let you go. This film comes from Spain and that is what I felt is the best feature of this short. I've never been a fan of ghost stories but that's just a personal preference. That being the case I can't comment really on this one.

Compulsion - Curtis, a gleefully sadistic serial killer who preys on young women, follows Leslie home one night and terrorizes her only to discover he may have bitten off more than he can chew. Let me jump a little off track here, I no, I despise the 'Saw' movie franchise. I'm not going to get into that, but one thing that those movies have always used is the fast-cutting-editing sequence in between scenes. It's flashy in an MTV-sort of way and 'Compulsion' does this to death. The story is nothing too original and there is a lot of vulgar language. Not that I have a problem with that, but in this movie it just seems forced. Nothing comes out natural when said. I think it's obvious where I'm going with this one. To say that I didn't care for this short would be an understatement.

The Story of a Mother - In the coldest night, Death takes the life of a child and his mother will do everything to recover him, even lose all she has. This was an AMAZING short! From Italy, directed by Alessandro De Vivo & Ivano Di Natale. A beautifully shot 18 minute film that reminded me so much of the work of Guillermo Del Toro. There is a black & blue hue that paints over the entire thing that really gives it a creepy dark feel. This one ended up being one of best of the entire festival.

The feature film:

The Pack - The Pack follows Charlotte, a beautiful but rough around the edges kind of girl, who drives a beat-up station wagon in the countryside of northern France. Her journey takes a turn when she picks up a mysterious hitchhiker, with whom she strikes an unusual bond. Stopping at a roadside diner, her new companion strangely disappears and Charlotte finds herself knocked unconscious and held captive. She soon encounters a peculiar and disturbed woman and discovers that her blood is being used to feed a "pack" of flesh-eating ghouls.

One of my favorite directors of all time, Lucio Fulci had such films like City of the Living Dead & The Beyond just for example. I love those films and many international horror fans I'm sure will agree that Fulci, while he made some great stuff, a lot of them were just fun and made no fucking sense. I sort of got that feeling when watching 'The Pack'. It's not a ground breaking story but it is gory as hell and I had a good time watching it. The special effects were on point and the acting was actually pretty damn decent. I enjoyed this immensely and I'm awaiting to see more from this upcoming director Franck Richard.

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