Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hell Follows (2016) Slamdance 2017

Dear God I love it when I run across a filmmaker with style to burn. Brian Harrison has style to burn and then some. His great short HELL FOLLOWS is a possible portent of great things to come.

The film nominally the story of a good brother taken over by his dead evil brother who then goes off to get revenge. There isn't much more than that, but it doesn't need more than that because the film is a calling card of a someone with talent.

Shot largely in black and white in the style of a Japanese neo-noir but with occasional flashes of color HELL FOLLOWS looks like it was shot by one of  the current slew of Japanese filmmakers such a Takashi Miike in one of his manic moods or Sion Sono or one of a half dozen other who are bouncing around my brain. It also has a touch of Frank Miller's Sin City comic welded into it as well.

Normally I would be unhappy with a film that seemingly is borrowing so much from so many different places (even the credits remind me of other films) but the film is so masterfully done that I can see the influences but I can not for the life of me tell what precisely they are. Harrison is using what he knows and is forming his own cinema. Yes this looks like Miike and Miller but it's clearly not- this is the work of a filmmaker who is going bigger or reaching higher and making something greater because he can use the past to stand on. This is in direct contrast to someone like Quentin Tarantino who steals from other directors but does so in such away that we can see where he's lifting from.Tarantino is less concerned with creating something new than refashioning something old. Harrison is creating something new.

One some level the film is pure form over content, with the film being largely bits of flashy storytelling, but at the same time the film is so well done it drags you along to the point that when you reach the end credits you genuinely want to see what happens next. Is this film a show reel for a feature? If it is I'll buy my ticket to that feature right now.

This is a must see and one of the unexpected joys of the new film year.

The film plays at Slamdance in the Anarchy Shortstonight at 1030 and Monday at 10pm local time. For tickets and more information go here.

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