We’ve just got back from Oppdal, and Ramaskrik Film Festival. For the uninitiated, Ramaskrik is an annual horror film festival and Sister the Oldest has had the privilege of helping pick out movies for it for the past 2 years. Since Thursday, we’ve basically been in a vegetative state in front of a big cinema screen (as opposed to our usual vegetative state in front of a much smaller TV screen) absorbing horror movies and eating too much pizza. Here’s a recap of some high- (and low-)lights.
The Boy Behind the Door, dir: David Charbonier, Justin Powell.
Intense and tense movie about two boys who are kidnapped, in large parts carried by an amazing performance from Lonnie Chavis. Recommended!
Brain Freeze, dir: Julien Knafo
French-Canadian plant zombies on a private island for rich people. This one didn’t quite work for us. It’s not funny enough for a comedy, not scary enough for a horror, not political enough for a satire, and not dramatic enough for a drama. It sort of touched on several genres but didn’t quite fulfill any of them. It has some redeeming qualities though – the cast is very good, and they have found the most amazing baby who has ever existed. Seriously, that baby alone is worth the ticket money.
Benny Loves You, dir: Karl Holt
Jack works for a toy company, lives at home, and is hopelessly stuck in a state of arrested development. In an attempt to get his life together, he throws away his childhood toy Benny. Big mistake… Benny is not ready to let go.
Benny Loves You is adorable. Is it a perfect movie? No. But it is funny, gory, and extremely charming. So yes – if you get a chance, you should definitely check this out. We’ve watched it twice already…
The Deep House, dir: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
A couple goes diving to explore a flooded house. But they find more than they bargained for. This one divided us a bit. It’s a slow burner, and some found it a bit boring while the pace worked for others. We’re all in agreement about hating the boyfriend with a fiery vengeance though – he is such an asshole. We also agree that the ending was a bit meh. But all in all the movie is quite good – especially if you don’t mind a slow pace and an idiot boyfriend.
Kandisha, dir: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury:
A girl summons the Moroccan demon Kandisha for revenge after her ex assaults her. And Kandisha answers the call. This was a nice little demon movie with a cool monster and a good cast of characters. The French multi-cultural setting worked really well as well. Not overly memorable, but not bad either. Also directed by the same guys who made The Deep House.
Coming Home in the Dark, dir: James Ashcroft
A family is assaulted and then kidnapped by two drifters in New Zealand. Oooo, this was good! Very tense, very engaging, very well cast, and undeniably brutal and dark. Definitely recommended if you like long lasting psychological torture. And who doesn’t?
Antlers, dir: Scott Cooper
This is a long-awaited Wendigo movie and it almost lived up to the hype. The monster is awesome (del Toro was involved), the characters work, they balance the backstory really well (just enough information without dwelling on it), and the concept is great. We just wish there had been some more Native Americans in this movie about Native American myths… It’s a veeeery white movie.
In the Earth, dir: Ben Wheatley.
Mythical wood spirits and madness, probably exacerbated by mushrooms. Also British politeness leading to horrible consequences. The first half is great, the second half seems disconnected from the first. But amazing performances, especially by 1000 films blog favourite Reece Shearsmith. Not for everyone, but worth watching, even though it falls apart a bit towards the end. We enjoyed it.
The Night House, dir: David Bruckner
After her husband’s suicide, Beth starts to uncover his dark secrets in the lake house he built them. Fairly standard horror, but taken to the next level by an amazing Rebecca Hall! Also contains the most accurate picture of teachers out drinking ever captured on film. Recommended!
Titane, dir: Julia Ducournau
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, Julia Ducournau’s Titane probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. We were warned it would be shocking and weird before we went to see it, but we didn’t really find it all that shocking. Or that weird, really. We did however enjoy the hell out of it. Catch this one in the cinema!
The Sadness, dir: Rob Jabbaz
In Taiwan, a virus has been largely ignored by authorities until a mutation turns all the infected into sex-crazed, sadistic killers. Whoops! There had to be a zombie-virus film this year (we’re surprised there weren’t more, actually), and The Sadness offers up all the over-the-top gore you could possibly ask for. There’s also a Me Too-message in there, so ticks a lot of Zeitgeist boxes. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!
Alone With You, dir: Emily Bennett, Justin Brooks
Charlie is waiting for her (possibly psychologically abusive) girlfriend to come home, but finds herself trapped in her apartment as weird things begin to happen.
We watched this on our last day, and that may have been a mistake. Compared to the rest of the program, this wasn’t quite up to scratch. It might have worked as a 30 minute short, but there definitely wasn’t enough there for a full length feature. Meh.
The Night Shift (a.k.a. Ghost Mansion), dir: Jo Ba-Reun:
A Korean anthology about a cursed apartment building and some of the inhabitants who have lived (and usually died) there over the years.
This was cool, and became a bit of an audience favourite. The backstory of the building might have been a tad convoluted and not necessarily related to all the stories, but each short story worked really well. Check it out!
No Man of God, dir: Amber Sealey:
Not necessarily a horror, No Man of God tells the story of the relationship between Ted Bundy and the FBI analysist who worked with him after his arrest. It’s quiet and slow, but it packs a punch and is thoroughly engaging. Additionally, Elijah Wood manages to look 40 and 14 at the same time, and we love him all the more for it. Highly recommended!
The Advent Calendar, dir: Patrick Ridremont
Wheelchair bound Eva gets an old wooden advent calendar from a friend. A demonic calendar. With demons. Which was obvious from the look of it, but it’s surprising how many characters in horror movies have never actually seen a horror movie. Still, it was entertaining with a great concept and a cool monster. Perhaps a new Christmas tradition?
Slapface, dir: Jeremiah Kipp
Brothers Tom and Lucas live alone since the death of their mother. Tom tries to look after his little brother, but is not quite capable. And then Lucas befriends a monster in the woods… This is an excellent monster movie with compelling characters and sibling dynamics. The monster is also really good, and the movie is darker than you’d expect. Very good stuff!
Last Night in Soho, dir: Edgar Wright: Ho. Ly. Fuck. Yes. Yes please. Everyone must watch this. Stylish, intriguing and surprising, with a perfect cast and all the attention to detail we’ve come to expect from Edgar. We’re watching it again once it’s released in Norway.