October, and my Horror Movie Marathon, is over and that means it is time for my round up of the films I saw this year at the Vancouver International Film Festival. You see, I am lucky enough that where I live in the U.S. is just a quick trip over the border into downtown Vancouver. This allows me to attend the aforementioned Film Festival and share my thoughts about the movies I've seen with you guys, just like I did last year. So with that out of the way lets dive right in!
Director: Seth A. Smith
Starring: Danika Vandersteen, Woodrow Graves, Britt Loder
Plot: A mother and her young child retreat to a seaside house to spend some time recovering after her husband dies. After a short time she begins to have disturbing dreams and strange people start to show up on the beach. Is she going crazy or is something supernatural at hand?
Opinion: Made on the striking coast of Nova Scotia, this interesting little indie film was the first movie I saw this year at the VIFF. It has shades of Kubrick and Lynch, and just a little dash of Cronenberg style "body horror". I wish I could say that this all comes together and makes an amazing movie, but I would be lying. That is not to say that this is a bad movie by any stretch, it's just not a great one. The acting is hit or miss and the pacing is just a tad too slow, but it does have a great score and immersive sound design. Worth a watch for genre fans at the very least.
Director: Scooter Corkle
Starring: Dianna Argon, Rachelle Lefevre, Shawn Ashmore
Plot: Alison and Braydon Miller are pariahs in their small logging town ever since their father killed a local teen trying to make a getaway from a gas station robbery. Things get even worse though when it seems Braydon has killed his girlfriend's dad and disappears. Refusing to believe his guilt, Alison takes it upon herself to find the truth and her brother.
Opinion: Part of the wave of "Blue-collar Thrillers" that have sprung up in the wake of "No Country For Old Men", "Hollow" sadly for me was very underwhelming. It does feature some really solid performances and a genuinely likable main character in Argon's portrayal of Alison, but the story and it's conclusion fall prey to the old thriller trope of: "X" did it because of "Y" and here is why, even though we don't explain this plot point at all until the very end. The main reason this happens though is because the film tries to really build and evolve Alison as a character, and while I do appreciate the filmmakers trying to add more character development to the Miller family, the main story just ends up getting lost along the way.
Director: Wilson Yip
Starring: Louis Koo, Yue Wu, Tony Jaa
Plot: After a Hong Kong police officer's daughter goes missing in Thailand, he teams up with the team assigned to find her and uncovers a human organ trafficking ring with government connections.
Opinion: I'm a sucker for a good Kung-Fu action flick and Paradox hit me right in the sweet spot. Featuring fantastically brutal and inventive fight choreography from genre legend Samo Hung, and some great performances, including Tony Jaa's best role in years, this Chinese and Thai co-production was my favorite of the three films I saw this year at the VIFF.
Well that wraps up my experience at this years Vancouver International Film Festival! As always thank you for reading and I will see you next time!