Reviews for Cinema Axis: Blood in the Snow 2017

An urban legend and a novel mockumentary

Real-life commitments kept me from contributing much to Cinema Axis’ coverage of Blood in the Snow, Toronto’s annual showcase of Canadian low-budget filmmaking. But I did find time to get a couple of reviews in:

Blood in the Snow 2017

Buckout Road (Canada: dir. Matthew Currie Holmes, 2017). Anybody who’s ever watched a movie will recognize the Coping with Grief (what is it with movies about grief this year? See also half the movies I saw at either CIFF or Cinepocalypse) and Living with a Difficult Family clichés. On the bright side, I found Holmes’ direction surprisingly atmospheric, and the always-awesome Danny Glover and Henry Czerny make up for the complete lack of chemistry between the lead actors.

Fake Blood (Canada: dir. Rob Grant, 2017) examines the relationship between horror-movie violence and real-life violence through the lens of a found-footage or “mockumentary” film (see what I did there?). It’s a novel idea (while not wholly original; see also JT Petty’s S&man) that might have worked better if their approach was more conventional. The filmmakers concern themselves more with what happened than what will happen, leaving the audience in suspense for events that never come.

 

Reviews for Cinema Axis: Blood in the Snow 2016

I wrote three reviews for Cinema Axis’s coverage of this year’s Blood in the Snow film festival.

Farhang Ghajar and Jennifer Fraser star in CAPTURE KILL RELEASE

Capture Kill Release (directors: Nick McAnulty & Brian Allan Stewart) may be yet another found-footage horror movie in a world that doesn’t need any more of them, but at least it’s a good one. Farhang Ghajar and Jennifer Fraser shine in this tale of a young couple making their own snuff movie. This is what House of 100 Eyes could have been had it been done right.

It wasn’t really my thing, but I heartily recommend Holy Hell (director: Ryan LaPlante) to all fans of outrageous, over-the-top, Troma-style gross-out horror-comedies. LaPlante stars as a mild-mannered priest who takes up the path of holy vengeance after barely surviving a night at the mercy of a clan of twisted, depraved freaks. If nothing else, where else are you going to find a gun battle between a man of the cloth and a drag queen in a kitten mask?

The Sublet (director: John Ainslie) finds an engaged couple with a toddler son taking up residence in a creepy apartment with a sinister past. This modern-day riff on The Haunting of Hill House gets a lot right, including a fine performance from lead actress Tiana Nori, but the story fails to come together in a satisfying way, and the film feels like a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing.