Closing out Telluride Horror Show on Sunday is always a bittersweet experience. It was full of some great horror moments, but it also is the swan song for THS, and depression is setting into my cold, lifeless heart...but onto the reviews!
Possum follows a disgraced, disturbed children's puppeteer who must face his uncle and the revolting puppet that hides in a brown bag in order to conquer his past. Using thick atmosphere and suffocating subtlety and imagery, Possum attacks the psyche of the audience as much as its protagonist.
This movie found the line for excessive arthouse symbolism and metaphors, crossed it, then came back around and almost lapped it. It's simply overwhelming for a good portion of the film. It makes important details difficult to manifest, and makes the audience's interest ebb and flow at the whim of the story's pace, which is generally a snail's pace.
Some of the dark and heavy moments even became unintentionally laughable because of the execution and heavy-handed approach. It's a film that, in my opinion, requires a niche audience.
Having a good idea this was going to be the case going in, it didn't end up being a significant turn-off for me...but it will be a difficult task for a lot of horror viewers out there. So I'm turning my attention to things I loved.
Sean Harris in the lead role was amazing. He did an absolutely fantastic job in the role as the disturbed puppeteer fighting a traumatic past, and present. In one particular scene, he's recalling a past traumatic experience and his empty stare and realization-inducing quick twitch of the eyes was a thing of brilliance.
And also, that puppet was one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen in film. Moving or not, you're haunted by its presence, whether in focus, out of focus, in the peripheral. But when that thing does move...and it does...it was one of the scariest things I've ever seen. It may very well make your skin crawl.
The film is flawed, particularly in the sense that it isn't very inclusive for a wide range of audiences. While I appreciate a great deal of the movie's depth and motif, it can be seen as a difficult watch. But still, a lot of respect to go around.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
Film Quality: 7/10
SCIFI/DARK FANTASY SHORTS BLOCK
Big Data "L1ZY" - An AI system takes over a family home over the course of several commercials. The short I was expecting to be like Great Choice wasn't quite like that, or quite as good, but was still a hilarious and brilliant commentary on the direction technology and AI is taking us. I loved it. HORROR SHORT RATING: 9/10
Suspended - A woman has a terrifying experience on her routine trip on the bus. I wasn't sure what to expect from this one going in, but it crossed off a lot of stuff off the scifi/horror list. HORROR SHORT RATING: 8/10
Floor 9.5 - A quick little horror piece about a woman who gets on an elevator and gets stuck between floors, entering a realm that may not be reality. Short and sweet with a really interesting concept. HORROR SHORT RATING: 8/10
Occupant - A man notices a possible intruder in his backyard at night. An otherwise ordinary concept takes a fun scifi turn. It's not particularly unique, but very well executed. HORROR SHORT RATING: 7/10
Time Enforcer - The heavy-handed 80's homage of the whole thing went from endearing to over-the-top really quick. But, the story is amazing. HORROR SHORT RATING: 7/10
Tater - A more mild 80's throwback than the above, this comedic creature feature has a lot to love, with some fun practical effects and Dead Alive violent slapstick style. HORROR SHORT RATING: 8/10
Prey - A couple tries to survive a stalker in a parking garage. Arguably the best twist of the weekend, well produced. HORROR SHORT RATING: 8/10
Infinity Tree - While I generally prefer the dead-fast shorts, I would've liked a little more to this one. It sets up an intriguing world that I would've liked to see a little more of. HORROR SHORT RATING: 6/10
Pandora - I set high expectations for this one and they were a bit let down. The weak acting, conventional cinematography, ordinary story, and seemingly poor choices in its effects work led to a let down. HORROR SHORT RATING: 5/10
Wyrmwood - A preview of sorts set in the world of the Wyrmwood movie, it's a violent romp through a zombie-infested post apocalypse. HORROR SHORT RATING: 6/10
We're already waiting for next year to come around...Efrit and I may work on some spells to get us to October next year, though I suppose we'll wait till after the 31st. Thanks, THS, for another awesome year!