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Telluride Horror Show: Day 1 - Efrit's Take

After Midnight

It isn’t often that someone tells me about a movie with a heavy dose of relationship drama and I get excited. But when one also adds that this movie is also a monster flick, it can change my mind really fast.

I wasn’t quite prepared for the movie that was After Midnight (directed by Jermey Gardner and Christian Stella) after the host introduced it, but you got to always keep an open mind. This is a pretty straightforward movie about a man who has ruined his own relationship with his 10-year girlfriend due to his lack of passion and willingness to change anything about his life.

That is pretty clear from the get-go. As we age, we tend to forget passion and feelings in place of routine. But this movie shakes this up by also having that normal mundane relationship stuff, but throwing a monster attack at the main character each night. As the attacks get more frequent and more violent, the relationship drama also builds, culminating in a 14 min long scene where tension builds from both the potential horror and relationship woes.

It is important to note that this movie is also pretty funny. Throughout the horror and drama there is a fair bit if comedy, and not just in the "let's break the tension" way. It naturally flows through the film giving the audience great break points. And don’t worry, the payoff in the very last scene of this movie is great as well. If you put me at gun point and asked me to pick a movie I loved at the festival right now this would be it, but also I am a demon so guns really don’t hold the same weight…never mind.

Horror Rating System Horror Qualifier: 6/10 Horror Quality: 6/10 Film Quality: 9/10

Wounds

We have been talking about this movie for a bit on the podcast. Starring Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnston and directed by Babak Anvari, Wounds is an amazing take on cult horror and the fall of a man from...well not really greatness, but there is definitely a fall.

The movie follows Armie Hammer’s character Will and shows us his fairly unstable life. He finds a phone after a fight at the bar he works and thing go downhill pretty fast. As Will tries to return the phone he finds some terrible things on it and gets mixed up with some very malevolent forces, surrounding a set of books called A Translation of Wounds. From there things get pretty crazy and Lovecraftian, by showing some really gross and unsettling stuff.

This movie has so many great visuals and sounds but suffers from a few too many fruitless jump scares. Not to say they are all annoying, just some of them have really sharp sounds and feel like they are throwing the kitchen sink at it to just make you jump. That is really my only criticism though and I am proud to say Hulu and Babak brought a great movie here.

Horror Rating System Horror Qualifier: 10/10 Horror Quality: 9/10 Film Quality: 7/10

Girl on the Third Floor

Haunted house flicks have a lot of predecessors to live up to. So seeing one usually leads me to judge them more harshly as they can sometimes be found beating a dead horse. However, even if they are not very unique plot-wise, some haunted house movies do have some of great horror effects and scares, but is it worth it to sit through something cliché and banal for it?

In Girl on the Third Floor, Travis Stevens does a great job of presenting us with a Witch in the Window-esque scenario while still trying to maintain uniqueness. We follow the main character Don, played by Phil Brooks as he renovates a house for his family. Don is not a great guy and within the first 30 min of the film we see this as he cheats on his pregnant wife with a girl next door type he meets.

But that is where the movie starts to get kind of interesting. We have seen a lot of relationship films today and I definitely think others did it better, but this one is less about forgiveness and more about learning when enough is enough with a relationship.

Despite the kinda mundane plot, the effects, scares and tension in this movie are fantastic, and I would suggest seeing it for that alone. From strange gross things happening in the house (that for some reason everyone feels the needs to stick their fingers in) to one of the creepiest ghosts I have seen in a long time, the horror is very much worth it. I would also suggest not trying to understand the plot, though, as you will just end up with more questions.

Horror Rating System Horror Qualifier: 10/10 Horror Quality: 8/10 Film Quality: 4/10

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