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Fantastic Fest Wrap Up: Day 6

October 4, 2010
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Jane: I am happy to say that my last day of Fantastic Fest was also my favorite day of viewing.  I was able to catch a press screening of Rubber (directed by Quentin Dupieux) which was added after selling out of both of it’s previous screenings and I am so glad that I did.  When I read the synopsis for Rubber (roughly, an abandoned tire comes to life and rolls across a desert – annihilating everything that crosses it’s path) I thought it sounded interesting, but more like material suited for a short feature.  I was curious to see how well it would play out over an 85 minute running time and I am delighted to report that it was wonderful.

Kidnapped (directed by Miguel Angel Vivas) Any residual  joy that I experienced from watching Rubber was quickly snuffed out during the screening of this film.  A bleak, super-tense story about home invasion in which a family is taken hostage by three violent and armed men – Kidnapped takes the final minutes of the film in a surprising direction that made it an interesting watch for me.

Corridor (directed by Johan Storm and Johan Lundborg and starring Emil Johnsen) A very clever, tight Hitchcock-ian film about a medical student named Frank who suspects that some unsavory deeds are going down in the apartment above him.  This feature showcases my favortie brand of humor (dry and awkward) and I loved that the film-makers use sound – rather than visuals – to inform both Frank and the audience.  Really good stuff.

A Horrible Way To Die (directed by Adam Wingard and starring AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz and Joe Swanberg) was my favorite domestic feature of the festival.  This film was shot in Columbia, Missouri (where I was born) and is an original, nuanced take on a serial killer story (as well as a love story).  AJ Bowen (The House of the Devil, Hatchet 2) gave an incredible performance - in fact I really liked how naturally everyone played their parts, the subtle stylistic choice to do so really gave the film an edge.  The concept of taking an ordinary person and placing them in an extraordinary situation isn’t entirely new, but the unique story, realistic performances and un-flashy, familiar (at least to me)  Midwestern setting made this a refreshing film that stood out in the crowd.  I would recommend seeing it without hesitation.

Helldriver (directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura) This was the Secret Screening feature (it was preceded by 8 minutes of Jackass 3-D footage and which was introduced by Steve-O, who set his head alight – like you do) and gives Naan Kadavul a fair run for it’s money for being the most bizarre thing I have seen at Fantastic Fest. Helldriver is kind of a zombie movie, but mostly it is a visual and audio bombardment on an epic scale – the likes of which make Hausu look like a contemplative essay on hushed subtlety.  Fans of Nishimura’s previous work are in for something.

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