Between now and the start of the New Zealand FIlm Festival, I’m going to go through the program section by section, detailing my top picks. I’m starting in what is my favourite section; Ant Thompson’s Incredibly Strange selection of films.
Not since the gory, hilarious Re-Animator first exploded onto the scene has the sci-fi horror genre seen so much demented fun. A decade in development, it took the backing of Guillermo del Toro and a large FX budget for this experiment in horror to finally reach the big screen. Vincenzo Natali, director of the cult hit Cube, has upped the ante and created a hybrid horror that grafts the cine-DNA from Frankenstein, Rosemary’s Baby and The Fly. Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are hipster geneticists whose brilliant experiments in bioengineering involve recombining DNA from different animals. As in all mad scientist movies, after being warned not to continue, the hungry-for-fame geneticists do exactly that and before you can scream ‘Help meeeeee!’ a human-animal embryo begins gestating. The resulting creature feature upholds its B-movie origins even as it delivers perverse eye-popping set-piece action and extraordinary state-of-the-art FX. – NZFF
For one, it’s directed by Vincenzo Natali and stars Adrien Brody. But more than that, it oozes B grade horror mixed with believable CGI – cumulating in what the trailer promises to be a truly terrifying experience.
UK genre wunderkind Christopher Smith’s follow-up to Creep and Severance is as mystifying and haunting as its connection to the Bermuda Triangle. Melissa George stars as Jess, a sexy young suburban mum with an autistic son who is invited on a sea voyage. With her son inexplicably missing, Jess boards the yacht and begins to have strange dreams. When the yacht is battered by a freak electrical storm, its occupants end up on the overturned hull before the spooky arrival of a deserted ship called the SS Aeolus comes to their rescue. Before audiences can reach for their Greek mythology cheat notes, a masked figure with a shotgun turns up and all Hades breaks loose. Triangle fuses the time paradoxes of former fest hits Primer and Timecrimes with the raw isolated horror of The Shining. And just when audiences think they have a handle on proceedings, Smith throws them a curveball that’ll cause migraines and major freak-outs. -NZFF
I never got round to seeing Severance though it did look like a delicious, freaky but fun film. I have however, come to appreciate England’s chilling grasp on the horror genre, watching such well produced efforts as Donky Punch, Hush and Eden Lake, and with this in mind, find myself salivating at a new British horror to which Ant Thompson describes as having ‘a curveball that’ll cause migraines and major freak-outs.’ The only possible disappointment being that it only has once screening.