Monday, May 08, 2006

The final batch from Tribeca

We finish with two horror flicks. Why? Because we didn't get to them until now. The Sundance film festival is having a roadshow at the Brooklyn acadamy of music over the next two weeks. I think I'll go to that. In the meantime, here they is:

Sam's Lake

Written and Directed
byAndrew C. Erin

The first great horror sequel was “Bride of Frankenstein” then we had “Son of Frankenstein” then “Dracula’s Daughter.” Over the years, monster’s relations became a joke. Before we started having roman numerals after the title, we had brothers and sisters.

But not recently, sure Jason’s mother was the original monster in “Friday the Thirteenth I,” and Freddy’s daughter made an appearance [as a good guy] in at least one of the “Nightmare on Elm Streets,” but for the most part, the profession of supernatural slasher/killer hasn’t usually been one passed down from generation to generation. Which makes this one a bit different.

Every summer, Samantha(Fay Masterson) likes to take friends up to her old homestead on the lake, way out in the Canadian wilderness. This time, she’s bringing her gay friend Dominik(Salvatore Antonino) his business partner Kate(Sandrine Holt) and their friends
Franklin(Stephen Bishop) and Melanie(Megan Fahlenbock) to spend a beautiful week lounging around the natural world.

So we see them joking around back home and looking at all the beautiful scenery on the way north. But all is not well. When we get near the area of the lake, we see strange corncob figures hanging from the houses and at the last-chance general store. There’s even a mysterious figure that scares one of the friends.

Apparently, in the past, people would disappear and be replaced by one of the dolls. But that was a story. When they finally get to the lodge, they’re met by Sam’s old pal Jesse(William Gregory Lee), who helps set up a cookout, and tells scary stories about the famous boogieman(Robert William Smith). Then they explore the notorious ruined house. Then we get the plot twist, and the second half of the film is one long chase. Who’s going to get offed first?

Will the boogieman get our campers before his kids do? Who are the kids anyway and how do they relate to Sam? That’s part of the fun and is in fact one of the neater twists in recent years. The acting is really good, especially the actors who change into the monsters.

Conversations on slasher tactics on the fly is something genuinely new. Worth the money.

The Gravedancers

Directed by
Mike Mendez

The art of the slasher movie is getting old. It’s pretty much the same tired old game. Who gets it first? The question is are there any thrills before you get bored to death.

It’s the funeral of an old friend, and Allison(Clare Kramer) and Harris McKay(Dominic Purcell) have an encounter with Kira Hastings(Josie Maran), an old girlfriend that Allison obviously hates. But there are times when bygones should be bygones, and She lets Harris and Kira go off to do some drinking with Sid Vance(Marcus Thomas), who was good friends with Harris, Kira and the corpse long before. After drinking quite a bit, the threesome goes over to the graveyard to share some liquor with the dear departed, when they come across a strange greeting card on his gravestone.

They read the poem printed on it and dance on some graves (natch—otherwise they’d have to call it something else) and are followed home by some evil poltergeists. These drive the foursome crazy [Kira gets it too, she lives with Harris], they get in touch with Professors Vincent(TchĂ©ky Karyo) and Culpepper(Megahn Perry), who are the official ghostbusters for the local college. They have this big spooky house with all sorts of nifty instruments.

So we’ve got a final battle with the ghosts, who get stronger and stronger as the movie progresses. The film isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, the inconsistencies don’t stick out like a sore thumb, and the implied commentary on science and adultery is actually kind of refreshing, but there’s not enough of it.

Most of this thing is your typical slasher shit, but if you’re a fan of same it’s worth a look.

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