THE INTERIOR (2015 BURIED ALIVE FILM FEST)

There is a moment at film festivals that really differ from any other movie watching experience.  This moment is directly after the credits, your short time to stretch your legs, go to the bathroom and check your phone messages.  What happens during this time is the best, you talk with other festival goers and see what the “other guy” thought.  The festival that I saw The Interior was a horror festival and found that I may have been one of the only viewers who really loved this flick.

Most people said that it was too slow or that was not enough true “horror” in this film.  My unpopular opinion was hard to defend.  Yes, it was slow.  Yes, it wasn’t a conventional horror story…but dammit!  It was beautiful, introspective and created a meandering experience that hit that sweet spot between the experimental docudrama of Herzog and the eeriness of a tent horror film like The Blair Witch Project.  I tell this long story to prepare you, THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL HORROR FLICK.  This is something contemplative and experimental.  It sticks with you for days and takes time to simmer and really be appreciated.

 

The story is about James who is an office worker in his mid-twenties.  He lives a meandering and miserable life, without any real passion or direction.  He eventually goes to a doctor about some minor symptoms and gets some troubling news (which the details are never explained).  From there he eventually cuts all ties and moves to the woods because he “wants the opposite of this”.  He then wanders the woods and starts to experience terrifying nightmares and run-ins with strangers, deep within the dense woods of Canada.

 

There is very little when it comes to plot or story and instead focuses on the existential horror of being a young man who may not live long enough to figure out what he wants in life.  That is much scarier to me than monsters or masked killers and there is no place better to experience this than deep inside of nature.  The sound design heightens both the serenity and tension, using either natural soundscapes or intense classical pieces.  I could go on and on about how much I love this movie, but don’t want to venture into spoiler territory.  What I can say is that this is a movie worth your time and attention, especially if you are sick of half-assed paranormal flicks.  This is a beautiful film that will eventually find its audience and I will not be surprised to find it on a lot of top ten lists for 2015.  The Interior is currently on its festival rounds and I will update when release  dates are available.

4/5 STARS

THE LAST SHIFT (2015)

Siege films are one of the great, unsung genres of film that often gets overlooked.  Its usually overshadowed by its more popular labelS (Horror or Action).  A lot of folks forget that Night of the Living Dead, Assault on Precinct 13 and Demons all share the same plot lines.  I love this concept of peopled holed up together, trying to weather a storm or survive the night.  This setting creates a suspense and dramatic edge that few other styles capture.  The Last Shift is another strong entry into this subgenre.  It may not be wholly original (borrowing heavily from the three movies I mentioned earlier), but makes up for it in sheer creepiness.

The movie starts with a young, female officer named Jessica Loren showing up to her first day at work.  She is assigned to work the last shift at a closing precinct, while the rest of the department makes the transition to a new building.  Once there, she learns more about a satanic cult that reigned terror over their small town and took her father’s life.  We get a ride to madness revealing a villain who addresses himself as “The King of Hell”.

The plot is simple, but the director/co-writer (Anthony Diblasi) builds up each scare like a well mapped funhouse.  The imagery becomes increasingly darker as each set piece builds to the next, making the pace feel almost stressful.  What stands out most is the eerie sound design.  The film utilizes a looping sound style that makes the most mundane seem sinister.  There are a few things that feel cheap, but the budget and overall creepiness makes it all pretty forgivable.  I suggest that you give this little movie a shot and make sure to turn out all the lights and blare your surround sound.  The Last Shift is currently available on DVD.

3.5/5 STARS