I was stunned by the lineup at the second annual Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival this past weekend! I can't think of another film festival I've gone to where I ended up liking most of the features and even loving more than a couple, but this four day festival set some standards for me. So when I assigned myself the task of selecting the ones I consider my top three, I absolutely hadn't considered how hard it would be to pick three titles and stick with them. Although every feature has reason to be on this list, this is the one I'm sticking with. Well... no, no. This is the list!
Extreme haunts are something I don't think I could ever handle. I get startled and scream way too easily, can't imagine trying to solve a puzzle or think rationally while also constantly looking over my shoulder, and I'm just generally not enticed by the experience... But I'll watch a movie about one any day! And Ruin Me is that movie.
"Alexandra reluctantly tags along for Slasher Sleepout, an extreme event that is part camping trip, part haunted house, and part escape room. But when the fun turns deadly, Alex has to play the game if she wants to make it out alive."
The next feature, from the director of Child Eater, Rökkur (Rift) really couldn't get much more opposite than the foliage shrouded eyeball ingestion film with the somewhat misleading name. Rift is expansive and isolated, but the story is actually incredibly small and personal, with only two characters through a majority of the film. I fell completely in love with the Icelandic setting; there was always something gorgeous to look at on screen and I could never tell where the story was going to go. And if you look to the IMDB synopsis for a clue as to the story, you'll be out of luck:
Two men in a secluded cabin are haunted by their dead relationship.
The only downside is that I must now wait until the film is released and distributed in order to watch it again.
I could talk about Terrifier for hours and in the past week, I feel like I have. Even if it was in my head, to myself. I feel like I've watched Art the Clown grow up from an awkward angsty teen into the expertly contoured, silent slasher he is now, and I can't wait to add this to my annual Halloween movie list.
An expansion of one segment of 2013's All Hallows' Eve, Terrifier follows one cohesive story line, and really allows Art's personality to develop. It's set on Halloween, much like its predecessor, and does not get precious with anything, to quote from a fellow Overlook creature. This movie gets brutal! And the special effects are all practical from what I could tell. I can say, without hesitation, that Art the Clown is my favorite horror clown; he's silent, mysterious, honestly has the craziest kills! The fact that this is an indie production just proves that you can't substitute talent for a big budget. I mean, look at Rob Zombie's 31... Terrifier is everything Zombie promised his movie would be and more. Without the ego, too, which is one of the most endearing things about this gruesome Halloween story.
A maniacal clown named Art, terrorizes three young women on Halloween night and everyone else who stands in his way.
One of the most damaging things you can do is walk into a movie with a list of expectations, but after looking forward to it for over a year, I couldn't help but have a couple.
And I was not disappointed.