Friday, 20 August 2010

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2010 Day 7 - Thursday August 19, 2010


Day 7 of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival and it means we are getting closer ad closer to the festival coming to a close, which is so sad! But before we shed tears let's look at the sheer terror of the Thursday night selections of medieval set Black Death and rape/revenge remake I Spit On Your Grave (2010).

Also check out my Day 7 Vlog!

Toronto After Dark operations director and programmer Shelagh Rowan-Legg introduces Black Death

Black Death
Dir: Christopher Smith (Severance)
Cast: Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Carice van Houten, Tim McInnerny, Kimberley Nixon, Johnny Harris

I was a little leery going into Black Death, as films set during times like the Plague and have anything to do with the Church and witchcraft tend to be extremely brutal, but a period piece with Sean Bean is something that I couldn't resist and I'm glad I didn't. The film is dark and brutal but the story and characters are compelling and complex, and keeps the viewer engaged throughout. It was actually very refreshing to see such a strong story driven period piece that although had action, it wasn't the focus so it certainly wasn't just bits of story to get us from action to action. It was a great story all the way through that was dark and heartbreaking but also rich and oddly inviting. It also had an astonishing atmosphere that was ripe with desperation and brutality. At the centre of the fantastic cast was Eddie Redmayne (Savage Grace) as Friar Osmund a young man of faith during the troubling times and he meets up with Ulric (Sean Bean) and his group of men who are also working under the directive of doing 'God's work' in regards to the plague. The film also features a fantastic performance by Carice van Houten (Repo Men) as Langiva, and it was awesome to see such a strong female character in the film and is likely one of the reasons I ended up liking it so much. It wasn't an easy watch and certainly had it's fair share of brutality and torture, but it was much more contained than I would have expected and honestly I think that made it very effective. Overall, a happy dark surprize of the festival.



I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
Dir: Steven R. Monroe
Cast: Sarah Butler, Chad Lindberg, Jeff Branson, Daniel Franzese, Rodney Eastman, Andrew Howard, Tracey Walter

I Spit on Your Grave (2010) was going to be the one film I was going to skip this year, as I don't enjoy films with rape or revenge, let alone both with are the focus of this remake of the 1978 film of the same name. But when I heard that the director would be in attendance, my curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to be there to hear the Q&A. In terms of the film, I'll give it that it's very clear what you are getting into and the festival was very clear about the intensity of it as well, it features a lot of sexual violence, torture and terror and I think it is important to know that going in. In terms of the film, it's well made, extremely well paced and every single thing in it contributes to making it tense and terrifying from concept to execution. I still don't understand the appeal of or interest in this kind of film though, or who the audience is and why they like it. But it was received well and there was lots of cheering throughout the gory revenge.

Warnings: sexual violence, torture, gore, disturbing imagery & ideas

See selections from the introduction and Q&A to I Spit on Your Grave (2010) with director Steven R. Monroe here.

Rue Morgue's Dave Alexander with I Spit on Your Grave (2010) director Steven R. Munroe

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2010 runs from August 13 - 20, 2010 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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