Friday, 28 October 2011

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011: Day 8


I can't believe it's already all over! After 8 days of mayhem with zombies, vampires, monsters, manborgs, friendships, superheroes, murderers, cannibals and lovers, I'm left feeling filled to the brim with a wonderful festival memories of fantastic new films and meeting friends old and new. Before I start to get all misty eyed and sniffly that we have to wait a whole other year for the festival to run again, let's celebrate the phenomenal closing night double bill of The Woman and The Innkeepers. I had huge reservations going into The Woman but thankfully it turned out to be a very smart and well done film. I also adored The Innkeepers, a fantastic supernatural tale with a haunted house vibe that was a joy to watch with a jam packed house. A brilliant way to close out the festival and the year at Toronto After Dark.

Rather watch than read? Check out my Day 8 Vlog.


The Woman (2011)
Dir: Lucky McKee
Cast: Pollyanna McIntosh, Sean Bridgers, Carlee Baker, Shana Barry, Marcia Bennett, Angela Bettis

The Woman was easily the film at the festival I had the strongest reservations about as the premise follows a man who locks up a feral woman to 'civilize' her with the help of his family. Many readers will know that I have a low tolerance for gender crap, so could already feel red flags beginning to raise before even seeing the film but The Woman proves the case that making up your mind about a film before actually seeing it is a mistake as although it's disturbing and hard to watch it certainly is not an anti-woman film at all. I will admit that ideas and notions it conveyed could be uncomfortable, disturbing and hard to watch, but I always believed the actions and reactions of all of the characters on the screen. Did I want to see, know, or feel what the characters were feeling? Hell, no. Was it the truth of that moment? Hell, yes. That is not an easy thing to get across and it's a formidable feat given the controversial context. I think what also won me over is that it also feels like a subtle but strong examination and statement about of the misuse of power and cycle of violence, but because it's done in a rather shocking you react more to the moment than the overall which I thought was very clever. It's odd that in part my reaction to the film is that I'm thankful to not be angry or offended, but that truly is my truth when it comes to the film. I loved Pollyanna McIntosh's performance as the Woman and although the film is sure to grate a lot of people, I think it is well worth giving it a chance.

See more about The Woman at the films Official Film Site, Trailer, IMDb Page



The Innkeepers
Writer/Dir: Ti West
Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis, George Riddle

I think The Innkeepers was the film I knew the least about going in as there was no trailer to be found but people were very excited about it and it came up many times when asking what films people were looking forward to this year. It's set in a about to close hotel mind by a skeleton 2 staff who both hold interest an in paranormal investigation. On premise alone that is freaking awesome, and I loved that the film worked in the investigated notion allowing the characters to be more proactive as opposed to accidental recipients of spooky situations. The heart of the film truly is Sara Paxton who brings a wonderful excited-but-scared quality that never failed to deliver is a cat of nine lives kind of way, as she always wanted to push forward into the unknown and had beautiful, real reactions to the situation which ran the perfect gambit between frightening to comedic, and at times both. I loved the creepy hotel that the film was set in and that the odd angles often made it hard to tell exactly what you are looking at which is perfect for a supernatural film giving it an unnerving, off-balance feel which is exactly where you want to be. It was fantastic to see it with a sold out audience and it was a clear crowd-pleasing scare fest which is exactly what I had hoped. An absolutely perfect film to end the festival with a bang.

See more about The Innkeepers at the Official Facebook Page, IMDb Page

The Innkeepers director Ti West with Toronto After Dark Founder and Director Adam Lopez

The 6th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival ran for 8 Nights of Horror, Sci-Fi, Action and Cult Movies at the Toronto Underground Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from October 20-27, 2011.

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