Posted on: Friday, June 21st, 2013
How many of you poor masochists out there like a good horror film? Well the Nickel has a night just for you! Whether you like horror for it’s ability to evoke a strong physical reaction. Or to witness people pushed to their limits from the safety of your own home. Or maybe you just like being scared. Horror night at the Nickel had everything you needed last night.
The show started with a short from the boys of Six Mile Hill out of Ireland. Boys From County Hell was another absolutely phenomenal film to come out of last night. Following a small group of road workers fixing a fence on a desolate stretch of highway, their night soon takes a turn for the worst when they realize they’re not alone.
The acting here is great, with the small cast giving great performances and showing a natural chemistry with each other. The darkness around the van they’re working from is totally engulfing and adds an incredible sense of dread and isolation. Director Chris Baugh does an amazing job of setting the tone while still finding room to fit in some bits of great humor. The makeup and special effects are top notch within the film’s limitations. The thing that is hunting them, even when it’s revealed, stays shrouded in darkness to add to it’s terrifying persona.
After doing a bit of research it seems that the creators are currently in the process of shooting a feature length version of this. Something I’ll be keeping an eye out for and any of you horror fans should as well.
Next up we were treated to a series of local shorts done during last years 48-Hour Horror Challenge. They included: Respect Your Eldricht by Mike Fardy, Caged by Stephen Bernard Gosse, The Date by Blair Downey, Thin Line by Bryhanna Greenough and Trick or Treat by Morgan T. Lee. I won’t go into detail regarding each of these but I will applaud all of those who were involved here for a job well done. It’s not practical to look at these in any critical sense. With the limitations of working within a 48 hour time frame they all did an amazing job and there is some serious talent on display here. Good job guys!
After that series of films we get The Master and Me. A contemporary take on the classic story of Dr. Frankenstein from US director Art Douglas. Anyone who saw this may have recognized Canadian actor Robert Joy, who’s had a recurring role in CSI: NY, and has been featured in other horror films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Land of the Dead. His performance and the humorous approach they took to the story were my highlights of the film.
Next we come back to Atlantic Canada with Game from Josh MacDonald out of Nova Scotia. This was another great addition to the night. It takes the worn out concept of the redneck torture porn genre and gives it a satisfying spin on it’s head halfway through. I loved this twist and the special effects used to bring it to life were extremely well done. It’s amazing to see this kind of quality horror storytelling coming out of our little corner of the world.
This marks two years in a row Josh has had some involvement with horror night at the Nickel, writing last years The Corridor as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what he may have in store for us in the future.
Last horror film of the night goes to Billy Hanson out of the US with his adaptation of a Stephen King short story, Survivor Type. The story follows the lone survivor of a cruise ship wreck who has found himself on an isolated island somewhere in the Atlantic. With only some water, limited medical supplies, some matches, two bricks of heroin (that’s right, heroin), a pocket knife, and of course a video camera with an abundance of batteries, his fight for survival begins.
Shot in the cliched fashion of found footage, this rose above the usual stereotypes of that genre, mostly due to an amazing performance from actor Gideon Emery. Being the only character on the screen for almost the entirety of this film, it’s success was solely in his hands. His convincing performance as his condition slowly deteriorated was so well done that at no point in this film did I doubt that this scenario could actually happen. Now of course this is coming from a Stephen King short story so eventually it finds itself in the realm of utterly bizarre, but even at that point I was thinking to myself what your average person would do in a similar situation. Survival instincts eventually take over and at the cost of staying alive, what are people willing to do?
This is not a film for those of you with a weak stomach. I had a slice of pizza before these screenings and I can’t testify for sure that it was from the movie or the fact that it was some pretty awfully pizza, but at a couple points during this film, that slice made it’s presence known in my stomach.
While I wouldn’t call this my favorite so far of the festival, it is near the top, and it is by far one of the more disturbing horror films I’ve seen recently. And yes, I did see the Evil Dead remake/sequel a couple of months ago.
So there you have it. An extremely satisfying horror night is now behind us. Next up we have the Rated R night. I’ll see you all there when the lights go down!