Fantastic Fest 2012 Day Two: Devils, Motors and Combat Girls



Fantastic Fest is now past day two and lots of great things have happened. Thursday included the premiere of Frankenweenie (Rod's review) and screening of Antiviral, where director Brandon Cronenberg decidedly wanted to keep away from comparisons to his father. I didn't stay for the final film of the day so I could be prepared to spend the entirety of Friday at the fest.

I started out Friday morning at the screening of Here Comes the Devil, which screened along with a Norwegian short, Videoboy. The short was very similar in tone to the feature that followed it. Videoboy takes you along with two young boys, as they visit a mysterious kid who lives in a household with a library of VHS tapes. Beyond the library stands a hallway, leading up to the top floor where it's forbidden to go. The overwhelming sense of dread as these boys try to figure out what's going on upstairs works well with Here Comes the Devil.

In Here Comes the Devil, the follow up to last year's Penumbra, a family goes through the traumatic experience of losing their kids on a day out, only to have them return with bigger problems than they had before. The kids seem to be reeling from whatever happened during their excursion. As their time back home goes on, more and more freaky things begin to happen. The mother begins to take a hint and explores the rocky hillside where her kids had disappeared. The film's suspenseful yet also incredibly chaotic at times; sometimes too chaotic. This screened on Thursday as a midnight movie and I feel that it's better left at that. Catch it at its next screening if you can and if not, it's already got distribution through Magnet.

Combat Girls was the next feature on my lineup. This was something akin to what happens in American History X. An ill-tempered girl who's deep into the neo-Nazi movement in Germany continues to run into people who challenge her xenophobic views. Although I mention American History X as a comparable movie, it's much more than that and less heavy-handed. The film starts you off distanced from it all but by the end, you're sucked into it. The lead actress, Alina Levshin, pulls off a terrific performance, something that could lead to her being seen by American audiences more often. Just announced on Thursday, Combat Girls has also been acquired and will be easier to find in 2013.

After a very brief walkthrough of the always fun Fantastic Arcade, I hopped over to The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled. If you know Doug Benson's comedy, this is a pretty easy movie to make assumptions about. Although it's a lot of stand-up, driving, and smoking, the movie is entertaining and worth your time. If you can make it to the next screening, I'm sure it'll be a much different Q&A than you've experienced before.

Right out of that and into Holy Motors. This was definitely something that I was highly anticipating and I came out with a lot to think about. So go into this film with forewarning that it's leaving a lot of it up to you. I followed that up with New Kids Turbo, the sequel to last year's amazingly funny New Kids Nitro. If you were a fan of the last film, this is more of the same.

[Photo credit: "Fantastic Fest marquee" by J. Kernion, Creative Commons license available with attribution.]