Toronto After Dark 2013 - Day 3

My third day at Toronto After Dark brought a world premiere, two Canadian premieres, shorts, hilarious Q&As, and more after-partying at the Office Pub. 

Feature: Silent Retreat (d: Tricia Lee)
(World Premiere)

Review to follow!

Short: Under the Neon Lights (d: Fabian Velasco)

This is undoubtedly the most WTF thing I've seen so far at TADFF. I cannot even begin to describe it except to say it involves a mannequin, lipstick, push-ups, and bubblegum. Accoding to the cast and crew, it was inspired by The Sopranos and A Serbian Film. Yep. If you dig the eccentric and bizarre, you will enjoy this one.

Feature: Septic Man (d: Jesse T. Cook)
(Canadian Premiere)

I've been looking forward to this one, but I'm sad to report it was a let-down. It's about a septic worker who becomes trapped underground while investigating water-based epidemic in the town. Slowly his body assimilates the shit and sewage as he turns into some kind of monster. Unlike, say, Buried, this film fails to capture the feeling of claustrophobia and panic. As Jack the septic man loses his shit (no pun intended), I felt no sense of danger for him. All the overacting and excess of Jack talking to himself did not help either. 

Furthermore, sometimes Septic Man is gross simply for the sake of being gross. Very little about this movie is as intelligent as writer Tony Burgess (Pontypool) makes it sound. I like the idea of it being a superhero origin story as the title implies, but that idea never really comes across. Perhaps in a sequel it will work better. One thing the film does very well is gore and makeup FX. From Jack's bubbling face to Eraserhead-esque mutant babies, the gross-out stuff sure is effective. I just wish it had a better film behind it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Short: Mood Killer (d: Nate Wilson)

This little film is about relationships, specifically the excuses we make when we hurt others. When a girl finds her boyfriend's journal full of all the girls he has dumped, he explains how each of them turned into a monster via some elaborate fantasy. It's a cute horror tribute with a surprising amount of heart. I don't know exactly how old director Nate Wilson is, but in person he looked damn young. Mood Killer's quirky sense of humor and style, and unexpected maturity in the end, tell me that kid has potential.

Feature: Motivational Growth (d: Don Thacker)
(Canadian Premiere)

I was fortunate enough to receive a screener of this months ago and LOVED it! It's a trippy, hilarious movie about a hermit who has a talking blob of fungus on his bathroom wall. Oh, and it's voiced by Jeffrey freaking Combs! In fact, this is my third favorite Combs performance ever - and that says a lot. To read my full review, click here. This movie is destined to be a cult classic, for sure.

 Rating: 4 out of 5

The film was followed by a Q&A with director/writer Don Thacker, which was hilarious. You can check out the full video of it below but beware potential spoilers.

My fourth day at TADFF brings the Canadian premiere of Odd Thomas, based on the Dean Koontz novels, and the psychological thriller, Solo. Click here for my day 4 coverage!

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