Toronto After Dark 2013 - Day 6

By: Heather Seebach

My sixth night at Toronto After Dark Film Festival was Gory Night, with two blood-soaked features and two dark, funny shorts. Both feature films had accompanying Q&As with cast and crew, and as always, the night concluded with Pub After Dark. Me and Jeff recorded our Walking Dead podcast from the pub too (just a little inebriated) so look for that to be posted real soon, too. Anyway, on to the reviews:

Short: Liebe (Love) (d: Cameron Macgowan)

This 3-minute movie about two lovers on a picnic parodies pretentious foreign films with a twisted sense of humor and splattery gore FX. It's short but effective.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Feature: Found (d: Scott Schirmer)
(Toronto Premiere)

I first heard about this little movie two years ago, and contributing writer Bradley Hadcroft reviewed it back in July, but I still was not prepared for what I saw last night. Found is a coming-of-age story about Marty, a 12-year-old horror fan who suspects his older brother is a serial killer. It tackles the controversial subject of whether horror films inspire real-life violence, plus issues like bullying and prejudice.

This American indie was made with the director's own money - a meager $8,000 - but the low budget is never a distraction. The script, based on Todd Rigney's novel, is powerful and very relatable to anyone who grew up on a diet of VHS horror. Even if slashers weren't your thing, you can probably still relate to Marty's pain of being bullied at school and having an emotionally abusive family. In the role, child actor Gavin Brown is fantastic - amazingly, this is his first acting gig.

At its core, Found is a drama, but it definitely doesn't shy away from the horror element. I watch a lot of sick movies, and it's rare that one genuinely disturbs me, but I can safely say Found has some of the most fucked up scenes I've ever witnessed. There is an abundance of gore, but it's the stuff you don't see that will leave you shaken. My soul still hurts thinking about it.

This is a must-see movie, but dont say I didn't warn you. It may be the kind of film you never want to watch again, but it absolutely needs to be seen. It is still in the process of securing US distribution, but I have no doubt you'll be hearing a lot about this one. As it runs a bit long and drags in the third act, I think it could use a trim, but I hope they don't touch the nasty stuff. Horror needs more films with balls this big.

Rating: 4 out of  5

After the film, there was a nice Q&A with director Scott Schirmer and actors Gavin Brown and Phyllis Munro. One story in particular about a prosthetic penis was great, but I can't share it for spoiler reasons! Schirmer also discussed how the film had to be recast at one point because the actors' mothers threatened to throw them out of the house if they appeared in this movie. Yeah, it's that crazy!


Short: Beasts In the Real World (d: Sol Friedman)

This Canadian film rivals Under the Neon Lights for the most WTF short of the festival so far. It incorporates found footage, animation, and gore into something I cannot even begin to describe. It's incredibly weird but twisted and funny.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Feature: Evil Feed (d: Kimani Ray Smith)
(World Premiere)

This blood-soaked Canadian action/horror/comedy is stuntman Kimani Ray Smith's directorial debut. It's about a secret Chinese restaurant that serves human flesh and hosts pit fighting as entertainment. When they kidnap the wrong martial arts master, a group of fighters infiltrate the restaurant and take on its crazy employees.

Evil Feed is a hyper, silly movie full of gore, sex, and nudity. Considering it was made by a professional stunt coordinator, I was pretty disappointed with the fight scenes. Perhaps part of the problem is the movie's noticely absent sound FX  - something that will hopefully be fixed before distribution. The gore is satisfying, though, albeit over-the-top in the fashion of Asian cinema. There is some CG blood, but its balanced out by the good prosthetic work.

The movie is hit-or-miss in the humor department, but a couple jokes and characters work (as long as you can look passed a little self-aware racism). I enjoyed watching the villains Alyson Bath (pictured above) and Terry Chen chewing scenery. In fact, the "bad guys" are way more interesting than the leads. The main chick is supposed to be some kind of ass-kicking badass but she spends most of the movie running away or getting her ass handed to her.

Evil Feed is spotty, but there are enough outrageous and funny moments to keep genre fans entertained, especially if you like your cannibal movies with a side of dick jokes.

Rating: 3 out of 5

After the film, numerous cast and crew came out and did a Q&A:

The penultimate night of TADFF is Scary Night, including Willow Creek with director Bobcat Goldthwait in attendence, and Banshee Chapter which won Scariest Film at FrightFest 2013! Click here for coverage of those!

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