Toronto After Dark 2012 Journal: Day 5 – Grave Encounters 2 / Citadel

TADFF 2012 Coverage!

So, Day Five of Toronto After Dark 2012 is officially wrapped, which means we are now a little past the halfway point of the festival. Part of me always gets sad when this happens, but the other part just reminds that part that there are still four more days of fun and movies ahead, and then I cheer up. Anyhow, tonight was dubbed “Scary Night” because both features that played fit pretty solidly into the horror genre, so I put on my Ghostbusters tee and headed out to watch some films with ghosts and mutant children!

The night kicked off with a short titled, Annie and the Dog, which was a solid tale of a priest and a policeman headed to an exorcism. It was well-made and had a lot of humor included; even though it eventually headed into darker territory. If you get the chance, you should seek it out, as it is easily worth your time.

The first feature, Grave Encounters 2, followed, and though many folks seemed to be disappointed by it, I thought it was more than a bit alright. This sequel follows a group of film school students who set out to make a documentary exposing the truth of what happened to the crew featured in the original film. Of course, they wind up getting a bit more than they bargained for, and ghosts show up to do what they do best… If you liked the original, you’ll probably find something here to like as well. It maintains the humor from the first entry and takes things to an almost-meta level at times, with several set pieces that go into some really bizarre places. Personally, I think the first had better (and more) scares, but I found this one to be serviceable, and I give the filmmakers credit for taking a different spin on things. You don’t have to have seen the first to watch this installment, but it sure helps, and I couldn’t help but notice that most folks who didn’t care for the film had not seen the original, so maybe that says something… Anyway, I’d go on record as saying that Grave Encounters 2 is recommended overall; unless you didn’t like the first. For more on the film, you can find its official TADFF page by following the link above.

The Director of Grave Encounters 2, John Poliquin, was in attendance with one of the Vicious Brothers (who wrote the script) and Producer Shawn Angelski. The group did a Q&A that revealed quite a bit about the rushed production (less than 4 months from pre-production to US release) and was very fun to listen to. Like the other Q&As from this year, I did get audio of it, and I plan to share it with you all in the near future.

Next up was a neat little short called Children of the Dark. It dealt with a couple of kids struggling to survive in a world where most of the population has turned into weird creatures. I didn’t like this one as much as the first short of the night, but I thought it was good overall. Check it out, if you can.

After Children of the Dark was our second, and last, feature of the evening, Citadel, which tells the story of a young man who witnesses his pregnant wife being attacked by a group of hooded children. She doesn’t survive, but the baby does, and nine months later, they return to claim the child… This movie was by far the biggest surprise for me so far at this year’s festival. The story is wholly original and goes into some dark places, making for some effectively creepy and atmospheric set pieces. This year’s fest has been fairly heavy on solid genre films from the UK, and Citadel is probably my favorite of the bunch thus far. I honestly can’t recommend it enough to you, and I hope it finds its way to a theater near you when it is released next month, as it definitely deserves a watch. For more on the film, be sure to use the link above to head over to its official TADFF page.

Well, that about wraps it up for today’s update on TADFF 2012. Keep your eyes here tomorrow for another update, this time featuring the documentary My Amityville Horror, and the genre-bending film, Resolution. As always, you can find more info on the festival and its films at the Official Toronto After Dark Website, and you can find all of our coverage of the festival by using the button on our sidebar or following the Toronto After Dark 2012 Tag.

See you tomorrow After Dark!

- Jeff

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