We are now about a week deep into Toronto After Dark 2013, and there are only two more nights left of the festival. As always, I’m starting to really miss my nice comfortable bed, and the thought of a homecooked meal is making me drool, but some of the festival’s most anticipated titles are still in store.
Last night, though, we got a double dose of serious crazy with the Toronto Premiere of Found, and the World Premiere of Evil Feed. The theater was packed for both screenings, and each movie brought it’s own brand of crazy to the audiences.
The night began with a short, Canadian made, film called Liebe (which translates to Love). The film tells the story of a couple who go on a picnic only to find that something is watching them and wants what they have. It ended up being one of the more humorous shorts of the festival, and the audience ate it up. Definitely worth seeking out.
Next up was Found, which is a film that I knew almost nothing about prior to the evening. Made for around $8,000, the film is an adaptation of a novel about a young boy who is constantly bullied, loves horror movies, and whose brother is a serial killer. Eventually, things spiral out of control and he finds himself living in a real-life horror movie. Though I initially had reservations about the quality of the film, due to its inexperienced and young cast, I was surprised that it ended up mesmerizing me the way that it did. While the family drama is certainly the core of the film, there are also a lot of very disturbing themes and images in the film; something that not only caught me by surprise, but also made me fairly uncomfortable at times. It’s clear that Director Scott Schirmer has talent, and I really want to see what he can do with a larger budget. At the end of the day, Found is certainly one of the biggest surprises of TADFF 2013 for me, and I highly recommend watching it if you are given the opportunity.
Schirmer and various members of the cast were also on hand for a Q&A after the film. The session was probably my second favorite of TADFF 2013 so far, and I highly enjoyed listening to them talk about the project and how it came to be. Judging by the questions from the audience, I’d say that I wasn’t the only one who was pleasantly surprised by how disturbing the film ended up being.
The trailer for Found is below:
After a quick trip back to the line, we returned to the theater where Festival Director Adam Lopez gave a rousing introduction for the next set of films. At first, the auditorium didn’t look too packed, but as the discussion went on on-stage, people kept filing in; eventually culminating in a packed house full of riled-up fans. Perfect for the films that were to follow.
First up was a short from Canadian Director Sol Friedman called Beasts Of The Real World. Friedman’s first short, Junko’s Shamisen, had screened at TADFF back in 2010, and I really enjoyed it. I think it actually took home the audience award for Best Canadian Short that year. As such, as soon as I realized that he had directed Beasts, I got excited. Once again, I was wowed by the talent that Friedman has for mixing different types of media into a short. Beasts features a mix of found footage, standard live-action film, computer animation, and traditional animation to tell a crazy succession of stories featuring strange creatures interacting with the world. So far, this is my favorite short of the festival, and you should see it for yourself if you can. Friedman’s short from TADFF 2010 is below:
Next up was the World Premiere of Evil Feed, a crazy movie about a Chinese restaurant who kidnaps martial arts fighters and forces them to fight to the death in a cage match where the loser is cut to pieces and served as the house specialty. It’s very clear that the filmmakers were going for a faux grindhouse kind of feel, and in many ways, they pulled it off successfully. However, the movie felt a little too much like a Troma film to me at times, and it’s inflated running time caused some of the gags to begin falling short towards the end. It’s also obvious that there were large chunks of the film cut out in order to focus on the ridiculous gore because the movie really did feel a little schizophrenic at times. Still, there were some damned funny parts, and given the subject matter, it is really hard to take the film seriously. The audience seemed to eat it up, but I found it to be just above average. However, if you love over-the-top acting, intentionally bad one-liners, blood and gore, and straight-up silliness – which I usually do – then you probably should at least give it a chance. You may love the film.
Afterwards was a Q&A with Director Kimani Ray Smith and a slew of cast and crew members. From listening to them talk, it reinforced the idea that the film was trying to be more comedic than anything else, and it even explained why some parts felt a little haphazard (the backers wanted more carnage and less story). I think I may have enjoyed the talk more than I liked the movie itself.
You can check out the Evil Feed trailer below:
After the night’s films were over, we headed to the Office Pub, where we all had a few drinks and the filmmakers and fans socialized for a few hours. It wasn’t as crowded as some nights, but that is normal for a Wednesday night, as people have to work the next day, and fans are preparing for the closing night party, which is always a lot of fun. I ended up using the time to sit down with Heather Seebach (from Viewer Discretion Advised) to record an episode on location for Dead Already, the Walking Dead podcast that we do on a weekly basis. I got a little tipsy and said inappropriate things, and it was generally a lot of fun. Keep an out in our Dead Already feed for that episode, which is coming very soon…
Next on the agenda for TADFF are the found footage Sasquatch horror flick, Willow Creek (directed by Bobcat Goldthwait), and the supposedly creepy Banshee Chapter, which is about a reporter searching for her missing friend. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my quick thoughts on the film, and keep an eye out for more full-length feature reviews over the next week or so.
Until then… Stay Undead!