Saturday, November 28th, 9pm (Dendy Newtown, Sydney)
With its blood openly splashed on its sleeve, Sam Curtain’s debut feature is a relentless exercise in brutality, displaying a vengeful savagery not seen in Australian cinema in quite some time. Dean (Dean Kirkright) and Claire (Kahli Williams) are young lovers, hitting the road for some quality snuggle time, whilst Knuck (Thoams Roach), and his mates, Heath (Benjamin Denmeade) and Jarred (Eli Halliwell) are bogan thugs itching to rumble, preferably something more heinous. The two parties collide on the roadside, and it’s all blood, sweat, and tears from there.
What Blood Hunt lacks in originality and complexity, it makes up for in economy and clarity. The stark, no frills cinematography paints a crisp chill and a washed out grimness to the rural setting and the horrific proceedings. It’s a pared-back revenge nightmare reminiscent of the rage of Steven Kastrissios’s The Horseman and the gruelling inhumanity found in Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left and Meir Zarachi’s I Spit on Your Grave (and, arguably, much better than the latter two, to boot!)
With solid performances from the cast and some truly wince-inducing moments of extreme violence, Blood Hunt takes no prisoners, so prepare to be slapped hard.
Friday, December 4th, 7pm (Dendy Newtown, Sydney)
Harnessing an extreme nihilism similar to the realistic edge that made Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin such a powerful waking nightmare palpability is Jason Koch’s third feature, the story of young Zack (Lucas Koch), known to his bullies and enemies as Pig Pen, a 13-year-old skateboarder so numbed by his grim surroundings he seems like an adult trapped in the body of a boy. His dear mother (Nicolette le Feye) is a junkie and is kept in check by her boyfriend, Wayne (Vito Trigo), who is a psychopathic ticking time bomb.
Wayne is a misanthrope just waiting to explode. Zack is the lit fuse. Nothing will come between them, not even dear mommy. Boom!
Co-written with Mark Leake, Koch’s study of despair is as dark and dingy as can be. It’s talky too, but boy, does it eventually kick arse, and when it does, just like Blue Ruin, it kicks arse into the middle of next week. Pig Pen features some truly horrendous acts of violence. The director’s background is in special effects, and he’s made sure that the grisly stuff gets a lot of graphic love (if you can call it that).
Vito Trigo plays the handlebar moustachioed thug with frightening authenticity, he’s the good-looking monster ... the creepiest of all. Lucas Koch and Nicolette le Feye deliver solid performances, but the real dark star is those horror set pieces, saving the most brutal and shocking for last. Consider yourself warned.
Saturday, December 5th, 7pm (Dendy Newtown, Sydney)
Pingo (an excellent Nicola Fiore) is an artist in Brooklyn, NY. She is a loner, a troubled soul with an affliction deep down that is burrowing its way to the surface. She quells the darkness coiled within her by exhibiting and indulging a fetishistic sex drive that keeps all sense of romanticism well at bay. Intimacy is a beast that howls, and the secret that rears its ugly head will bite the head off of any would-be well doer. Hell hath no fury like a horny bitch.
After a bunch of shorts writer/director Michael Turney has embarked on his debut feature with a tunnel vision of provocative and dangerous sexuality. The horror of normality is forged in the transgression of aberrant behaviour, and Pingo is about to find out the hard way.
Normal is one of those early on scratch-your-head bad dream thrillers that further down the wayward path becomes curiouser and curiouser, and perversely revealing the deeper into the nasty dark shadows that it crawls. To call this movie “erotic” would be misleading, for the sensuality that exists is too elusive and slippery. But, oh, what a perversely satisfying denouenment Normal descends down/rears up into!