I did not realize just how little time I would have to actually write up these reviews during the film festival (in fact I had no time due to late finishes and many good things going on at the Fringe part of the festival during the day), so a little later than hoped, here is the review of the opening night of the festival proper at the Dancehouse.
The film itself is a ‘found footage’ type film, with everything that happens being filmed either on the three lead characters’ head cams (90%) or on the CCTV cameras which were set up in the church.
The synopsis of the film is that the church which is run by Fr Crellick has had several ‘miracles’ happen (its unclear exactly what the miracles actually are from the one video of the event that is shown, but you soon forget about that) and the Vatican’s special investigation crew are invited in to investigate.
Two of the team, Gray (who is the tech expert) and Deacon arrive at the village early and decided to set up the equipment at the church early, whilst waiting for Father Mark to arrive. Father Mark seems to be more interested in proving the miracles are fake from the outset, whereas Deacon suspects it may be fake, but is willing to perform an open and honest investigation.
With the help of the church records, it starts to become apparent that it may not be any sort of miracle which has happened at the church, but some form of malevolent entity after revenge from past atrocities.
The investigation is clearly not welcome, either in the local village or up at the actual church and things soon start to take a sinister turn, which leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat (this is one of the few films that has actually made me jump!)
The only downside to the film was the ending, which for me was a total let down and just seemed like the writer had simply ran out of ideas and just had to get it finished. With that being said though, don’t let that put you off as this disappointing part of the film actually only makes up about 2% of the film, with the rest being faultless.
The second film of the evening was a comedy-horror short entitled Crazy for you, which was directed by James Moran, after such a good opening film, this short had a lot to live up to, thankfully it did as it was a thoroughly entertaining watch, it could have been double the running time and would have still been very entertaining.
The synopsis of the film is that Charlie is having a hard time in his life finding love, mainly because he is a serial killer and certain things in life (polka dots) make him want to kill people.
Charlie meets the girl of his dreams whilst pulled up at the traffic lights, its love at first sight stuff and things are going well until she discovers his secret.
As a result they go their separate ways, but Charlie does not give up and eventually the girl invites him round to her flat to talk things through, but things are not as simple as he had hoped….
Following the short, James ran a short q&a session which gave a great insight into how the film came together and some of the challenges he faced whilst filming – check out James’ website which is full of great content.
Last but not least was On Air, which was a German language film directed by Marco J. Riedl, as soon as the film started and it became apparent that the film was all German language, with English subtitles, I became skeptical as I have never been a fan of foreign language films, but my skepticism was soon forgotten as the film was really engrossing.
The film is split between three main elements, Doc Rock who is a pirate DJ who faces a live on-air battle trying to save the latest potential victim from the second character in the film, the Nightslasher who is a prolific serial killer, then the third character, who is a police officer who has just come across a body and a cryptic message left with the remains.
The NightSlasher hears Doc Rock discussing him on the radio and decides to phone in and sets Doc Rock a series of challenges, the outcome of which will either save the girl, or will force her to endure a slow tortured death.
The tension in the film is constantly building and its hard to work out which way the story will go, who is the latest ‘victim’ of the killer, will the Doc be able to save her and will the police officer locate all the clues before its too late.
A really enjoyable film from start to finish and it turned out to be a great end to a very successful opening night.