Fantasia 2020 review: ‘Bleed With Me’ slowly drains your sanity.

During a winter getaway at an isolated cabin, a self-destructive young woman becomes convinced that her best friend is stealing her blood.

Written and directed by Amelia Moses, BLEED WITH ME is an intoxicating look at social anxiety and self-harm.  Rowan is the third wheel on a weekend getaway with her work friend Emily and her boyfriend Brendan. After passing out night one from too much alcohol, she awakes to find a cut on her arm. With traces of previously inflicted self-harm scars, Rowan seems hesitant to explain how and why it got there. As fresh cuts continue to appear and as Emily continually suggests that Rowan is ill, the three inhabitants are at odds with the dynamics developing in the small cabin. Is Rowan losing her mind? Is there a more sinister plot? Rowan’s supposed sleepwalking might be to blame.

The performances from all three are incredibly satisfying in creating honest discomfort. Aris Tyros as Brendan is a fantastic foil for both Marshall and Beatty. He is genuine and down to earth. His character’s progression is sincere and grounded. I’d love to see more of him. Beatty owns the frame with s simple gaze. Her chemistry with her castmates lies somewhere between type A, seductress, and demure when necessary. It is Marshall’s performance as Rowan that leads us down the rabbit hole. Sometimes, guided only with her heaving breath we are left to interpret what terror she (ultimately us) is in the middle of.  She is the physical manifestation, along with Moses’ script, of a panic attack.

With what feels like a psychosexual undertone, the relationship between Emily, Brendan, and Rowan has a power dynamic that feels skewed towards Emily’s liking. You can see the shift in power as Emily feels like Brendan is connecting with Rowan. While I initially setup would lead you to believe Brendan is a quiet instigator, but that quickly proves false. When untold secrets are revealed, you begin to feel more unsettled. The film’s look, essentially natural light and fireside chats make for an immediate sense of claustrophobia and foreboding. When you’re left with only your own thoughts, and perhaps the idea that someone is drugging and violating you, it can do a number on your perception of reality. I’m still pondering the ending of the film, and that’s most likely the point. I am left just as dazed as Rowan in the end. Moses has given us a frightening and panic-filled story ripe for the Fantasia 2020 audience. I would love to know what other viewers come away with. Whose side are you on? Bleed With Me is a slow-burn into madness.

Find out more about Fantasia 2020 and how to watch Bleed With Me

Review: ‘Butt Boy’, the next midnight cult classic.

Detective Fox loves work and alcohol. After going to AA, his sponsor, Chip, becomes the main suspect in his investigation of a missing kid. Fox also starts to believe that people are disappearing up Chip’s butt.

8 minutes into Butt Boy and it was successfully one of the weirdest things I’ve ever watched. 5 minutes more and I was completely horrified but couldn’t look away, much like a brutal car accident on the side of the road. This is a compliment. The plot sounds insane; an unsatisfied man starts putting things up his butt to feel again, becomes obsessed with the sensation, leading him down a dark path. Oh, then enter a grief-stricken detective on a mission and you’ve got Butt Boy. I’m tagging it “supervillain origin story meets addiction fable.” I wish I had been in the room for this screenplay’s creation. A version with commentary will be demanded in the future.

Performances are genre perfect. Over-the-top clichés perhaps at quick glance but with genuinely great acting beats throughout. Combine that with a spectacular set on the tail end (no pun intended) and cool sound and color choices, it’s this year’s most unexpected find. Butt Boy is the kind of cult film that you get exposed to either by a genre cinephile or some random dude late one night who says, “Bro! 2020 is/was fucking crazy! But have you seen Butt Boy?!” Then he makes you watch it and you have no idea what you just watched but now you’re that guy who makes other people watch it because why not share the gag-inducing images, WTF storyline, and 100 percent triumphant ending. To be honest, it was the buzz, first, and then the trailer that got me to watch. Now I feel the need to share. You’re welcome, in advance.

You can experience Butt Boy for yourself right now On-Demand. And you know I’ve left you the trailer below as a snack.

BUTT BOY is directed and co-written by Tyler Cornack (who steps outside from behind the camera to star in the flick as well) and produced by Bill Morean and Ryan Koch, who also co-wrote. Together the three founded the popular Tiny Cinema online channel, which Rice collaborates on and where the concept for the absurdist mystery feature was first conceived.

Review: ‘Transference’ is the beginning of something powerful.

SYNOPSIS: A twelve-year-old boy, Joshua, is charged with the protection of his twin sister when their father passes, but she possesses a special ability and his greatest challenge will not be keeping her safe but keeping her hidden. Twenty years later, Joshua is struggling to cope with the events of his childhood and the choices he has made since. Out of desperation, he places Emma in a psychiatric compound against her will. Joshua is driven to the world of underground crime to maintain their secret. But he cannot earn enough to hide their past and someone has followed their trail of destruction. When a sinister visitor attempts to remove Emma from his care, Joshua comes to the most important realization he can make for himself, his sister, and the world.

Twins connected by trauma, stalked by evil, forced into hiding to protect themselves and the outside world. Yeah, I’ll bite. Transference has a lot going on in the way of structure. The narration breaks are very effective as they keep you on your toes during the madness. Emma’s “affliction” is fascinating. The idea that it can be weaponized is something looms large. As the plot slowly rolls out, the dread grows. The big reveal is pretty great. While there is something a little off with the film as a whole, it has big potential. Melissa Joy Boerger, AaronTomlin, and Jeremy Ninaber are all very dark and brooding. Tomlin is allowed to show the most range with the material. These three are obviously capable of much more. I would have liked to have seen more adult flashbacks that included Boerger. She was held back by the script.

The editing is the real winner in Transference. It’s skillfully crafted back and forth keeps the storytelling intriguing. Just when you think you’re following the plot, it flips the switch. What is real and what is imagined is up to the audience. Matthew Ninaber has given is an engrossing sci-fi. I would watch this as a series. There is a ton of potential for this world to be expanded. I think it would shine brighter as one, frankly. For now, I’ll take the feature. Fellow genre fans will see what I mean. 

TRANSFERENCE will open in L.A. March 6th

Available on nationwide VOD March 10th & on Blu-Ray March 24th

TRANSFERENCE

Genre: Sci-Fi / Thriller

Country: CANADA

Runtime: 85 min

Language: English

Rating: NA

Love never dies as ‘NINA FOREVER’ comes to theaters and VOD today.

Epic Pictures Presents

NINA FOREVER

Written & directed by Ben and Chris Blaine

nina forever poster

Just in for Valentine’s Day weekend, there is a new trailer and bonus clip from indie horror film Nina Forever.

HOLLY wants to save ROB, has fallen in love with him. She is training to be a paramedic and works a dead end job in a supermarket where Rob is the only remarkable thing; lost and angry since the death of his girlfriend NINA. Drawn into a relationship, the first time they’re in bed together so is Nina. A tangled and bloody mess of broken limbs, she is very much dead but still here, still talking, still angry…

However Holly doesn’t freak out and run – she is determined to be the one who heals Rob’s wounds. She can deal with the dead girl sharing their bed, their lives, their minds. If it’s what Rob needs, it’s what Holly will do, whatever the consequences…

It’s sounding like a potentially more successful film than the 2014 release of Burying The Ex, starring Anton Yelchin and Ashley Greene. Seemingly similar premise, but hopefully a bit more promising. Nina Forever has been a hit on the festival circuit following its premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival. On their website, http://ninaforever.com/, they have created a Spotify playlist you can access featuring the film’s soundtrack. Great marketing ploy and a bit of extra fun for fans. Just released is a clip from the film. If this is any indication of how weird and wonderful the rest of the story will play out, count me in. Stay tuned to ReelNewsDaily later on today for our full review!

Nina Forever comes the theaters and on  iTunes/VOD and other digital platforms beginning today, Friday, the 12th. Happy Bloody Valentine’s Day, Everyone!