Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 review: DREADOUT plays well on the big screen.

Jessica, Beni, Dian, Alex, Erik, and Linda want to increase their popularity through recording their adventures to upload to their social media accounts. They chose to go to an abandoned apartment famous for its awesomeness. Linda manages to persuade Kang Heri, security guard, to enter the apartment. Linda and friends found one apartment unit which is given a police line. Encouraged by curiosity, they brake down the door of the apartment unit. When they are researching the room, they find an old parchment, which only Linda could read. After Linda reads the writing on the parchment, suddenly a portal open. Inadvertently Linda and her friends have opened the door to the magical world and anger the portal guardian supernatural creatures.

Those crazy teenagers. Always opening the gates to other worlds. DREADOUT had its North American premiere last night at Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 and audiences were not disappointed. The film begins with all the buildup of suspense and visual feel of playing the DreadOut video games. The framing feels sharp and the character dynamics are as fresh as Cabin In The Woods. As the audience peers through the cell phone lense of the group’s live stream, it has an amazing effect on how the lighting is filtered and you find yourself glancing at the viewership every so often. But mostly, it forces your attention to the mysterious surroundings even more intensely. This is simply the introduction to this film’s plot. 30 mins in, some creative and fresh hell awaits our ingenue Linda (Caitlin Halderman). She must explore her new otherworldly environment and figure out why she’s there and how to escape. The film’s location bounces between realms keeping the audience on its toes and the pace moving. The sets are incredibly intricate and the film really never ceases to entertain. Now, I’ve never played the game but it is reminiscent of Silent Hill and I have played that for years. The best shots recall first player gameplay with pointed POV camera work that’s impossible to miss. I do wish that had not completely disappeared. If I’m being honest, I could have used a bit more otherworldly background, perhaps flashes just as the gang is discovering the storyline. As someone who has not played the game, I feel like this was a missed opportunity.  As a whole, I was fully engrossed. DREADOUT has all the elements of a great horror adventure. Genre fans should be nothing but pleased.

DREADOUT

 

Liz’s Review: Vengeance and Religion drive the fight in ‘REDEEMER’

Redeemer posterGuilt is a loud devil on your shoulder. The past can drive you mad or drive you to change… sometimes a little bit of both. In Ernesto Diaz Espinoza‘s new film REDEEMER, a man known only by this title is a mysterious figure, righting wrongs among his small Chilean community. Tortured by an unthinkable past that is slowly revealed as the film progresses, The Redeemer must conquer his own ghosts in order to battle the biggest evil he has ever known. Can he protect those left behind? redeemer 2Marko Zaror, martial arts action star extraordinaire, takes on the lead with ease and ownership. Not only is his acting pretty damn stellar, he is also the fight coordinator for the film’s vast array of sequences that are enhanced by key moments of slow motion. These sequences are extremely long and well shot. It was mostly refreshing to see an organic quality about the battles. They are interesting and definitely full of surprises. My favorite aspect would definitely be the use of graphic blood splatter. Reading like a first person shooter game, the blood use is colorful, impactful, and sometimes just over-the-top enough to make you cringe at the perfect moments. redeemer 1The dialogue is creative and comic relief comes in the form of our only English speaking character, drug lord Bradock, Noah Segan, who I recognized from Deadgirl, is so natural in his comedy it should be against the law.  He was actually my favorite part of the film. Segan has 8 projects this year alone, including Tales of Halloween with Lin Shaye (Insidious) and Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga), as well as The Mind’s Eye with Larry Fessenden (We Are Still Here). This guy is around for the long hall. Bottom line, if you liked Netflix’s Daredevil season 1, Redeemer will resonate with you. While it could be about 10-15 minutes tighter, due to the extended fight scenes, this film is definitely worth a shot.

Acclaimed Chilean director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza (Mandrill, The ABCs of Death, Kiltro) teams up again with martial arts action star Marko Zaror (Undisputed III, Machete Kills) in the theatrical and VOD release of REDEEMER. The epic action film, which made its debut at the 2014 Fantastic Film Festival, hits theaters and VOD on June 12 from Dark Sky Films.