Gotta say that in the Midnight section and late night movies line-up, Sundance has been surprisingly disappointing to me so far. (Sole exception being the five-star Northern Ireland revenge flick Bad Day For The Cut!) A handful of flicks dabbling in gross and disturbing plus a disappointing doc have brought the magnificent movie vibe to a low. (But rest assured I have film faith and many more to go!) So check out the skinny on some flicks that may or may not be hitting a theater near you – the review of the fearsome foursome via the Sundance Film Festival 2017 below!
With so much hype on the shock and awe value of this little high-profile indie, I decided to not read anything in advance and go in cold. Turns out it’s a not so terrific tale about a vegetarian gal attending a vet school where cruel hazing involving eating mystery meat leads to an appetite for human flesh. Not particularly memorable story wise (her and her sister begin to have the same symptoms – a family affair!) the film is most likely getting attention due to it’s at times revolting depiction of blood and guts ingesting, but for any ardent genre cinefile worth their salt it’s a been there, done that.
Utterly fascinated by the idea of dissecting the famed Psycho shower scene as the premise for an entire feature length doc, 78/52 (named after the 78 setups and 52 cuts in the actual scene!) seemed like a bold experiment that could go either way. Problem is director Alexandre Philippe doesn’t follow his own concept and goes way beyond the scene itself to fill in empty time. Infusing other thin connecting ideas like the era at the time, Hitchcock’s other work and even the horrible and forgettable shot-for-shot remake by Gus Van Sant (yeah, Vince Vaughn is so much better than Anthony Perkins!), not to mention subpar interviews almost everybody who wasn’t involved (Elijah Wood?!), 78/52 is a glorified overblown Psycho DVD extra that’s already been done – and done better.
With the slowest start known to man and the uneventful storytelling device of showing the events of an incident both before and after simultaneously, Killing Ground gives up all sense of scares and urgency. Mixing in people we don’t care about (the only interesting character trait in our leading man comes in the last act – huh?!) and lame baddies that could be taken down with a swift kick to the groin (wasn’t scared in the slightest!), writer/director Damien Power instead resorts to shock value items like baby carnage and female torture to hammer home the horror – horrible.
More a performance art piece than an actual film, Kuso is the kind of controversial cinema that’s virtually critic proof. If you like the film and it’s aberrant wares you seem hip and if not your probably too old to get it. I’m in the middle somewhere as such lurid and grotesque images don’t shock me (the programmer said it could not “be unseen” – he was wrong!) but there’s almost no semblance of story or anything engaging about the film. A series of short sections, the film feels like an incoherent lame version of Amazon Women on the Moon with laughter substituted with feces and semen smearing. (Okay, the penis inside a talking neck boil had a pinch of charm!) Shocking for the sake of audience reaction, some films are better left unwatched.