Rue Morgue contributors Jessa Sobczuk and Charlotte Stear wrap up our Toronto After Dark coverage with a pair of reviews.
Big Bad Wolves (Israel)
Dir: Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado
Toronto After Dark finished off with a bang, closing this year’s festival with the explicitly violent Israeli crime-thriller Big Bad Wolves. From Rabies directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, the film tells the story of three men – a corrupt police officer investigating a gruesome string of child murders, the father of one of the murdered children, and a teacher suspected to be the killer – as their paths cross in violent acts of torture and vigilante justice.
While Big Bad Wolves contains shocking scenes of violence and deals with disturbing subject matter, the filmmakers manage to infuse an unexpected thread of humour that keeps the audience intrigued. The laughs don’t dilute the horror; it is extremely unsettling to watch depictions of brutal torture and revenge, especially when you’re unsure if the vigilantes even have the right suspect.
Definitely worth the watch, but not for the faint of heart.
Dir: Isaac Cravit
It’s not like we horror fans need more reasons to be scared of going into the woods, but then a film like Solo comes along and gives us a few more unsettling ideas to keep us up at night.
After arriving at a camp for her new summer job, Gillian (Annie Clark) learns she must perform a “solo” in order to guarantee her status as a camp counselor. The solo consists of spending two nights on an isolated island, where she must set up camp and survive in the wilderness. But when she learns the island is haunted by the ghost of a little girl who went missing there, the task gets harder and soon Gillian isn’t sure if she really is alone.
Writer and director Isaac Cravit has successfully found a new, intense way to tell a story about something eerie happening in the woods. Solo is a claustrophobic, fun ride that boasts great performances, especially from Clark, who has a lot of alone time on screen. The story keeps you guessing until an intense finale that will give you second thoughts about any remote getaways you’ve been planning. This little Canadian film is one to be proud of.