Rue Morgue contributors Mike Beardsall and Jessa Sobczuk review a pair of selections from Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
Willow Creek (USA)
Dir: Bobcat Goldthwait
Jim (Bryce Johnson) and his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) have traveled to the small town of Willow Creek, California – a quaint little tourist trap that happens to be the closest piece of civilization to the spot where the famous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film was shot in October 1967. Jim is filming his own documentary about the beast; ignoring warnings from some of the locals, the couple make the long trek into the woods with the hope of catching a glimpse of the famous cryptid. Jim and Kelly soon get more than they bargained for when they discover they might not be alone in the deep California wilderness.
The movie has a slow burn to it, and it does seem to drag on at times. Ultimately, though, this works in the film’s favour as it firmly establishes the characters and makes you actually care what happens to them when things take a turn for the worse. The scares are well timed and the humour is spot-on.
Found footage movies are a hard nut to crack and it’s very easy for the audience to lose their suspension of disbelief. Willow Creek strikes a nice balance on all fronts, making it a stand-out in the genre and definitely worth your time.
Evil Feed (Canada)
Dir. Kimani Ray Smith
Toronto After Dark topped of their Gory Night with a world-premiere screening of Evil Feed, a stomach-churning splatter-fest cooked up by director Kimani Ray Smith in Vancouver, Canada.
The film is set at The Long Pig restaurant, known for its secret dickie-roll recipe. But if you’re not craving deep-fried nether regions, the menu offers plenty of other cannibalistic delights for your dining pleasure. The restaurant’s supply of fresh meat comes courtesy of an underground fighting ring, where each night’s loser is served up for dinner.
The film’s often racist humour and its terrible confusion (intentional or unintentional) of Asian culture can be as hard to swallow as the over-the-top gore and effectively nauseating prosthetic work. Evil Feed boasts the geysers of blood you might expect from a Japanese splatter film, but it’s Canadian all the way. Go on, be proud.
You’ll find yourself enjoying this movie despite your better judgement, and possibly even questioning your ethics while you’re at it. Just make sure you have dinner before you tuck into Evil Feed – you might never feel hungry again.