Monday, October 19, 2015

TALES OF HALLOWEEN, THE HALLOW, SYNCHRONICITY: TAD 2015 - Capsule Reviews

by Aaron Allen

Toronto's largest genre film festival, Toronto After Dark, is now five days into its nine day run and has already delivered some very exciting and crowd-pleasing horror, sci-fi, action, and cult films. Let's catch up with an overview of a few of these exciting movies you may have missed.


TALES OF HALLOWEEN (USA)
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierasch, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, Paul Solet

Ten of the horror genre's brightest new talents each field a segment in this fantastic horror anthology about Halloween night in a crazy American suburb where all hell breaks loose every October 31st. Tales of Halloween isn't so much a movie but the rousing cinematic equivalent of a kick-ass Halloween party. Full of twists, scares, laughs, and gore, Tales of Halloween comes within a candy corn of unseating Trick R Treat as the premiere Halloween anthology. Bursting at the seams with horror references and an all-star cast of horror icons in cameo appearances, hardcore horror fans will get the most out of this brilliant synthesis of scary and silly. Make Tales of Halloween a must-watch this October and a permanent part of your annual Halloween traditions. 

THE HALLOW (IRELAND)
Directed by Corin Hardy

Looking for some white-knuckle terror? The Hallow certainly delivers! A young couple with a new baby move to the fringes of the remote Irish wildness where the superstitious locals fear the Hallow: the faeries, banshees, and changelings of myth and legend. While they brush off the warnings and dark omens as fairy tale nonsense, they soon realize that their trespass on the hallowed woods has caught the attention of an infectious evil lurking deep in the living forest. When something supernatural suddenly comes for their baby, the family find themselves in a terrifying fight for survival against the lurking night creatures of the forest and their own slipping grasp on sanity. The only real hitch in The Hallow is a middle act that sees the characters make far too many bone-headed horror movie choices and cliche decisions. Overall, The Hallow is a very satisfying monster movie with a unique take on the dark side of fairy legends. Turn the lights down low for this one.

SYNCHRONICITY (USA)
Directed by Jacob Gentry

Although its smoky cinematography and synth score will give you fuzzy wuzzy BLADE RUNNER nostalgia all over, this tale of time travel from the filmmakers of THE SIGNAL is a clunky and over-acted "sci-fi" noir that never clicks. In the near future, a physicist on the verge of cracking time travel with a machine that folds space-time finds himself caught up in corporate espionage and a toxic relationship with an erotic femme fatale -- made all the more complicated by the ripples of time travel causality, temporal feedback, and parallel dimensions. Does your head hurt yet? For a film about cracking time travel for the very first time, SYNCHRONICITY gets so bogged down and off-track in a drawn-out, wooden, and cliche noir romance for most of its running time that once it remembers the time travel conundrum at the heart of the movie, it clumsily fumbles for the climax by making some incredible leaps of logic and exposition for the sake of expediency. More style than substance, this films ends up a leaden and convoluted genre throwback in which its own genre elements never find the right synchronicity to pull it off.

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