Event Report and Reviews from the 2010 GoreZone International Film Festival
Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet
The local legend of murderess Mary Mattock spawns one small town’s annual night of mischief: Blood Night. Danielle Harris joins the cast as a group of partying teenagers mess with an Ouija board on Mary’s grave before finding themselves being bloodily offed in standard slasher fashion. Surprisingly high quality for what appeared to be a no-budget quickie, Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet is a well acted and unapologetically old-school slice of gory fun. The teens are well drawn and the script is tight and accessible, sporting some quick-fire dialogue delivered with authentic aplomb by the players alongside a healthy dose of humour. The physical gore effects are first-rate, but plausibility occasionally wears thin, and most will see the killer’s identity coming from a mile away. Genre legend Bill Moseley pops up in a small role as local kook Graveyard Gus.
3 1/2 out of 5
Breath of Hate
Director/producer Sean Cain (Someone’s Knocking at the Door) brings another nightmarish story to life with this tale of call-girl Love (Lauren Walsh), who decides to take one more job before abandoning the escort business to shack up with boyfriend Ned (Jason Mewes). Unfortunately, her clients on this particular occasion happen to be a trio of escaped mental patients led by the intelligent and philosophical Hate (Ezra Buzzington). As the girls are abused and murdered, Ned leads his own search through the seedy world of prostitution in an attempt to find Love before it’s too late.
Cain’s film is an engaging, tense, often humorous and thoughtful piece of work. Marked by sexual perversion and frustration, it may prove slightly uncomfortable for some – however, it’s definitely worth it if only for a scene involving one character graphically getting his jollies with half a melon. It does tend to drag somewhat at points and takes a little too long to truly get going. More time to flesh out the characters completely would have been welcome – especially Mewes’ Ned. Some may feel cheated by the culmination of Love’s experience, but it works, even if it doesn’t deliver on the supernatural or philosophical level that the rest of the setup appears to promise.
Buzzington once again proves himself a formidable screen presence with his memorable villain, and the script remains witty, disturbing, upfront, and aloof all at the same time. The final scene is great, too.
3 out of 5
Costas Mandylor stars as an average Joe turned monster hunter when his wife and child are killed by a clan of shape-shifting human hyenas, led by soon-to-be-alpha-female Christa Campbell.
Quite frankly, there’s barely any way to describe this flick that could do it justice. An absolute train wreck of the highest magnitude, Hyenas sports a plot that appears to have been written by a twelve-year-old with severe learning difficulties, direction and editing that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, a bafflingly horrible score and selection of sound effects (seriously, hyenas laughing is NOT scary), some of the worst CGI you’ll ever see, and dialogue so stunningly atrocious I simply can’t fathom how the filmmakers managed to convince the cast to spout it. For example:
“Your wife wasn’t the only killing!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That there have been OTHER KILLINGS!”
“The name’s Briggs. Folks round here mostly call me…CRAZY BRIGGS.”
“Are you OK?”
*Shot of female character’s face…vacant stare…shot goes on…and on…*
Every single minute of this movie delivers something new to laugh at, whether it’s awkward dialogue, major plot holes (how come the shape-shifters need to remove their garments to turn into hyenas but can turn back to human and be immediately fully clothed?), or even just the actors’ facial expressions. Most of the flick seems to be an exercise in just how many times it’s possible to show Christa Campbell’s breasts sans nipples. When the climax hits, there are just too many instances of hilarity that you can’t help but believe it’s intentional; but Hyenas is played with such straight-faced resolve it results in being the single biggest accidental laugh riot since Day of the Dead 2: Contagium and James Nguyen’s Birdemic. Mandylor’s final shot will go down in bad movie history, and that’s all I’m going to say.
5 out of 5 Hyena Heads