The Field Guide to Evil (2018)

The Field Guide to Evil
Segment 1: Die Trud [The Sinful Women of Höllfall]
Director: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Writer: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Cast: Marlene Hauser, Birgit Minichmayr, Karin Pauer, Luzia Oppermann
Segment 2: Al Karisi [Haunted by Al Karisi]
Director: Can Evrenol
Writer: Elif Domanic, Can Evrenol
Cast: Naz Sayiner, Sureyya Kucuk
Segment 3: Kindler i dziewica [The Kindler and the Virgin]
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Writer: Robert Bolesto
Cast: Andrzej Konopka, Kordian Kadziela
Segment 4: The Melon Heads
Director: Calvin Reeder
Writer: Calvin Reeder
Cast: Sarah Navratil, Jilon VanOver, Claude Duhamel, Paul Ford, Kannon Hicks
Segment 5: What Ever Happened to Panagas the Pagan?
Director: Yannis Veslemes
Writer: Yannis Veslemes
Cast: Vangelis Mourikis, Antonis Tsiotsiopoulos, Vasilis Kamitsis, Panagiotis Papadopoulos, Nikos Dallas
Segment 6: Palace of Horrors
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
Writer: Ashim Ahluwalia
Cast: Niharika Singh
Segment 7: A Nocturnal Breath
Director: Katrin Gebbe
Writer: Katrin Gebbe, Silvia Wolkan
Cast: Thomas Schubert, Lili Epply
Segment 8: The Cobblers’ Lot
Director: Peter Strickland
Writer: Peter Strickland
Cast: Fatma Mohamed, Károly Hajduk, László Konter, Péter Jankovics
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2018
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The Field Guide to Evil collects eight different segments from eight different countries that all build from a local legend. As usual with anthology films, Field Guide to Evil is a mixed bag of beans. There are some very good segments, but also some that didn’t really work for me. But I would say, it’s worth seeing because the good parts are really very good.

The film poster showing a young woman lying on her back, her eyes rolled back, her mouth open with a man's hand at her chin.

[More about each of the segments after the jump.]

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Saat po long: Taam long [Paradox] (2017)

Saat po long: Taam long
Director: Wilson Yip
Writer: Nick Cheuk, Lai-Yin Leung
Cast: Louis Koo, Yue Wu, Ka Tung Lam, Chris Collins, Tony Jaa, Jacky Cai, Ken Lo, Hanna Chan, Vithaya Pansringarm
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2018
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Plot:
Lee Chung Chi (Louis Koo) is a police officer in Hong Kong. He is tough and good at his job, but when his teenaged daughter Wing Chi (Hanna Chan) disappears in Thailand, his position at home helps him very little. Nevertheless, he goes to Thailand, hoping to help in the investigation and to find his daughter again. In Thailand he finds officers Chui Kit (Yue Wu) and his partner Tak (Tony Jaa) who are in charge of the case, although not necessarily happy with having to deal with Chung Chi as well. But when Wing Chi’s disappearance leads to a criminal conspiracy, they need all the help they can get.

Paradox is a very cool film that manages to transcend its basic thriller set-up by a healthy dose of criticism of the system and really fantastic fight scenes. I enjoyed every second of it.

The film poster showing the faces of five men under a yellow background with the silhouette of a girl walking in front of it.
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What Keeps You Alive (2018)

What Keeps You Alive
Director: Colin Minihan
Writer: Colin Minihan
Cast: Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen, Martha MacIsaac, Joey Klein
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2018
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Plot:
Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson) and Jules (Brittany Allen) are happy, in love and on their way to celebrate their first wedding anniversary at the cabin where Jackie grew up. They are planning a weekend all for themselves, but when Jackie’s childhood friend and neighbor Sarah (Martha MacIsaac) shows up with her husband Daniel (Joey Klein), things start to change. Jackie starts behaving weirdly, leaving Jules bewildered and desperate to find out what is going on.

What Keeps You Alive builds from a familiar set-up, but given that it features a queer couple, it could have done some interesting things. Unfortunately, the script is just not up for the task, leaving too many things incomprehensible to make the film work.

The film poster showing a black and white forest with a woman's face superimposed over it and another woman running through the forest, all under a pink sky.
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BuyBust (2018)

BuyBust
Director: Erik Matti
Writer: Anton C. Santamaria, Erik Matti
Cast: Anne Curtis, Brandon Vera, Victor Neri, Arjo Atayde, Levi Ignacio, Alex Calleja, Lao Rodriguez
Part of: surprise movie at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2018
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Plot:
Nina (Anne Curtis) is a police officer trying to do right. But ever since her entire squad was murdered in a sting against the drug cartels in Manila, she is itching for an opportunity to hit back against them. When a new mission is announced, it appears that she will finally get that chance. She and her new squad make their way into the slums. But things don’t go as planned, and they soon find themselves in a very dire situation.

When it was revealed that BuyBust was the surprise film at the /slash, I was very excited. I had been looking forward to seeing this film, hoping basically for The Raid with a female protagonist. Unfortunately, the film didn’t fulfill my expectations for it, despite a suckerpunch of an ending.

The film poster showing a woman with her fist in her hand in front of a colorful background.
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Our House (2018)

Our House
Director: Anthony Scott Burns
Writer: Nathan Parker
Based on: Phasma Ex Machina (2010)
Cast: John Ralston, Thomas Mann, Percy Hynes White, Lucius Hoyos, Allison Hossack, Kate Moyer, Nicola Peltz, Marcia Bennett, Robert B. Kennedy
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2018
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Plot:
Ethan (Thomas Mann) is a college student with a passion project: ELI is supposed to bring wireless electricity to the world. Focusing on this project, together with his girlfriend Hannah (Nicola Peltz), is the most important thing for him. That is until his parents (John Ralston, Allison Hossack) are both killed in a car accident. Ethan moves back home to take care of his siblings Matt (Percy Hynes White) and Becca (Kate Moyer). When he can, he still works on his machine. He soon notices that ELI may not bring wireless electricity, but it’s certainly bringing something to their house. Or someone. Ehtan is convinced that he has found a way to communicate with his parents and he throws himself even more deeply into the project.

Our House doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it’s a well-executed genre film that delivers exactly what you expect from it. It’s very enjoyable, albeit not great.

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Puen Tee Raluek [The Promise] (2017)

Puen Tee Raluek
Director: Sophon Sakdaphisit
Writer: Sopana Chaowwiwatkul, Supalerk Ningsanond, Sophon Sakdaphisit
Cast: Bee Namthip, Apichaya Thongkham, Panisara Rikulsurakan, Deuntem Salitul, Thunyaphat Pattarateerachaicharoen, Benjamin Joseph Varney, Teerapop Songwaja
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2018
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Plot:
In 1997, Ib (Panisara Rikulsurakan) and Boum (Thunyaphat Pattarateerachaicharoen) are best friends. The two girls both come from rich real estate families, but when the financial crisis hits, their lives are forever changed. 20 years later, Boum (Bee Namthip) has risen from the ashes of the crisis and is working hard to restore her family’s company to its former glory, despite another financial crisis looming on the horizon. She agrees to a plan to finish building the high-rise started in 1997 but never finished. But as the project starts to get off the ground, Boum’s daughter Bell (Apichaya Thongkham), now the same age as Boum and Ib were back then, starts exhibiting worrisome behavior.

The Promise starts off strong, setting up its characters and the story nicely and creating good tension. But unfortunately, it completely spiralled out of control in the second half, making me wish that it had done a little less.

The film poster showing two women looking at the camera in front of a black background with a ghostly face behind them.
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Summer of 84 (2018)

Summer of 84
Director: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Writer: Matt Leslie, Stephen J. Smith
Cast: Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Gruter-Andrew, Tiera Skovbye, Rich Sommer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2018
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Plot:
A serial killer has been active in Cape May, leaving the area in a constant state of vigilance. This includes Davey (Graham Verchere), though to be fair, he doesn’t need much prompting to see mysteries and conspiracies everywhere. That’s why not even his friends Woody (Caleb Emery), Curtis (Cory Grüter-Andrew) and Eats (Judah Lewis) believe him, when Davey starts to suspect that his neighbor, police officer Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer), is the Cape May Slayer. Nevertheless, after yet another suspicious disappearance, the four start to investigate Mackey.

Summer of 84 starts as an hommage to the 80s adventure film, perfectly evoking the look and feel of them. But it isn’t content with “just” paying hommage, and takes quite a turn in the end that both makes and breaks the film.

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