Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slaves] (2017)

Pengabdi Setan
Director: Joko Anwar
Writer: Joko Anwar
Based on: the 1982 film of the same title
Cast: Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Dimas Aditya, Endy Arfian, Nasar Annuz, M. Adhiyat, Arswendi Nasution
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2018

Plot:
Rini’s (Tara Basro) mother (Ayu Laksmi) used to be a successful singer, but in these past few years, she has been slowly dying from a mysterious illness that nobody really understands. When she finally succumbs to it, Rini’s father (Bront Palarae) has to leave the children to settle the necessary affairs. But as soon as he is gone, strange things start to happen in the house

Satan’s Slaves has a fantastic first and a muddled second half. Despite that drop in quality, the film is definitely worth it: the first part is definitely strong enough to make up for the second part.

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It Comes at Night (2017)

It Comes at Night
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Writer: Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Griffin Robert Faulkner, David Pendleton
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 3.5.2018

Plot:
Paul (Joel Edgerton), Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) are holed up in a remote cabin. They’ve effectively isolated themselves after a mysterious disease broke out. But one night somebody tries to invade their home. They capture the intruder and keep him quarantined. When it turns out that he – Will (Christopher Abbott) – isn’t infected, but has family nearby, they grant them access to their home. But tensions keep rising.

It Comes at Night is a solid film with good characters and a firm grip on the tension it needs. It didn’t quite blow me away, but it’s a good watch.

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Les garçons sauvages [The Wild Boys] (2017)

Les garçons sauvages
Director: Bertrand Mandico
Writer: Bertrand Mandico
Cast: Pauline Lorillard, Vimala Pons, Diane Rouxel, Anaël Snoek, Mathilde Warnier, Sam Louwyck, Elina Löwensohn, Nathalie Richard
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 3.5.2018

Content Note: Rape, transmisia

Plot:
Romuald (Pauline Lorillard), Jean-Louis (Vimala Pons), Hubert (Diane Rouxel), Tanguy (Anaël Snoek) and Sloane (Mathilde Warnier) are friends, all interested in arts and aestheticism in general. But after raping and killing their literature teacher (Nathalie Richard), they are put in the care of the Captain (Sam Louwyck) in the hope that his rough methods will set them on the right path again. They embark on a journey on the Captain’s ship to an island where transformation is supposedto happen.

The Wild Boys was interesting, but didn’t work in all respects for me. Still, it’s a film that looks at gender and has an interesting visual style, so I would say that it’s worth checking out regardless.

SPOILERS after the jump.

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Ghost Stories (2017)

Ghost Stories
Director: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Writer: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Based on: their own play
Cast: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Paul Warren, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Nicholas Burns, Daniel Hill, Derren Brown
Part of: /slash Filmfestival special screening
Seen on: 13.4.2018

Plot:
Phillip Goodman doesn’t believe in ghosts and he has made it his life’s mission to disprove cases of hauntings. But he gets handed three cases by his great idol Charles Cameron (Leonard Byrne). Cases that Cameron was unable to explain, turning him from a sceptic into a believer. Goodman delves deeper into the stories to figure out what’s going on.

Ghost Stories is an entertaining film, although the episodes differ in strength and the solution was a little overdone. But overall I enjoyed the film.

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Ghostland (2018)

Ghostland (aka Incident in a Ghostland)
Director: Pascal Laugier
Writer: Pascal Laugier
Cast: Crystal Reed, Mylène Farmer, Anastasia Phillips, Emilia Jones, Taylor Hickson, Kevin Power, Rob Archer
Seen on: 18.3.2018
Part of: /slash Filmfestival special screening
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Plot:
Pauline (Mylène Farmer) inherita a house from her aunt. She moves there with her two daughters, Beth (Emilia Jones) and Vera (Taylor Hickson). But they have barely arrived when they are attacked in the house by two strangers. Pauline barely manages to save them all, but the trauma of the attack sits deep. Years later, Beth (Crystal Reed) has become a writer who just published a book about the experience, when she gets a call from her mother that she has to return home to help with her sister (Anastasia Phillips) who never got over the night. So Beth leaves her husband and kid behind and comes home – where strange things start happening again.

Ghostland is a relentless film and that lack of a break is its biggest strength, but I found it absolutely problematic and couldn’t really get into it.

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Hagazussa [Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse] (2017)

Hagazussa
Director: Lukas Feigelfeld
Writer: Lukas Feigelfeld
Cast: Aleksandra Cwen, Celina Peter, Claudia Martini, Tanja Petrovsky, Haymon Maria Buttinger
Part of: /slash Filmfestival Christmas special
Seen on: 21.12.2017
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Plot:
Albrun (Celina Peter) lives with her mother (Claudia Martini) in a small hut in the alps. Their lives are withdrawn and lonely, the mother being suspected by everyone in their village of being a witch. After her mother’s death, the by now grown Albrun (Aleksandra Cwen) remains completely on her own and equally shunned. But after she gives birth herself and receives a present from the village priest (Haymon Maria Buttinger), there does seem to be a present in her hut that isn’t supposed to be there.

Hagazussa is a film from a promising filmmaker that isn’t quite as good as it could have been. But it’s definitely interesting enough to warrant keeping an eye out for what Feigelfeld does next.

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The Endless (2017)

The Endless
Director: Justin BensonAaron Moorhead
Writer: Justin Benson
Cast: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie HernandezJames JordanEmily MontagueTate EllingtonLew TempleRic SarabiaKira Powell
Part of: Secret Society Screening at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Justin (Justin Benson) and Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) are brothers who managed to get out of a cult and have slowly been adjusting to life outside of it. But when they get a video from another member of the cult, it re-opens that chapter of their lives and the two decide to head back there to figure things out and find closure. However, once they arrive, the cult starts to make more sense than they ever thought before.

If The Endless hadn’t been a surprise screening, I probably would have avoided it – that’s how much I hated Benson and Moorhead’s first film, Spring. But I have to admit that Endless wasn’t bad, even though I didn’t fall head over heels for it.

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Tremors (1990)

Tremors
Director: Ron Underwood
Writer: S.S. WilsonBrent Maddock
Cast: Kevin BaconFred WardFinn CarterMichael GrossReba McEntireRobert JayneCharlotte StewartTony GenaroAriana RichardsRichard MarcusVictor Wong
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) do a little bit of everything around the small town of Perfection, Nevada, in the middle of the desert. They are ready for a change, but that change comes in a very different way from what they expect when they and the entire town come under attack from giant snakes that burrow underground. Suddenly the entire small population of Perfection has to fight for their survival.

I know that Tremors has gained quite a cult-following, but maybe it needs the nostalgia factor to really see why that’s the case. I saw it for the first time at the /slash and I thought it was nice, but I didn’t love it.

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Anchiporuno [Antiporno] (2016)

Anchiporuno
Director: Sion Sono
Writer: Sion Sono
Cast: Ami TomiteMariko TsutsuiAsamiFujikoAmi FukudaHonoka IshibashiYûya Takayama
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Kyoko (Ami Tomite) is a young artist who takes great pleasure in humiliating her assistant Noriko (Mariko Tsutsui). But as their sexually charged relationship unfolds, things keep shifting.

I saw the trailer of the film and I was very doubtful that I would like it. But I didn’t think I’d actively hate it. It took me about five minutes to arrive at that point though, and even though I tried to give it more of a chance, I didn’t succeed.

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Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Vol. 2 (2017)

Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Vol. 2
Director: Lloyd Kaufman
Writer: Travis CampbellDerek Dressler, Lloyd Kaufman, Gabriel FriedmanDoug Sakmann
Sequel to: Return to Nuke ‘Em High
Cast: Asta ParedesCatherine CorcoranZac AmicoVito Trigo, Lloyd Kaufman, Babette BombshellTara E. MillerMike BaezMark QuinnetteJim SheppardReiki TsunoJosh PotterDebbie RochonClay von Carlowitz
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Chrissy (Asta Paredes) and Lauren (Catherine Corcoran) have just come out of a crisis at Nuke ‘Em High, and are already slithering into the next. On a personal level, their principal threatens to out them. On a larger scale, rich company owner Herzkauf (Lloyd Kaufman) isn’t done trying to make profits at Nuke ‘Em High any way he can.

After the short film that ran before it, I fell asleep for the first half or so of the film. But that just meant that I was awake enough to really take in the secod half even though I really didn’t want to. Troma will probably never win me over.

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