In a Valley of Violence (2016)

In a Valley of Violence
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss, Tommy Nohilly, Larry Fessenden, Burn Gorman
Part of: the surprise movie at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Paul (Ethan Hawke) and his dog are travelling on their own when their paths cross with a drunk priest (Burn Gorman) who tries to rob them. Although Paul gets the better of him, after the encounter he decides to pass through the small town of Denton. But trouble follows him there and he finds himself provoked by deputy Gilly (James Ransone). After a quick fight and a polite visit by the Sheriff (John Travolta), things seem to be resolved. But maybe Paul can’t shake Denton quite as quickly as he thought.

In a Valley of Violence is basically John Wick in the Wild West, but since I’m not much of a Western fan, that transfer didn’t completely work for me, although there is much to enjoy about the film.

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You’re Next (2011)

You’re Next
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Sharni Vinson, AJ Bowen, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Rob Moran, Barbara Crampton
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
It’s been a while since the Davison family came together but they do so to celebrate the parents’ anniversary. It’s Crispian’s (AJ Bowen) opportunity to introduce his new girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson). But as they sit together and go through the usual tense “we don’t much like each other but we are family” routine, they come under attack from men in masks who set out to kill them one by one.

You’re Next comes with a lot of accolades to back it up and I have to say that I do believe it’s been severely overhyped. Maybe I would have liked it if my expectations hadn’t been so high, but in this case I left it with a decided feeling of meh.

youre_next

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The ABCs of Death (2012)

The ABCs of Death
Director: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Hélène Cattet, Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani, Adrián García Bogliano, Xavier Gens, Lee Hardcastle, Noboru Iguchi, Thomas Cappelen Malling, Jorge Michel Grau, Anders Morgenthaler, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Jon Schnepp, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Yudai Yamaguchi
Part of: /slash Filmfestival‘s Slashing Europe
[I’m saving myself from mentioning the cast as well, especially since, apart from Ingrid Bolsø Berdal there wasn’t anybody in it I knew anyway.]

Plot:
The ABCs of Death is an episode movie in which 26 directors each got a letter in the alphabet to which they chose a word from which they built their story/short film.

The ABCs of Death has its good moments, but far from all episodes were my thing. There is a surprising amount of toilet humor in the movie (which I minded less than I usually do, but still) and I generally had my issues with the structure. 26 short films are a lot to take in and I would have appreciated if the movie was broken up into two parts (A-L and M-Z or something). Also, because of the alphabetic structure, they couldn’t take the mood or the pacing into consideration, so funny is followed by sadness by gore by blood by horror by funny etc. So maybe one should be watching the entire movie in short film increments.

The-ABCs-of-Death

[After the jump, I’ll talk briefly about each of the short films seperately. If you consider knowing the words already as SPOILERS, don’t read any further.]

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V/H/S (2012)

V/H/S (it’s a horror anthology with the following segments)
Segment Tape 56
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Kentucker Audley, Adam Wingard
Segment Amateur Night
Director: David Bruckner
Writer: David Bruckner, Nicholas Tecosky
Cast: Mike Donlan, Joe Sykes, Drew Sawyer, Hannah Fierman
Segment Second Honeymoon
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Joe Swanberg, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil
Segment Tuesday The 17th
Director: Glenn McQuaid
Writer: Glenn McQuaid
Cast: Norma C. Quinones, Drew Moerlein, Jeannine Elizabeth Yoder, Jason Yachanin
Segment The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger
Director: Joe Swanberg
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Helen Rogers, Daniel Kaufman
Segment 10/31/98
Director: Radio Silence (aka Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella)
Writer: Radio Silence (aka Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella)
Cast: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Chad Villella, Paul Natonek
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

[Trigger Warning]

Plot:
A group of young men (Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Kentucker Audley, Adam Wingard) who make their money with sexually assaulting women are hired to retrieve a mysterious video tape from an apparently empty house that is filled with video tapes. As they don’t know which tape to take, they start packing them all up. While they do that, one by one they start watching the tapes that are filled with horrifying found footage.

The quality of the segments varies wildly, but the general framing is pretty weak. Generally I’m afraid that my expectations were just way too high – even though I’m not a fan of found footage in general, I had heard only good things and how scary it was, but the movie just doesn’t live up to that.

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The Innkeepers (2011)

The Innkeepers
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
The Yankee Pedlar Hotel is about to close down. In it’s last days of business, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are the only employees left to take care of the few guests still staying there. But Luke and Claire also have another mission: They want to record the ghost that haunts the hotel. So during the night shift they set out to record the sounds in every room. And it isn’t long until Claire hears somethign weird.

I’m usually not much of a ghost story fan but this movie was an excellent one, despite the fact that it suffers from protagonist stupidity. And it was really scary.

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