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AUDIO-DROME


how these women ended up immortal, and why certain vampire authorities are out to get them. The Irish locations, particularly a remote island of men- acing black rock, and Jordan’s mastery of colour and mood imbue this with a glorious gloom. Byzan- tium takes the quiet terrors of Let the Right One In and drapes them in bit of Hammer Gothic. LL


CINEMACABRE


COME OUT AND PLAY MAKINOV Mexico


AUDIO-DROME


He simply goes by “Makinov,” wears a wrestling mask and is as mysterious as they come. Well, enig- matic he may be, but Makinov’s remake of Who Can Kill a Child is nothing spectacular. An American cou- ple rents a boat to escape to a small Mexican island while on vacation, but discover the place nearly empty when they arrive. It seems that something has caused the community’s children to brutally murder all of the adults, and now our hero and his pregnant wife must escape. The concept is disturbing, the sunny setting a nice change, and the direction is fine, but we’ve seen kids doing worse in other films (e.g., Vinyan, The Children), and damn if our heroes don’t make some really stupid decisions as they fumble their way into deep trouble. If only they’d ignored that title and locked themselves inside…DA


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THE FIFTH SEASON PETER BROSENS


AND JESSICA WOODWORTH Belgium/Netherlands/France


AUDIO-DROME


This art house spin on The Wicker Man is far more unsettling and darkly comedic than the cult classic’s official sequel, The Wicker Tree. The setting is an isolated village, where an annual ceremony, in which an effigy of Uncle Winter is burned to ensure a boun- tiful harvest, fails disastrously. Spring never arrives, crops won’t grow, livestock disappears and the self- sustaining community crumbles. The once-amusing eccentrics become frighteningly desperate, saving flies for food, turning out teen girls for sugar, and eventually resorting to human sacrifice. Shot almost exclusively in long takes, the film boasts a deadpan sense of surrealism as it descends into overbearing dread. An unexpected discovery begging for release. PB


CINEMACABRE


HELLBENDERS JT PETTY USA


Raucous, profane and highly entertaining, JT Petty’s new horror-comedy couldn’t be further removed from his grim monster western, The Burrowers. The Hellbound Saints – a parish of exorcists/priests who indulge in as much vice and sin as possible to make them “damnation-ready” for the battle with evil – are faced with an ancient Norse “god-killer” looking to kick-start the apocalypse. With a clever mythol- ogy, great cast (anchored by believable chemistry between co-leads Clifton Collins Jr and Clancy Brown) and a good balance between scares and laughs, it’s not surprising that Hellbenders was a Midnight Madness audience favourite. Imagine Ghostbusters with Tourette’s after a three-day ben- der. Sacri-licious! RM


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AUDIO-DROME HERE COMES THE DEVIL


ADRIÁN GARCÍA BOGLIANO Mexico


The director of Rooms for Tourists, Cold Sweat and Penumbra delivered one of the biggest surprises at TIFF with an atmospheric shocker that draws heavily from ’70s-era cinema such as Don’t Look Now, Picnic at Hanging Rock and the work of Roman Polanski. A family outing turns to near tragedy when a brother and sister climb a boulder-covered hill and go miss- ing. When they return home the next day, their parents realize that something has happened to them and de- cide to figure out exactly what (taking the law into their own hands along the way). The answer is ab- solutely chilling. Set in the sweaty, sketchy climes of Tijuana, and full of raw sexuality, this one casts a sin- ister spell. DA


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Ecstasy Of The Agony: (clockwise from top) One of the possessed in Hellbenders, Eli Roth (left) stars in Af- tershock, Byzantium’s Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), and the kids are not alright in Here Comes the Devil.


JOHN DIES AT THE END DON COSCARELLI USA


The eagerly awaited adaptation of David Wong’s cult novel of the same name would be a daunting task for most directors, but Don Coscarelli succeeds in trans- lating the book’s overall batshit-craziness for the screen. The tale of inter-dimensional warfare, mind- altering drugs and the two slackers entrusted with saving the world is not for everyone, but if you’re will- ing to strap yourself in for the ride, you’ll be rewarded. Great performances by leads Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes, as well as the always reliable Doug Jones, Glynn Turman, Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti (also executive producer) make this Midnight Mad- ness People’s Choice Award runner-up a festival high- light. RM


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