The Toronto After Dark Film Festival is back! With yet another amazing collection of cult, horror and genre films to enjoy, one of the cities best festivals this year brings us nine nights of hand picked gems. Follow us through the next week and a bit as we delve into some truly dark, twisted and often hilarious films!
Continuing from the awesomeness which was the TADFF 2012 summer screenings, the opening gala began with yet another fantastic Canadian short. Not Till We’re Married is an awkwardly hilarious and somewhat unsettling look into the relationship problems of a partially formed tumorous twin and his lady love. Directed by Shannon Rae Hammer and penned by TdotComic’s favorite short director Chris Nash, this short showcase some particularly visceral puppetry and authentic emotion. I highly recommend checking this short out if you can come across it (or any Chris Nash short from previous years, for that matter).
The opening Gala film this year was the refreshingly excellent Irish monster/creature feature Grabbers (2012) – Jon Wright. The perfect mashup of small town Irish cops, alcohol and tentacle monsters. Taking place on a small town on a small Irish island, the film follows an alcoholic cop and his newly met female counterpart as they attempt to deal with an incoming alien attack.
The characters are hilarious an immediately endearing. The two leads, Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley, contribute some very solid acting along with Russel Tovey (which some may recognize from several popular BBC series) as both a great comic relief and straight man. The drunken ramblings of some of the town’s inhabitants, though sometimes incomprehensible, still manage to add an incredible amount of character to this monster thriller. The film really balances its sense of humour and terror excellently , with some nods to its predecessors and some genuinely thrilling scares.
Aesthetically the film is fairly stunning. Minus a bit of overzealousness with lens flares, the sweeping vistas of island countryside are breath taking and beautiful, and a perfect contrast to the monster madness and pub crawling in the later parts of the film. Outside the masterful camera work, the monster effects are equally fantastic with some fairly decent CG and practical effects.
Overall Grabbers is a highly entertaining and thrilling monster mash, with a great sense of both terror and comedy – probably the best monster movie we’ve had since 2006’s The Host! I’d give it a high recommendation once it hits DVD. Check out the trailer below.
Unfortunately I was not able to stay for the 2nd film of the night, American Mary, but from what I hear it’s a must-see feminist gore film somewhere in line with Cronenberg. Sounds great!
Our coverage of After Dark will continue throughout the next nine days so be sure to come back and check it out! Click here to see the full schedule of films for the festival and grab some tickets!