Since I started this site I've been keeping myself to a bottom line of 4 out of 5 stars in order to review a film. It's a great way to determine whether a film is actually great (reviewing is time-consuming) or just plain old good. Still, there are always edge cases that are worth a look if you've nothing better planned. I'm going to list these films right here, providing a capsule review for each one of them.

The Butterfly Tree

date
September 11, 2018
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The Butterfly Tree poster

The past few years there's been much talk about the overwhelming lack of female film directors, with a lot of misdirectied effort simply demanding to up the numbers. Since film lives on that uncomfortable edge between commerce and art, having more women do what men have been doing for ages isn't going to solve much, because there's just no added commercial and/or artistic value there. It makes hiring a female director an unnecessary risk in a business that deals with millions of dollars to produce one single product. That is exactly why a film like The Butterfly Tree deserves some extra attention. Here we have a film, directed by a woman, with a palpable female touch, about male issues and with a proper, well-executed artistic vision. In that sense, director Priscilla Cameron follows into the footsteps of women like Coralie Fargeat, Lisa Takeba and Lucile Hadzihalilovic. All authors that managed to add something unique and worthwhile to the world of film.

The Butterfly Tree is a grim and dark drama, at least on paper. The films deals with some pretty tough subjects, while the core of the film revolves around the troubled relationship between a boy (Fin) and his father (Al), both dealing with the loss of their wife/mother. Her death came sudden and left the two struggling to move forward. While they both find rather unheatlhy ways to cope with the situation, it uproots their lives and their inability to communicate with each other drives them further apart. If you feel this all sounds too heavy and depressing though, think again.

While the subject matter is quite grave and serious, the presentation is anything but. Cameron counters all the hardship with plenty of romantic imagery, at times crossing over into the realm of the fantastic. The redeeming plot point comes in the form of Evelyn, a retired burlesque performer who opens up a garden shop in Al and Fin's town. The two men are easily won over by Evelyn's charm, but are unaware of each other's interest in the woman. And even though Evelyn appears to be an otherworldly, ever-smiling butterfly godess, she has her own set of problems to deal with.

The Butterfly Tree screencap

Cameron put a lot of time and effort into the styling of the film. The retro-inspired world of Evelyn is brought to life with sprawling colors, lush sets, beautiful camera work and some charming bits of animation. It's in these moments that the film also takes on a small, fantastical vibe, turning little interactions into larger than life experiences. It helps to take the edge off the harshness of the drama and it adds tons of charm to Cameron's first. While it would be unfair to make a direct comparison to Jeunet/Caro, there are definitely parallels to be found and it should give you some kind of idea of what to expect.

The Butterfly Tree could've been a slow and cumbersome drama, instead it turned out to be an energetic and marvelous film that deals with some tough themes in a very warm and humane way. The only problem is that Cameron needed 10 years to finish this project, hopefully she perseveres as a director and we won't have to wait another 10 years to see her next project. A good set of actors, lush visuals, an original setting and some standout scenes make this a film to cherish, so make an effort and seek this one out. It's not for everyone, but it's unique enough to deserve a fair chance.

Crimi Clowns 2.0: Uitschot

date
July 17, 2018
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Crimi Clowns 2.0: Uitschot poster

Crimi Clowns is no doubt a franchise that needs something in the way of introduction. It's not the kind of film you casually recommend to someone in the hope that it will magically catch on. First of all, it's a franchise with strong local roots, though I wouldn't call it typically Flemish. It's not as if tons of comparable series and films are being made here on a regular basis. The comedy is quite particular and typical for this region though. Then there is the setup of the franchise, which is also pretty confusing. There's a 3-season TV series and two feature films, but they largely overlap each other. The franchise started out as a TV series, spanning 2 seasons. These episodes were then re-cut to make the first film. This film version was followed by a more cinematic follow-up feature (Crimi Clowns 2.0: Uitschot), which was then fleshed out into a third season.

The overall quality of the franchise is pretty consistent throughout, but this second film does benefit from a more cinematic approach. Gone are the ugly 4:3 ratio and the rather cheap TV look, though don't go in expecting a fully-fledged cinematic experience. To be fair, the look of the film is supposed to have a more hand-held/home video like quality to it, but it's equally clear this wasn't just an artistic choice. This second film is a real improvement over the first one though, even when its TV roots haven't disappeared completely.

The story is a direct continuation of the first film and even though it's easy enough to follow, I'd advise against diving right into the second film without having seen the first one. The story may not be all that puzzling, but watching the first film will at least give you some kind of grip and context on why there's a family of criminal theater clowns killing and rampaging at will. While there is a clear storyline here, it doesn't make too much sense as it's merely a crutch for the dark and crude comedy on display. Trying to summarize it is going to make it sound even sillier, so I'm not even going to make an effort.

What the film does offer is a crazy, often absurd and pleasantly blunt sense of humor. The characters are all depraved, trashy and crude, the film is violent, unfiltered and off-kilter and most importantly, Crimi Clowns 2 manages to surprise throughout. There are Nightmare before Christmas rip-offs, flashy shoot-outs and gruesome murders, strange clown interludes and mad car chases. It may all feel a bit disconnected and random, but it sure makes for one hellish ride.

Crimi Clows is a strange beast. It's a little like Man Bites Dog, with a little Ex Drummer and Small Gods thrown in for good measure. You can also mix in some New Kids and House of 1000 Corpses if needed, but even all of that only gets you about halfway. Most importantly, it's its very own thing, a film/franchise that needs to be experienced and felt to be understood. It's a tough recommend as it's virtually impossible to predict someone's reaction to it, but if you like your films weird, be sure to give this one a try.

Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory

date
May 02, 2018
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Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory poster

Ah, the joy of discovering a film that is simply content to entertain in the purest way possible. Lisa Takeba's Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory [Haruko Chojo Gensho Kenkyujo] has zero pretentions, it doesn't try to be anything more than fun, escapist nonsense and it ignores any sensible running time targets. But it sure is a blast.

Making a film like this comes with penalties though. Unless you're an established director with plenty of clout to waste, getting a film like this properly financed is virtually impossible. Takeba does her very best to cover up the lack of budget, but she's only partially successful. While she's quite generous with funky camera work and visual filters, the film retains a very lo-fi look that betrays its indie roots. It's not a big deal, especially as it's a comedy that draws a lot of humor from its hard-wrought freedom, just don't expect to be dazzled.

The story revolves around Haruko, a young girl who is certain that paranormal phenomena exist. Her many attempts to uncover them never result in concrete proof, until one day she hits the jackpot. After slinging 10.000 insults at her TV set, the television is finally fed up with all the verbal abuse and turns human. After a little spat, the two end up sleeping with each other and start a loving relationship. If this doesn't make any sense, rest assured that the rest of the film goes down that same route, but it's a great starting point for some absurdist comedy, some of it quite grotesque, the rest dry and deadpan.

The only problem with recommending Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory is that the comedy is very much rooted in Japanese pop culture. While not understanding the roots of some of the gags can make the film even more absurd, it might also make it a little too random. The references are quite on the nose and don't require people to have a thorough understanding of Japanese pop culture, but some baseline level of familiarity is definitely a plus here. It's no surprise then that the film never quite found its footing across the ocean.

Films like these often run too long, luckily Takeba was smart enough to wrap everything up after 75 minutes. That means she doesn't get to the "required" 90 minute mark, but I'm happy she didn't needlessly drag out the film just to meet some senseless industry standard. When all the material is depleted, it's just better to end things naturally. That way the film doesn't overstay its welcome and things end on a positive note. There's no forced drama here, no deeper meanings (unless you're really stretching yourself to find one), everything is simply played out for maximum fun. Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory is a warm recommendation, but only if you can stomach the absurdist comedy, Takeba's low budget approach and the overwhelming Japaneseness of it all.

Dragon Chronicles: The Maidens of Heaven

date
March 13, 2018
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Dragon Chronicles: The Maidens of Heavenly Mountain poster

The early 90s were a golden age for Hong Kong cinema. A generation of seasoned directors started a true onslaught of martial arts and fantasy cinema that would continue for about four years. Famed directors like Tsui Hark, Jing Wong, Johnnie To, Woo-ping Yuen, Ringo Lam and Corey Yuen pumped out one martial arts classic after another. There was a time that I madly devoured each and every single film I could get my hands on, but some years ago I started to feel like I'd seen them all. Luckily I still get a friendly reminder now and then, pointing me to some films that escaped my attention.

Dragon Chronicles: The Maidens of Heaven [Xin Tian Long Ba Bu Zhi Tian Shan Tong Lao] is one of those films that I hadn't heard of until just recently. It's more fantasy-oriented than action-oriented (think Hark's Zu Warriors) and it wasn't directed by one of the big names, but it has all the elements that makes this type of film so spectacular. On top of that, it also sports a pretty high-profile cast, so it's a little hard to imagine why this particular film got left behind. Quality or entertainment value clearly weren't the main reason though, because it's a real joy to watch.

When you're planning to see this film though, come prepared. If you're looking for a quiet, peaceful evening of film, Dragon Chronicles probably isn't your best choice. It's one of those absolutely manic martial arts/fantasy blends that hits the ground running and never seems to slow down. There's a bunch of characters that are all related and are constantly fighting which each other, whether you actually want to keep track of it all is more of a personal choice. I prefer to let it go a little (because really, I'm not watching these films for their great storylines) and I just appreciate them for their spectacular action and crazy pacing. Dragon Chronicles really isn't an exception to that rule.

The only reason why I feel this doesn't qualify as one of the better/best films in the genre is due to its somewhat lackluster direction, which does get a little too flakey at times. These films often lack true attention to detail and they're a little rough around the edges by default, but their vigor and enthusiasm tend to make up for that. Sadly Chin takes a few too many short cuts. Some scenes are a little iffy and the effects in particular can get a little too low budget, even though the rest of the film looks pretty nice.

Don't let that deter you though, because there's a lot of fun to be had with this one. There are plenty of insane fights, the film is littered with wacky comedy and Brigitte Lin, Gong Li, Man Cheung and Norman Chu clearly had a lot of fun on set. Not exactly prize-winning material of course, it's all about big gestures and manic laughter, but they make it work alright. The magic effects are a little subpar, but there isn't much time to be annoyed by all of that because of the film's lightning pacing. Dragon Chronicles: The Maidens of Heaven is an energetic and hilarious action film, especially if you have a soft spot for early 90s Hong Kong martial arts cinema.

Replace

date
November 13, 2017
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Replace poster

Even though sci-fi (especially the not so distant kind) has a natural ally in het horror genre, the two are rarely balanced with great effect. Director Norbert Keil set out to change that and produced a film that delivers on both accounts. Replace is an intriguing sci-fi/horror film with a healthy dash of mystery, a film that aims to dazzle but falls just a little short of its aspirations.

Keil is credited as writer/director of Replace, but co-writer Richard Stanley is probably the one who will pique people's interest. Stanley is a cult favorite, best known for Dust Devil and Hardware, both highly regarded early 90s genre films. Stanley worked with Keil on the script and his influence is clearly felt. That said, some of the sci-fi bits (the clinic in particular) do feel a little out-dated (and not in an acceptable retro sci-fi way).

I'm not going to spoil too much, as the film is set up in such a way that the audience joins the main character in her quest to uncover the mystery. I can say the film revolves around Kira Mabon, a young girl in her prime, who suddenly finds herself burdened with a strange skin disease. The condition spreads like crazy and things start spiraling out of control when Kira discovers she can treat it by assimilating skin from other people. This sets her on a murdering rampage in a desperate attempt to control her condition.

It's on a stylistic level that Replace really manages to shine. Use of color and lighting are exquisite and the sets look absolutely lush. The film doesn't sport an overly obvious sci-fi vibe (in fact, it takes a while before you even realize Replace is set in a not so distant future), but everything looks extremely cool, crisp and atmospheric. Sadly the camera work and editing aren't entirely up to par, which leaves a little untapped potential there, something Keil should try to figure out in his next film.

The music is notable in the sense that it's hard to ignore its presence. There are scenes where the score positively adds to the film, but there are also moments when it doesn't really work well with the visuals. The club scene in particular is a weird cut and paste job, where the music messes up the flow of the scene. Generally speaking, some scenes could've benefitted from a slower, more subtle approach, while others could've been a bit tighter and edgier.

While the film suffers from other minor problems (like the somewhat inconsistent acting), I felt that overall Keil succeeded in what he set out to do. Both horror and sci-fi elements are on point, the film sets up an intruiging mystery and unwraps itself at a steady and satisfying pace. It's an atmospheric trip from start to finish, showing lots of stylistic promise and hopefully it will pave the way for a second film, because there's no doubt that Keil deserves a second chance at greatness. And with a little tweaking left and right, that's definitely within reach.

Residue

date
September 11, 2017
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Residue poster

I bumped into Alex Garcia Lopez' Residue completely by accident. I was looking up some info on Rusty Nixon's Residue (2017) when I suddenly ended up with a trailer of Lopez' film. A happy coincidence, as Lopez' Residue turned out to be a sleek and well-directed genre effort. It may not be winning prizes for originality anytime soon, but Lopez more than makes up for it with stylish and headstrong direction.

Residue combines equal doses of mystery, horror and thriller, with some small extras of scifi and fantasy. That's quite a handful of genres, but at its core it's really just an outbreak film that shuffled some details around in order to avoid becoming yet another basic zombie flick. And with great success I should add, because Residue never feels like the 28 Days Later knock-off it could've been. Instead it reminded me more of Spectral, though a bit more low-key in execution.

The plot revolves around a New Years eve discotheque bombing that compromises an old military facility. A contamination spreads from the facility and a perimiter is set up around the distaster area, completely closing off the heart of the city. Time passes and normal life resumes, but for some reason the government has trouble clearing up the infected area. People are starting to suspect there's something the government isn't telling them and when a city photographer starts seeing weird shapes and shadows in her pictures, she vows to dig up the truth.

Residue is a film that lives through the atmosphere it conjures. It's a pretty dark and brooding film and the styling reflects that. Flashing neon signs are pretty much the only sources of color, the city looks bleak and abandoned and the contamination pushes people to pull off some pretty horrible stunts. The film also features a pretty banging soundtrack, with strong ambient and industrial influences, that only fortifies the desolate atmosphere. The underground club scene is a superb culmination of all these elements and stands as the highlight of the film.;

I guess some people were taken aback by the bleak atmosphere of Residue, on top of that Lopez leaves a lot to the imagination of the viewer. While the setting is properly established, the film offers little in the way of explanations. The source of the contamination is never revealed, neither is its exact nature. This may be because Lopez was planning to expand on his premise in a future TV series, but I actually believe that it works in favor of the film. It won't be easy coming up with a decent, let alone imaginative explanation for everything that's happening, so leaving it unresolved was probably the best solution.

If you like dark, moody outbreak films than Residue is a very easy recommend. If you demand closure and relief from a film though, it's probably best to skip this one. Still, I hope Lopez will return with a second film (though not necessarily a sequel), because he clearly has the talent to construct intriguing worlds that ooze atmosphere. Residue is a little gem that deserves to be seen by more people.

The Incident

date
July 17, 2017
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El Incidente poster

South-American genre cinema used to be a deep, dark void for me. We may live in a world where everything is just one Google search away, but that doesn't mean all our cultural boundaries have been torn down yet . Luckily services like Netflix are making it much easier to try less obvious films a la carte, hence how I stumbled upon Isaac Ezban, a Mexican director with a clear vision and an outspoken aesthetic. After seeing and liking The Similars, it was time to give The Incident [El Incidente] a run for its money.

The Incident was Ezban's first feature film, which isn't too much of a surprise when you look at the final result. It's a film that is high on concept, brimming with ideas and almost overflowing with potential. It may lack balance and refinement in places, but it makes up for that with plenty of energy and vitality. It's somewhat of an acquired taste though and if you're looking for more polished, mainstream genre entertainment it's probably best to go with The Similars first, but I tend to prefer these more rash and frivolous films.

That said, the first hour does feel a little derivative. Ezban takes his time to develop the setting, which is two-fold. The first story is about a cop chasing two criminals in a closed off stairway, the second one tells about a family on their way to the beach. Both get stuck in a time loop, which drives the protagonists to near-insanity. Both stories are told seperately and feel like familiar territory, so roughly halfway through you'd be forgiven for thinking that this is just a simple copy/paste affaire.

But then Ezban starts to switch things around. I've seen quite a few time loop films already, but none where characters are actually stuck for life. Seeing them 35 years later, still trapped in that same loop is a nifty and surprisingly disturbing novelty. On top of that, Ezban further expands his concept by giving a unique explanation for the loop phenomenon during his final act. By then the film is racing full force ahead and keeping up with all the craziness requires a little extra attention, so make sure you don't plan any toilet breaks during the second part of The Incident.

Stylistically the first half of the film is a little hit and miss. The are some interesing visual ideas and the soundtrack suits the atmosphere, but the timing feels a little off and some scenes look as if Ezban was hitting his budgetary limitations. Where that budget went becomes apparent during the second part, which features more elaborately constructed settings. It's a nice build-up that goes full crescendo towards the final act. Ezban delivers a nice spin on the explanatory montage and turns a cheesy film cliché into an emotional payoff, with all the right bells and whistles in place.

The Incident is a pretty cool film. The first half looks like classic genre fare, but once Ezban starts moving the pawns around it becomes much more than that. Between The Incident and The Similars, Ezban has already proven himself to be an interesting director who can bring a novel twist to dusty and chewed out concepts. I hope Netflix keeps track of him, because I have no idea how else I would have to keep up with his work. If you like a good mind trip and you don't mind Mexican cinema, The Incident is an easy recommendation.

Next Generation Patoreiba: Shuto Kessen

date
January 09, 2017
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The Next Generation Patlabor: Tokyo War poster

Some ten years ago I stopped looking at the films Japan was producing, instead focusing on Japanese films that were actually ready for Western consumption. I got tired of setting myself up for disappointment. That doesn't mean I'm completely unaware of what's happening over there though. When Oshii revealed his new Patlabor live action project, my Facebook wall lit up with trailers. I left it for what it was, well aware of the slim chance I'd ever get to see it. But lo and behold, sometimes luck is on my side and when the option to see Mamoru Oshii's latest Patlabor film presented itself I jumped at it right away.

The Next Generation Patoreiba: Shuto Kessen [The Next Generation Patlabor: Tokyo War] tails a 13-episode series, very much like the original setup of the franchise. In theory it's a sequel to Kido Keisatsu Patoreba: The Movie 2, but in reality it feels a lot more like a live action remake of said film. The plot is a continuation of the Tsuge storyline introduced in the second Patlabor feature, but Oshii revisits so many landmark moments of his '93 animation classic that it becomes impossible to look at it as a mere sequel. 

Oshii has been going through some rough patches the past couple of years and those struggles are still apparent in Tokyo War. Adapting anime to live action is no easy task, regardless the film has some problems with pacing and tone. Anime-specific comedy doesn't mix well with real-life actors and the jumps between comedy and contemplative moments come quite sudden. It just feels a little awkward at times, especially when comparing it to original film, where pacing and tone were stand-out elements.

That doesn't mean there isn't a lot to enjoy though. Once you get past the weirdness of seeing all those recognizable Patlabor 2 moments redone in live action, there's plenty of vintage Oshii to soak up. From the elaborate camera work to the excellent use of music and some exquisite action scenes, there's hardly ever a dull moment. And if all the Patlabor 2 nods weren't enough, Oshii is also referencing some of his other films (the Ash basketball and of course the famous basset shot - with Oshii's very own silhouette next to it if I'm not mistaken).

There are times when Oshii's genius shimmers through, but those moments are too often interrupted by short comic interludes. I did find out afterwards that I watched the short version (there's also a director's cut that lasts an extra 30 minutes), which is a bit of a bummer since those extra 30 minutes could go a long way towards fixing the pacing problems. Whether you should watch Patlabor 2 first is also a tough question. It's a direct sequel so knowing the plot of its predecessor is definitely helpful, but there are so many references to the original that you might get stuck comparing the two rather than enjoying this film for what it is. I'm sure to give it another go when I get my hands on the director's cut, but for now it isn't quite the masterpiece I'd hoped for. Still a very good film though, especially if you're partial to the work of Oshii.

Ubume no Natsu

date
August 16, 2016
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Ubume no Natsu poster

Akio Jissoji is somewhat of a cult figure. He started out as a director in the Ultraman franchise (both series and films) and ended his career directing obscure horror films. I've reviewed his segments in Rampo Jigoku and Yume Ju-ya, shorts that should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from Ubume no Natsu [Summer of Ubume], his final standalone feature film. He died not long after, joining a prestigious list of directors who kept going right until their final breath.

Even though Ubume no Natsu was made in 2006, it has little to no ties to the Asian horror wave that was all the rage back then. This is no 'less is more' horror flick trying to mimic the success of Nakata or Shimizu, instead the film harks back to the classic Japanese horror stories of Edogawa Rampo. Dark, twisted and supernatural, but with a strong psychological core. Ubume no Natsu is an adaptation of the first novel in the Kyougokudou series, a novel that is also enjoying its own manga adaptation right now.

The film is set in the early 50s, following a detective who is called in to investigate the events surrounding a mysterious hospital. Patients, mostly children, keep disappearing on the hospital's premises. When members of the staff are also ending up dead, the neighborhood's imagination starts running rampant. Of course the case isn't so easily solved and several other people are brought in to try and explain the mysterious events.

If you care about a great cast, this film has you covered. An insane amount of familiar faces are featured, from the lead roles down to the smaller, secondary parts. Shin'ichi Tsutsumi and Masatoshi Nagase are probably the most prestigious names, with actors like Hiroshi Abe, Susumu Terajima, Suzuki Matsuo, Rena Tanaka and Yoshiyoshi Arakawa also on board you just know you're in for a treat. It's great to see all of these actors brought together in one film and it's pretty clear they had a lot of fun shooting Ubume no Natsu.

The presentation is top notch too. Even though Jissoji was already quite old when he shot this, the cinematography is quirky and playful. There are some great angles, the editing is fun and even though he uses the same visual tricks a few times too often, the film looks great throughout. The soundtrack is a bit more classic in nature, but goes well with the film. The two combined create a mysterious, dark and intriguing atmosphere, the kind you expect from a tale that could've been written by Rampo.

Don't expect any gore, don't expend a typical Japanese suspense flick. Ubume no Natsu is a film that relies more on intrigue and mystery, with some perversion and psychological horror thrown in for good measure. The presentation is great, the cast is impressive and even though the film is quite long, it never drags or becomes boring. There are better films in the genre, but that's hardly a critique on this film.

Jug Face

date
May 31, 2016
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Jug Face poster

After an unusually big peak in the late '00s, the horror genre is collapsing on itself once more. Less horror films are being made, less money is given to new and upcoming directors and safe a few big shots who survived the somewhat sudden implosion (I'm looking at you James Wan), it has become difficult to build a name for yourself directing horror films. But there's also an upside to all this doom and gloom. With all the mainstream attention moving away from the horror scene, room is being made for people that want to take the genre in new directions. Rather than retell the same story with more gore or better special effects, new talent is experimenting with new ideas and approaches, which will ultimately lead us to the next horror renaissance.

Jug Face is one of those interesting new horror films that shows a lot of promise. When it was first released I let it pass by because it came with quite a lot of negative criticism, but over the pass few months I've come to realize that it's better to trust he recommendations of a select few than the opinion of the masses, especially when horror cinema is involved. And so I gave Chad Crawford Kinkle' first-born a fair chance. I'm pretty glad I did.

While Jug Face is a unique film that stands well on its own, the link with producer Lucky McKee's most infamous work is still a good indication of what to expect. Not that it begs for direct comparisons with The Woman, but it seems to reside in that same corner of the horror spectrum. It's not easily classifiable as one of the common horror subgenres, but if you like the occult, mixed with some redneck weirdness and some general unpleasantness than Jug Face is definitely worth a gamble.

The film revolves around a mysterious pit. Local folk believe that the pit has healing powers, as long as they keep sacrificing people to keep it happy. Not just any random sacrifice will do though. The community is guided by the jug maker, a somewhat backwards guy who produces jugs in the form of the pit's next sacrifice. It's a rather unlikely setup, ripe with backwater superstition, but Kinkle makes it work.

There's a little gore and some freaky, semi-demonic action, but that's not where the true horror resides. The creepiest facet of Jug Face is its little community, which has built its entire universe around the pit lore. Regardless of the true nature of the pit, the eagerness of succumbing to the gruesome, ghastly rituals that surround it is what got to me the most. As freaky and outlandish as these people may look, there's a sense of realness that transcends classic horror tropes, making it that much scarier.

Technical credits deserve a thumbs up too. While you shouldn't expect a slick Hollywood-looking film, the editing is sharp, the setting is used to good effect, the gore is convincing and the few special effects that are used never feel cheap or out of place. The soundtrack adds a lot to the film too. Slow, distorted guitars give the film a dark, vibrant and uncomfortable atmosphere. And even the acting is far better than expected, with Carter and Fessenden performing well above genre standards.

Jug Face may lack a bit of finish here and there, but seeing this is Kinkle's first film that's hardly a big issue. Kinkle sculpted a dark, powerful and unsettling little horror film that keeps the tension high throughout its entire running time. The pacing is rather slow and those expecting a simple genre flick might be disappointed by Kinkle's less defined take on the horror genre, but fans with a deeper love for horror cinema that reaches further than the comfort of simple genre clichés should definitely give Jug Face a chance. It's films like this that make sure the genre still has a future.