Infestation: International Horror Hotel Film Festival 2019 – Movie Reviews
The International Horror Hotel Film Festival and Convention has come and gone. Fun people, screaming contests, lectures, and cool stuff to buy were all to be had. But the most important element was, of course, the movies! So behold, below are three of the films that were presented.
Revenge of the Slasher
This horror-comedy short by Julian Hoffman is an inverse of the traditional 80’s slasher. The beginning takes place with the female virginal hero triumphing over the killer. However, we then witness the aftermath which takes a unique turn by following the arc of the killer. There are themes of romance and drama but it’s mostly a meta horror-comedy.
These types of films always play well with festivals since there are so many jokes that horror fans will understand. Unfortunately, this theme does become a problem as the movie goes on. Meta-joke after meta-joke and it loses its charm very quickly. To the movie’s benefit, there are more than just those segments as there quite a few funny sight gags and some humorous dialogue, most notably the montage sequence which I won’t spoil but was laugh out loud funny.
As regards to film making, there are some nice cinematic drone shots showcasing the setting but overall it was just okay. The same goes for the acting with the exception of the killer. He does a fantastic job of conveying various ideas without any dialogue. His gestures are very emotive and he also has some funny moments with physical comedy. One aspect that was really surprising was the score. It was a mixture of classic 80’s synth style with some new indie music sound which gave it a past meets the present feel.
While being obnoxious at times, Revenge of the Slasher is still an enjoyable romp through the 80’s slasher genre. The humor hits its mark pretty often and the premise could lead to an interesting feature version.
This horror-comedy short by co-directors Jason Klingensmith and Vernard Adams is about a group of disgruntled employees who are offered the opportunity to murder their malevolent human resources manager. The story takes an interesting approach by becoming more surreal as it progresses. In the beginning, we see a montage of the aforementioned manager conducting horrendous offenses. We then see the employees complaining at a bar and their stories become even wilder. While the scenes of the manager’s escapades seem outlandish enough, the story advances to even more fantastical levels with the introduction of the “Bar Hag”. This character adds an intriguing element to the movie and even has an entertaining visual gag.
Unfortunately, it was at this moment that the film became a little uneven. While most of the jokes landed early on, this scene lasted much too long. On the other hand, there were other scenes that needed more context. There is a sequence where some of the characters reminisce about how they attained some items but we don’t see every story.
Additionally, there was also some sloppy direction. There were shots with strange angles and there was even a moment when we see the light from the camera. The acting was also a little weak but not terrible. Even with these complaints, the movie is still enjoyable because it has a premise that anyone who has worked in an office understands. Combine that aspect with the fantastical elements and you have something special.
By far the apex of what I saw at the festival is the new film by Timothy Troy. It is a sci-fi horror about some scientists who are trying to contend with a virus that has infected their sophisticated computer program. Like his previous film Ding Dong, this movie has great production quality with crisp focus and vibrant lighting. Red is a prominent color, all the way from the blood to the luminescent tubes connecting the various computers. The performances overall are solid and they get better as the film progresses and becomes more intense.
The main issue is with the script as the story is a little muddled. While Abi is a short, it still feels as though it’s missing an introductory scene that would help establish the world. Instead, we are presented with awkward expository dialogue that only gives us the bare minimum of understanding the scenario. The story does take some interesting turns but with the quick pace of the plot, we never have the time to assimilate.
Screenplay quirks aside, the film succeeds in its suspense-filled action. While there is plenty of blood, it never goes over the top with the gore. Instead, we are more focused on the motivations of the characters and their corresponding actions. The premise of the movie is interesting and cerebral. To the very end, you are engaged and definitely won’t be disappointed.
The International Horror Hotel Film Festival took place from June 6th to the 9th at the Norwood Inn in Hudson, Ohio. It is an annual event where filmmakers and fans can network, attend lectures, take part in contests, and enjoy horror films. If you enjoy other movie genres, then you should check out The International Indie Film Gathering Film Festival. It will commence at the Holiday Inn in Mentor, Ohio from August 8th to the 11th.