Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: Fairfield Follies

Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2017
Images from the Internet


 
Fairfield Follies
Written, produced, directed and edited by Laura Pepper
Peppered Productions
100 minutes / 2017

The summer sun is almost at full apex, so what better time to review a new film about a Christmas pageant in the fictional town of Fairfield? The writer / director / producer / actor Laura Pepper has been on my radar for a couple of years now, though I have yet to see any of the short films she has released. Might as well start on a larger scale (set?) with her directorial feature debut, right? This certainly does not pertain to a horror film, per se, but it’s indie and off kilter enough to qualify for this blog.
                                                            
Susanne Colle
There have been enough behind-the-scenes-of-a-play comedies to create its own genre, from the relatively recent Waiting for Guffman (1997) to the less recent A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595; as a side note, some of the cast here, as well the director, also appeared in a recent film version of the Shakespeare play, reviewed HERE), so there is always room for another, as it’s a motif that has obviously not yet wrung dry.

In this Fairfield, the local Christmas Pageant has been run by the elderly Mrs. Whitelove (Mary DeBerry), who “passes the baton” onto a newcomer, Ms. Evans (Susanne Colle). There are two ways you know the change is going to be a big one: first, the specification of the differences between Mrs. and Ms. (old vs. new), and second that the former lives up to her name by doing a Blazing Saddles in the first two minutes of this picture.

Cardryell Truss
Evans’ plan is to use the opportunity to update the tradition by being PC and including all belief systems and holidays (Chanukah, Kwanzaa, etc.). The problem is that everyone in the cast and crew has a bit of their own ingrained – err – uncomfortabilities, which come out the more they are suppressed. Yes, this is a non-PC show about trying to be diverse. A direct example of it is the inclusion of a Big House parolee by the wonderful name of Leon Leonne (played by the equally unusually named Cardryell Truss).

To add to all the tsuris, the cast are behaving like little kids, with petty spats, jealousies, overheated libidos, and bullying (e.g., one character complains to his mom over the phone, “They tell me I overact, and no one will sit with me during lunch!”). Trying to deal with them, Evans has to treat them like a naughty grade school class, even having a “shame stool” in a corner (what, no conical hats? I kid…). More trouble follows as Evans repeatedly gets sick or food poisoning, keeping her from rehearsals; a piece of dialog spouted by the hyper-Christian Assistant Director, Wally (John Campbell), is a hint of why this is happening. The end result isn’t hard to guess when it gets close.

Let’s turn to some of the technical aspects of the film. For me, it’s kind of strange knowing that the fabulous J. Poisson is the cinematographer as this is different from anything I’ve ever seen her do, specifically most of her other work that’s passed before me had harsh, primary colors that reflected the mood of the scenes. Here, it’s quite harshly…white. Well, considering the context of the story, perhaps that is reflecting the mood of many of the characters. It’s nice to note that despite the… well, to paraphrase Carmen Ghia in the original The Producers, “White, white, white is the color of the walls,” yet the image isn’t washed out, nor are the colors of the costumes either lost in it, nor is it blinding. That shows good work, in my opinion.

This is supposed to be a commentary on Community Theater in a well-off – err – community, so the onstage emoting is geared towards overacting, but as this is a spoof, it goes on quite a bit pretty much throughout. I’ve seen many of the actors in other roles, and I’ve seen that they can indeed act rather than ahhct, so that is why I am assuming it’s purposeful. Anna Rizzo, for example, has proven herself to be quite the serious performer when need be elsewhere, in the likes of Moments from a Sidewalk (2016) or Long Night in a Dead City (2017).

Johnny Sederquist
The characters are just, well, silly. But this is a silly film that is making an important statement, and it works because of its outrageousness rather than in spite of it. That being said, while many of these people are head scratchers to this viewer, most of whom are certainly not the usual clichés one tends to see in independent, and especially micro-budget release, so that’s a success in my book. I do have to say that my two favorite characters are in the third act, being two Asian women (Laura Mok, Jaclyn Kelly Go) in the audience who are a Greek Chorus to both the pageant and the situations around it.

Having been filmed in the later part of 2014, there are quite a few comments that could have been about the 2016 presidential election and the basket of deplorables (i.e., racists, religious fanatics) that follow the beliefs that are mocked in this film. It is incredibly timely, giving more strength to the subplots.

Director / Writer Laura Pepper
Now comes the $64,000 Question: is it funny? Actually, it’s extremely humorous. Even the cringe worthy moments (e.g., racist or religion-based statements spouted by some characters) are quite good. I was surprised by how many times I caught myself laughing, or snorting. There are so many moments that just work. For example, Evans’ is a lonely woman and so there is a strong “cat” subtext going on in her house, including her doorbell and phone sounding like a strange, mechanical meow. There are a lot of hysterical bits, like the effeminate costume director, Jeremy (the excellent as always Johnny Sederquist), whose eyes light up with ideas when he mentions that Mother Mary (whom he confuses with Mary Magdalene) is the “Dearest Mommy.” Or the film’s director showing up in a recurring, mostly silent delivery person role (speaking of which, make sure you watch past the credits). The look she gives Evans the first time they meet, as a director’s nod to a director, is subtle but enjoyable.

It’s pretty obvious that this is a first feature for a director, as there are definitely some issues with the film as a whole, many of them technical. For example, there is an inconsistency with the sound. In some scenes, there is a sharp echo of ambient room noise; yet, in other scenes, the voices sound flat, I’m assuming dubbed in later. But hey, nearly every filmmaker has a learning curve. I’m sure it will improve as she (hopefully) continues on. Overall, this was a very successful outing, and I look forward to a long career for Peppered Productions.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Long Night in a Dead City

Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2017
Images from the Internet

Long Night in a Dead City
Directed and edited by Richard Griffin
Scorpio Films Releasing
75 minutes / 2017

When I got my hot little hands on this film, written by Lenny Schwartz from a story by its director, Richard Griffin, I imagined myself in a smoking jacket in a comfy chair, with a cigar in one hand and a glass of sherry in the other, to celebrate what I am looking forward to being an enjoyable experience. The reality is me sitting in front of the computer which is firmly on my lap, with my cats occasionally walking across my belly. As I don’t drink or smoke, I have a cup of Bengal Spice tea by my side as I sit on a couch. Y’know what, doesn’t matter, the point is I’m thrilled. Yeah, there’s no bias here.

Thing is, this is not my first time to the Richard Griffin rodeo; that is, to watch one of his multi-genre multitude of productions, and they have never disappointed. Not even come close. Other genre reviewers I’ve talked to also hold him in high regard, so for now at least, I’m gonna shut up, close the curtains, and put this puppy on play.

Aidan Laliberte
This is a strange, ethereal and episodic story of Daniel (Aidan Laliberte), who awakens in an alley on New Year’s Eve, beaten and bruised. He begins a quest to find his brother Charlie (Anthony Gaudette), which brings him into contact with various characters in an ugly side of a city full of back streets, litter, snow and steam. Each set piece is skewed in its own quirky way.

The shadow side of Voltaire’s Candide, Daniel wanders into others’ lives, and vice versa, with something quite off about all of it. Mannequins, a possible serial killer, and a sultry bartender (Anna Rizzo) who knows his name in a tavern where everyone is photo-still, is just the start of some of those who will make this dead city night interesting, albeit bizarre.

In some scenarios, Daniel is the protagonist, in others he is an observer, as sort of a solo Greek Chorus in a modern day tragedy. In all, though, there is an either explicit or implicit invitation, spoken or not, for him to join, and to stay in that moment, in that place. A mysterious woman, Holly (fetching Griffin newcomer Sarah Reed), takes the place of both companion and Dante-esque guide.

So, essentially, this is a two-person story, with one recurring brother character. Many who appear in cameo in the set pieces are Griffin regulars, like Johnny Sederquist, Laura Pepper, and Casey Wright, who show up in brief moments, with others such Aaron Andrade and Bruce Church in more pivotal, yet short bursts. Laliberte and Reed make wonderful additions to the Griffin pantheon of his recurring troupe.

 It doesn’t feel like I am giving much away by saying there are other films with similar concepts, such as Jacob’s Ladder (1990) or the granddaddy of this sub-genre, Carnival of Souls (1962), but this takes a different path that’s worth the walk. The fact that Daniel repeatedly passes a Dead End street sign is no coincidence, and of course there is the title of the film.

A non-human character is the twangy guitar of Mark Cutler, whose score underlines the drama throughout most of the film. Its almost Western motif adds to the mood as the camera moves at a slow, languid and deliberate pace that matches the mood of the moment, and Daniel’s motions, like a walking sleep. There is an occasional use of either a selfie stick or a camera on Daniel’s belt that effectively gives it a personal feel, though I hope it’s not something that will crop up too much more in future films.

As with many Griffin releases, there is a heavy reliance on a primary color lighting scheme that further demarks emotions or state of being of the characters. Another aspect to the theme of the story is the editing, handled by Griffin. Despite the long and loving shots, there are also some parts of quick editing, and one truly enjoyable one of Daniel and Andrade’s car. Honestly, it does not seem like it was an easy film to piece together, but it looks great.

Sarah Reed
Many of Griffin’s films deal with heaven, hell, and other variations of what happens next, especially in the likes of Normal (2013), Accidental Incest (2014), The Sins of Dracula (2014) and Nun of That (2008). Griffin continues to take a different view of that aspect of life and death, which makes for a further interesting vision that one may not expect, keeping the viewer’s interest. Even if you have an idea of where the storyline is going, the ride there is still going to be from a perspective you probably would not have thought of, giving new blood to a not-so-new concept.

While a little less steeped in gender/body politic than usual for his later films, Griffin still manages to keep us guessing about direction of the story by giving some fresh ideas about choices of what is next for our protagonists. Part of the mystery is more of how and why they got to the moment they are in, and what becomes of them next.

There is definitely a feeling of surrealism, but not to the point where it’s so obliquely opaque in the events that it loses direction, even though it’s quite a bit over the map. It kind of makes sense that there is a scene where the characters take some acid, because this is a bit of a head trip anyway.

By the end, many explanations are divulged, and yet there is still room for interpretation. That is good filmmaking. Chalk yet another one on the plus side for Griffin. He shows he is far above average for low-budget filmmakers, making the most out of what he is given, and yet he continues to grow in scope. And, as always, I eagerly anticipate his next release.




Monday, May 1, 2017

Review: Beyond the Woods




Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2017
Images from the Internet


Beyond the Woods
Written and directed by Sean Breathmach
EGO Productions / Superego
82 minutes, 2016

I could be wrong, but I’m thinking that the name of this Irish film is a play on the tile Into the Woods, just further so. If that is the case, I like the pun. After all, the Grimm Faerie Tales were actually mostly horror stories, were they not?

Anyway, if you don’t mind a gross generalization perhaps unfairly based on a limited group, this is the second Irish genre film I’ve seen in the past bit, and they both have one thing in common. Like Don’t You Recognise Me? [2015], the story is taken off a relatively generic formula, and then follows through into its own direction. The other was a tale of revenge, whereas this one is based on the cabin in the woods trope.

Irene Kelleher
Here, rather than a wood shack, it is a very lovely two-story stone house of an age that may predate the US that is the locus of a gathering of seven friends: three couples and an odd wheel who was recently dumped. They decide to get away from it all to this place that was once a vacation home to one of their parents. Their plan is to spend it relaxing, dishing dirt, and quite a bit of the raising of the wrist and imbibing with some other fine substances to alter the mind.

Shortly before they even get there, we learn that a large sinkhole has opened down the way, which releases the bitter smell of sulphur across the countryside. Now, in a genre film, burning sulphur is never a good sign. Before long, of course, they are not alone. There is a figure who looks like he’s covered in tree bark (or dung/mud, it’s hard to tell), and you know he’s up to no good because, again…genre film.

We are told early on, indirectly, just what is behind the hole, the smell and the evil that is in the air the first night when we see a digital clock turn from 5:56 to 666 (no colon) and back. And it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen, as the minions of Ole Slew Foot are lurking. Even though we only get to see one demon, that’s surely enough to turn things from a good mood release weekend to one of damnation and death. Again, it is a genre film.

The big bad dude in the cape and hoodie looks like he has bark attached to his body. Though I’m not really sure about that, as we see him mostly in shadow (a smart move, honestly), it would make sense to me, as Ireland is known for its greenery and nature.

Mark Griffin
Using the mirror-doesn’t-reflect-reality paradigm, we know that the intensity is growing. Tensions begin to rise between the friends and unexpected connections occur to further stress their bonds. What we are left to wonder – again, the right choice – is whether this deep-level angst is normal for this group dynamics, or is it the ever-more pervasive influence of whatever is in the woods.

The tension that builds does so pretty slowly, but not enough to lose the interest of wondering where this will take the viewer. Sure there’s a hint of The Evil Dead and even a bit from Stephen King’s short story, “You Know They’ve Got a Hell of a Band,” as well as other sources, but there is a definite different feel. For example, these are not teens, so the conversation isn’t just wondering about getting laid or telling ghost stories. There is also an avoidance of other stereotypes, like the old guy warning the group, or the jock, the nerd and the homely girl who becomes lovely as a soon as she takes off her glasses, I’m happy and grateful to say. These are adults with adult foibles, and I respect that and enjoy the maturity of what the director is accomplishing (i.e., teens aren’t the only ones that have to worry).

Stripped back in the story and effects, surely due to budget limitations, we don’t lose anything because of that. While most of the action does happen at the rising of the moon, there are mysterious things about even during the day. As time goes on during the weekend, actions continue to ramp up until the third act of desperation and death for… well, you’ll just hafta find out, woncha?

Ruth Hayes
The cast, for once, is populated by professional actors of a higher caliber, so we get some decent playing, and yet not so much experience where there is sleepwalking through the parts. As far as I can tell, as I’m not that up on Irish actors, there are also no cameos by slumming bigger named players past their prime, or cult genre name performers. Happily, his works for the zeitgeist of the whole she-bang.

That being said, the camera does lovingly tend to focus on the diminutive and dimple-deep Irene Kelleher, who indirectly comes out as the “star,” but each character gets their shot, much as a band that has everyone do a solo to show their chops.

While sex is involved at some point, there is no pressing of the flesh seen, and the blood and gore is kept to a minimum; when it is applied, however, it  however, is kept to a minimum,. t, there is no pressing of the flesh seen, and the blood and gore is kept to a minimum, when iis quite effective. Some of the scenes are a bit on the dark side, but not so much you can’t follow the action, so I’m okay with it.

While this certainly isn’t a perfect film – for example, if a creature can kill with a mere touch, why would he pick up an ax? – all things considered, it is a well done production that takes what we know and mixes it into a new-ish recipe. Worth checking out.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: Conspiracy Theory



Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2017
Images from the Internet

Conspiracy Theory [aka Lake on Fire]
Directed and edited by Jake Myers
Team Octagon / Ruthless Films / MVD Visual
79 minutes, 2016

The biggest complaint about the recent Paranormal Activity film series (starting in 2007) is not that it’s in the found footage genre, but rather that it takes way too long for anything of interest to happen. Arguably, a similar comment can be made about the granddaddy/-mommy of modern found footage, The Blair Witch Project (1999).

This waaaaaaait for it… aspect has been a key element of found footage since Project, at least. It’s annoying and pointless, and fills out a film to full length when it could have been a very comfortable 20-minute short (or even less). Some recent examples include The Purging Hour (2015) and The Devil’s Forest (2016, aka The Devil Complex). There definitely are ones that are enjoyable, like The Changing of Ben Moore (2015), but they are rare, and more so over time.

Rather than just a bunch of jocks/couples taping for no other reason than to film and accidentally capturing the mysterious whatever, this release has a premise: we meet the film crew to a “reality” cable show on the Mystery Channel called “Alien Engineers,” which posits that many of our modern structures, such as Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead are constructs that use technology given to humans by the “grays.”

Ben Kobold
Leading this fivesome is its host, the heavily orange-skinned spray-tanned Bjorn Eriksson (Ben Kobold), along with the rest being his crew (cameras and sound), including the loony Britney Big Time (Jennifer Mills), the sensible Jamie Bragg (Jamie Mackie), the angry Brian (Brian Schroeck), and non-descript Brock (director Jake Myers). We watch them as they go to the locations I mentioned above, and most of them, well, acting like jerks both while the show is taping, and especially when just filming each other – and in Britney’s case, often herself(ies) while frequently sticking her tongue out.

To begin, let me discuss the good points, because there are a few. First of all, they nail the whole guerilla filmmaking down pretty well, as Bjorn interviews scientists and “man on the street” types, and manages to put words in everyone’s mouths, claiming that they were the ones that said it (reminding me of the more recent Melissa McCarthy SNL Sean Spicer spoofs). Bjorn keeps trying to goad interviewees into saying something controversial that is alien-related; or interrupts often like Charlie Rose, but more to “shock,” like Geraldo Rivera. This is both goofy and enjoyable to watch, as the people squirm, or are often bemused by it all, taking it in good fun.

Which brings me to another decent aspect, which is that there is a fine mixture of real people mixed with fictional characters, and sometimes it’s not always easy to tell one from the other, playing with story’s credibility in a fun way. For example, TD Barnes, who actually worked in Area 51 and has appeared in other films as himself, is questioned, much to his amusement, as Bjorn turns everything he says into something alien. Actors Scott Butler and David Liebe Hart also play themselves in cameos.

The tricky part is many of the other roles are people whose names are very similar to their real ones, such as Andrzej Stratos (played by Andy Seifer), Rizza Villalobos (Rizza Abrera; in case you miss it, the character’s name is “Wolf House”), and Erika Miller (Erika Michaels). My favorite ones are twins Toni and Traci Von Daniken, portrayed by twins Toni Van Laarhoven and Traci Van Laarhoven-Myers (I’m guessing a relation of the director). By the way, I checked, and Erick Von Daniken only had a single daughter, but I don’t know about grandkids. And, of course, there’s the difference between Van and Von.

Jennifer Mills
So, while those points are quite intriguing, ultimately the film fails overall for one basic and nearly constant reason: there is way too much filler crap with nothing to add to the story. For example, I really don’t need or care to see extended scenes of drinking in a hotel room bathroom or on the street, nor the crew gambling at a casino. One of the worst, though, was a third of the way in, as we travel along in a car with the crew while for long minutes Bjorn/Ben and Britney/Jennifer (good thing she’s cute) make up some ridiculous song about butt fisting; in the credits, it’s listed as “Fuck Town.” It’s not the rap per se, but just the sheer waste of time of it all as, again, it does absolutely nothing for the story.

It seems like a large part of the film is mostly a travelogue of home movies that doesn’t really mean or add up to anything, including character development. It’s almost like the crew (who are obviously friends as most have made other films together) wanted to go to Nevada on a trip, and figured if they made some kind of story about it, they could write off the expenses. While they seem to be having fun, it didn’t really transfer well to the audience (okay, to me; I’m not gonna talk for the rest). By the time of the rap, I was getting pissed with all the unnecessary bullshit.

I don’t think it’s going to take a rocket scientist (or extraterrestrial) to figure out by the end, at some point, it’s going to be a case of be careful what you wish for because it may come true. I won’t divulge the final moments, but the general idea is not only easy to figure out, well, just look at the image on the box or watch the trailer fer chrissake.

There is a kind of conspiracy theory going on, but whether it’s by the aliens or humans is left up to the viewer. The last 20 minutes or so are…okay, with about 10 interesting minutes here and there, but by far the best parts of this film are the interviews.

The only extras are the chapters. That’s okay, because I don’t think I would actually want to hear a full length commentary, or a Making Of featurette, since the nearly the entire film is actually the latter. Can we please have a moratorium on found footage now?


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review: Lake Eerie


Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2017
Images from the Internet
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Lake Eerie                              
Directed by Chris Majors
Savage Beast Films / Solid Weld Productions /
FilmRise / Gravitas Ventures / MVD Visual
103 minutes, 2016 / 2017

Let me start of by stating that the name of this film is brilliant, and I wonder why I’ve never heard of anyone else using it. Kudos on that!

When I think of Lake Erie, I tend to think of the New York end of it, having so many friends along it’s east shore. In actuality, the Great Lake touches on four states (not counting Ontario to the north): Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. It is the latter, in the town of La Salle, where this was both filmed and takes place (in the family-owned domicile of the director). It’s a huge house just off the lake, in this story recently bought through a repossession auction by a young woman who has moved off the farm to forget the recent death of her husband. Having been abandoned and untouched since 1969 when its previous dashing anthropologist owner mysteriously disappeared, it gives the widow, Kate (Meredith Majors, the director’s spouse who also wrote the screenplay), a way to start over and get some therapy through painting (and a large amount of prescription pills apparently, considering the number she downs in the course of a few days).

Meredith Majors
Soon after she is given the keys by the realtor (Marilyn Ghigliotti, who rose to some fame as the female lead in Kevin Smith’s overrated 1994 debut, Clerks), most people in the area have already packed up from the Lake for the season (i.e., post-Labor Day). That is, except for the nice lady who lives a few doors down, Eliza (Betsy Baker, who will forever be associated as the demonically laughingLinda in 1981’s classic The Evil Dead). I quickly got the heebie-jeebies about her, just from the constant use of her calling Kate “Dear.” Not a good thing for a neighbor in a horror flick having to do with spirits and demons (1968’s Rosemary’s Baby comes to mind).

Sadly, this “tell” is endemic to the writing of the film, which makes questionable moves throughout, even when trying to strike some originality. More on that later. Kate makes many, many, questionable choices. For example, on the first night, she is on the main floor and sees a huge and unknown man (Allen Sarvin, better known as wrestler Al Snow, who has been making quite a nice dip into the indie horror film market) in a cowl and cape in her living room, and does she run out the door, which is rightthere? No, she runs into the kitchen to grab a long knife, high-tails it up the stairs, and then takes a pill and promptly goes to sleep to have a sex dream about her husband and another woman. In the morning light, does she contact the police? No, she goes on with her day calmly and has some muffins with Eliza. Whaaaaaaaaaaa?!?

Annemijn Nieuwkoop
I won’t go into much more of the story, as this is all still the first act, which ends with the introduction of Eliza’s niece, Autumn (Danish actress Annemijn Nieuwkoop, who also goes by Anne Leigh Cooper), who is obsessed with Harrison (director Chris Majors), the archeologist who used to own the joint.

There are some definite issues with the story, which is quite lackadaisical in its approach. I mean, if you need to grab a kitchen knife two nights in a row (your first two nights) – once because of the big dude and another after a nekkid woman (Victoria Johnstone) rises from the lake and goes into your house – and then you go speed upstairs and fall asleep after taking pills, rather than getting leaving the house – even after a kinder spirit tells you that you are in danger and to get out…twice – then it’s hard to feel some kind of empathy for that character.

Lance Henriksen
It’s nice that the story tries to throw the “Is it real or in her head?” motif, which always is a fun twist. Here, we are given that by the appearance of Kate’s Pop (legendary Lance Henriksen, who pretty much sleepwalks through his one scene, and still manages to steal it), who wants her to come back to the farm because he thinks she needs help. Actually, what Kate needs is, well to be honest, acting lessons. This is Meredith’s (since both star/writer and director have the same last name, I will be impertinent and use the first) initial starring film role, and she does not seem to be up for the task. She looks cute in an everywoman kind of way with a smack of a Jane Alexander vibe, but her acting is, well, wooden. I’m betting she’d be fine in a best friend or neighbor role, but she cannot carry a film on her own at this point in her career. What I mean by that is that she looks like she is wincing when trying to emote, and you can almost see her thinking (i.e., pausing too long) between showing a feeling or speaking a line.

Betsy Baker
But she’s not the only one, to be fair. Most of the cast seems to be polar opposites in either being in a daze or a bit over the top, such as Nieuwkoop; though to be fair, the part written for her is as an avid fan of the previous owner who disappeared before she was even born, though she comes across more as a chipper and giddy teenaged-level cheerleader than a true scholarly researcher as she claims. Again, you can tell from the dialog part of this is definitely how the role was designed. She’s kind of the reverse of Henriksen’s underplayed role. I do have to say, that despite the “dear” business, Baker comes off the most competent (and I’m not saying that because she’s exactly two days older than me), although the role itself is clichéd.

There are few surprises in the story, including the conclusion, but for me the biggest problem here is in the editing of the text. I’ve said this a number of times regarding other films as well: rather than being well over an hour and a half, it would have behooved the writer and director to narrow it down to about 80 minutes. Considering the long stretches where nothing really important to the story happens, this could have been done with no ill effect on the plotline (please, if you can’t do text chopping, give your ego a rest and call in someone who can!). Yet with all that extra time, there are still plot questions that arise that haven’t been answered.

For example, if you’re dealing with an eternal ancient Egyptian underworld/eitherworld, why are the guardians/demons dressed in modern clothing, rather than galabeyas at the least? I mean, I have my own from when I visited Egypt back in ’93, so shouldn’t the snake-eyed guardians of that place have them as well? Also, on a feminist perspective, considering this was written by a woman, why is the only nude scene a woman, and not including Kate’s husband? These were just two of the many questions that ran through my head during watching the film.

The only DVD extras are chapters and English Captions (always a fave of mine). And yet, the nagging question that remains at the end is, surprising to me as hopeful, will there be a sequel called The Eerie Canal?