Oct. 17, 2012 - Issue #887: Dedfest
Dedfest ReviewsReviews by Meaghan Baxter (MB) and Paul Blinov (PB).
The American Scream
Directed by Michael Stephenson
Following his Best Worst Movie, The American Scream finds director Michael Stephenson further honing his skill in crafting fascinating portraits of everyday folk and their local legacies. Here, it's a trio of "home haunters" in Fairhaven, Massachusetts putting together annual amateur haunted houses in their yards, pulling in friends and family for extra manpower and working with varying degrees of proficiency as halloween approaches. Their stories are compelling enough in the glimpse they give into the lives— in particular the near-obsessive Victor Bariteau and his particularly tolerant family—but when dropped into the greater context of their community, how the search for a good scream can be infectious. American Scream could stand to go even deeper, perhaps, but it's still very compelling on its own merits. PB
Directed by Braden Croft
When a troubled young man named Oliver (Alex D Mackie) is released from a mental institution, his intent is to "be a good person" and integrate back into society. Oliver happens to be a medical genius of sorts, but the reason for him being institutionalized is not made apparent to the viewer right off the bat. While attempting to piece his broken life back together, Oliver meets a nurse named Claire (Brittney Grabill), and things begin to spiral out of control.
Mackie is tremendously unsettling in his portrayal of Oliver. His quiet and often cold demeanor is able to instill a sense of fear that permeates deeper than typical gratuitous horror/suspense gore. Grabill also gives a commendable performance as Claire, but there are times throughout the film when the acting feels stiff and the plot begins to lag. Overall, Hemorrhage is a chilling, charcter-driven piece with a cast and crew full of potential, but can be a difficult film to keep up with. MB
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