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    “THE GUEST” (TIFF Movie Review)

    Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s THE GUEST qualifies as horror for lack of any other easy genre classification (well, aside from a delightfully cheeky Halloween themed climax). The duo have delivered a project that mixes their trademark dark humor and hyper cineliteracy with elements of 80s horror, thrillers, and action flicks, topped off with a light dusting of John Carpenter. It’s a movie that Cannon Films would have been proud to slap their logo across during the neon decade and yet it also feels contemporary. The film strives for nothing more than pure, unadulterated, unapologetic entertainment and so delivers on that promise, you can’t help but sit back and smile.

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    “SPRING” (TIFF Movie Review)

    You’ve got to give the folks behind SPRING credit for making a film unlike any other. One could describe the movie as POSSESSION meets BEFORE SUNRISE and certainly no one has ever attempted to pull that off before. There are times when the movie is wonderfully unpredictable. There are times when the whole thing feels like a confused mess. There’s no denying however, that the film is a fascinating original vision.

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    “CUB” (TIFF Movie Review)

    In his feature film debut, Belgian director Jonas Govaerts has delivered what can be described as a textbook horror film. It weaves together a vast swab of genre tropes into something pitched halfway between campfire yarn and 80s slasher. In this case, that’s not a bad thing.

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    “THE EDITOR” (TIFF Movie Review)

    For anyone raised on bleary-eyed marathons of VHS and DVD rentals, the five lunatics known as Astron-6 have been a delightful, new lurid pleasure. Through films like FATHER’S DAY and MANBORG, they’ve developed a signature tone, often pitched somewhere between parody and homage. They clearly love bargain bin trash movies. They just love laughing at them as well, and their movies toe the line between those two extremes. THE EDITOR is their latest and by far most ambitious feature, which applies the Astron-6 treatment to the giallo. It’s kind of a perfect mix, given that gialli tend to be stylistically gorgeous and magically, hilariously dumb in just the right ways. And the guys clearly know the genre well. THE EDITOR is not simply an Argento homage. Even flicks like HITCH HIKE get a moment in the spotlight.

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    “BACKCOUNTRY” (TIFF Movie Review)

    Canada is a land rich in unspoiled nature. With dense forests and breathtaking cinematic locations from coast to coast, you’ll find many a US western, period piece or summer camp flick shot up here, wherein the producers dupe viewers into thinking you’re watching anything but a Canadian film.

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    “TEEN LUST” (TIFF Review)

    If nothing else, you’ve got to give the folks behind TEEN LUST credit for coming up with an untapped premise. There are dozens of movies out there about teenagers desperate to get laid, but absolutely none of them that have a Satanic twist.

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    “[REC] 4: APOCALYPSE” (TIFF Review)

    When [REC] first debuted back in the ancient days of 2007, Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza’s found footage zombie horror film was a shot in the arm. In combining two of the most popular horror trends of the era into a single attention-grabbing premise, [REC] was  a wildly intense and impeccably crafted 78-minute blast of terror. [REC] 2 came two years later to build and expand upon the mythology, even daring to switch genres and segue into demonic horror. For some reason Mommy and Daddy decided to split up for the third and fourth chapters and unfortunately, the franchise has never quite been the same.

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    David Cronenberg’s “MAPS TO THE STARS” (TIFF Movie Review)

    I’ve said this before, but to fully appreciate and embrace the work of mad Canadian movie maverick David Cronenberg, you must view his films as an arc—a trajectory of obsession that begins with his earliest shorts like CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, to his first features like SHIVERS and RABID, continuing with less fantastical but no less visceral fare SPIDER, CRASH and COSMOPOLIS and climaxing (literally in some sequences) with his latest immersion into weird human behavior, the malevolent Cannes hit MAPS TO THE STARS.

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    “THE REACH” (TIFF Review)

    THE REACH is a great work of pulp delirium masquerading as accessible mainstream entertainment. Starring, as it does, the son of Spartacus himself, legendary actor Michael Douglas (who also produced and developed the project) and baited for the ladies with youthful hard bodied hunk Jeremy Irvine (WAR HORSE), THE REACH exceeds its potentially pedestrian lure and conventional set-up and ends up being something far more daring and aesthetically evolved. An existential, bizarre western/horror hybrid, it plays like an expanded ROAD RUNNER short by way of Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO and THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, peppered with macho swagger and a distinctly European sense of operatic grandeur.  And like the similarly testosterone-soaked thriller THE GREY, if marketed right THE REACH could—and should—find its cult very quickly.

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