Ah, what a pleasure it is to only start my day in the evening. Of course, that didn’t stop me from waking up early for no reason and being extremely exhausted throughout the day, but at least I could sit around and do nothing until 6pm. I’d considered heading down to check out the new Barry Levinson horror film, The Bay, but despite the solid word-of-mouth I just didn’t feel like sitting through a found footage movie.
I won’t make any bones about it. The back half of my TIFF’12 experience was not as great as the front. I mean, sure, I was still having a blast, but the films were mostly not as good. I attribute this to my front-loading the films I most wanted to see in the hopes that I’d add in several films with great word-of-mouth for later. I did do that, but I was also still adding in random films that fit my schedule and looked decent. Either way, my Day 8 started very well, but took a sour turn.
Not a documentary about The Shining, rather a documentary about obsessed fans who have wild theories about The Shining. I loved Room 237. It’s not the most polished documentary, or the most groundbreaking, or even the most broadly interesting, but for a huge fan of Kubrick’s classic horror film, Room 237 hits the sweet spot.
What works particularly well in the doc is the way we get to hear all these theories laid out without judgment. Many of them sound like total crackpots, but even the most crackpot theorizers have moments where what they’re saying makes sense on a thematic level. And maybe that what this documentary is really about: it’s people who have very good, very valid thematic interpretations of a work of art, but who have gone too far in finding extremely specific details to support similarly specific theories that fall into those themes. Sometimes it’s better to just step back and assess the work as a whole. Then again, sometimes it’s fun to listen to the crackpots. It’s entertaining, but every now and then they say something truly worth listening to.
My next film was recommended to me by a friend who said she’d cried during it. Well, who was I to argue with tears? (Well, maybe I should have.)
A Werewolf Boy
A teenage girl encounters a feral boy who the family then adopts. Oh, and the boy is actually a werewolf. Basically, it’s a girl and her dog movie. It’s also not good. I don’t want to bash it too much. I mean, really, it’s basically a kids movie that’s probably a bit too long for most kids. But yeah, it has that feel. And it’s not good.
From that disappointment it was on to another disappointment.
Come Out and Play
A horror movie directed by a mysterious man in a mask? Makinov is a guy clearly trying to establish a cult of personality. I was intrigued, at first, but the film he made doesn’t match up to the manifesto he provided before the film. Come Out and Play is about a couple who go to a small island on vacation only to find that all the adults are gone and the young kids are al that are left. Turns out the kids are possessed by some sort of insanity and have been killing all the adults. The premise is based on the idea that despite the kids being less powerful, the instinct to not kill children keeps the adults from truly protecting themselves.
Well, we basically know right from the beginning that the film will lead us to the point where the main characters throw all those moral impulses out the window and start killing these kids. That’s kind of awesome. The problem is that the film takes way too long to get there. By the time kids start getting killed it’s kind of fun, but it’s also too little too late. It’s a ton of build-up for only a small splash near the end. It’s well shot, and well made, but it just can’t sustain itself. Also, despite some allowances for horror movie logic, the characters in Come Out and Play make far too many idiotic decisions. How can we care about whether they’ll survive when they’re too stupid to deserve it?
So that was one really great movie followed by two duds. At some point during the day I had decided I wouldn’t add any more screenings beyond Day 9. There wasn’t too much more I wanted to see and I’d rather have the weekend off. So I was off the my bed to get ready for a long last day of TIFF’12.