Dying Breed (2008) directed by Jody Dwyer
You know, I don't think I've ever seen Tasmania before. I watched a lot of PBS as a kid, but I don't ever remember seeing any video of this island (I don't think Bugs Bunny cartoons count). More than anything about this movie, I enjoyed seeing a place I've never seen before. It looks to me like Tasmania has a lot in common with the Pacific Northwest. Or, they could've just had some bad weather luck during their filming schedule, I suppose. It's beautiful, anyway.
I've discovered I have a low tolerance for stupidity in horror movies. If a main character makes an obviously idiotic choice -- like one does here by freaking out on the ground and refusing to run when there are crazy people in the area -- I lose all sympathy for them. Sympathy/empathy is the absolute key to a good horror movie. For something to scare or disturb you, you're going to need to empathize with the folks being harmed on screen. Lacking that, you're essentially watching the movie with the mindset of a psychopath, waiting for the morons to be offed.
Watching this, yet another movie about redneck cannibals, I thought of a question I'd like to ask these fictional murderers. Why don't cannibals in horror movies want to cook their food before eating it? Seriously. I'm a carnivore, but I'd never grab a live chicken and start chewing on it. What about all of the diseases people carry around? The main cannibal in this movie eats the lips off of a girl's face. What if he just ate a mouthful of herpes sores? I don't buy that these folks survived a century by eating humans in such a reckless manner... (6/10)
From Within (2008) directed by Phedon Papamichael
This is the second evil doppelganger movie of Horrorfest 2008. You know, this monster concept really doesn't work for me. I can't think of anything less scary than myself. If I were to see my evil twin, I think I'd be more apt to ask him questions than to run. Luckily for this movie, the evil doppelganger ghost part isn't terribly important. In fact, I like the way it was handled. Ostensibly, the evil doppelgangers are the result of a black magic spell that makes it look like people are committing suicide. However, they can just as easily be seen as some sort of contagious psychological condition.
The movies pits the population of a heavily Christian town against a family they think (correctly, as it turns out) are causing a wave of suicides through witchcraft. I always dig a good clash of religions movie (The Wicker Man being the king of these). Surprisingly, this is the first time I've ever seen a megachurch in a horror movie. I think the idea of those places is scary. Particularly, the idea of a charasmatic preacher pursuading his flock of thousands to commit evil. Sadly, that's not really what happens in this film.
I also liked the twist ending in this flick. We think that the last of the witch family has committed a noble suicide in order to end the evil spell his brother cast. Instead, it turns out, he was shot by the son of the megachurch's preacher before he was able to kill himself. This ensures that the curse continues and the movie ends with a montage of the post-suicide occupants of the town. It's an almost Carpenterian apocalyptic ending.
Not the greatest horror movie of all time, but I enjoyed it. (7/10)