There's No Such Thing
Adventure Girls III
The Ghost and Us
Beautiful As You Are
Don't Lose Heart
Snow Day, Bloody Snow Day
Bon Appetit: Three Short Films about Food
The Many Doors of Albert Whale
Stake Land (2010) directed by Jim Mickle
I enjoyed Mickle's first film Mulberry Street quite a bit and I was looking forward to his follow-up. It doesn't disappoint. Instead of zombies, vampires are the cause of the post-apocalypse in Stake Land. It's a nice change. I think we, as a society, are about at peak zombie right now. Though, admittedly, these vampires are mostly animal-like and not terribly unlike a zombie in effect. However, sunlight will still kill them, so humans have free reign during the day. It's a neat difference. Being used to so many zombie apocalypse films and TV shows, a vampire apocalypse almost doesn't seem that bad. Given their free time during daylight hours, people have formed little bubbles of civilization in small towns all over northern North America. As our travelers go from town to town, the movie feels like a Western with the (purposefully, I'm sure) unnamed Mister playing the Clint Eastwood part (played excellently by Nick Damici). I love Western-influenced horror movies.
Though, I have to say, it stands in the shadow of The Road. You can feel that this film sort of wants to be the vampire version of that prior film, with its desolate locations (seriously: the location scout for Stake Land needs an award of some kind) and grey skies and threat of cannibals. But, Stake Land just can't touch the utter despair found in The Road. The Road has sort of ruined post-apocalyptic movies for me in general. Anything that isn't as bad as the world in that film -- which is all worlds, everywhere -- seems like a paradise in comparison.
Still, Stake Land was well worth a watch and I'll be picking up the Blu-ray soon. (7/10)
You Can't Rent Here Anymore (2010) directed by Ryan Meade
A local film, shot at Thomas Video & DVD in Royal Oak, Michigan. I think Heavy Mental is safe as the coolest recent horror movie from the area. This one is more of "friends having fun making a movie" more so than "something you'd really want to watch." A crazy guy accidentally returns a video of himself killing a woman to a video store. The clerks watch it, freak out, and then the man comes back to the store to retrieve it. Hijinks ensue.
Gotta love the fact that despite the story ending at the 55-minutes mark, the movie is 75 minutes long. I'm guessing there was a festival requirement somewhere that a full-length movie had to be 75 minutes minimum. Boy, they just scraped by. Using "where are they now" title cards and blooper-credits and a stinger at the end a really slow credit crawl, they just edged by to the mark they needed. If anything, this film excels as an achievement in padding. (5/10)