The first weekend from the Seattle International Film Festival is in the books, and so far the nation’s most attended fest has been a lot of fun. Here are some quick glimpses at things I’ve seen so far. Maybe you’ll see something you want to check out, maybe you’ll cross something off of your must-see list.
Check out the SIFF website for screenings, movies, trailers, and to buy tickets.
Game of Werewolves
Juan Martinez Moreno’s horror comedy Game of Werewolves has all the makings of a great midnight movie. It is fun, fast paced, and full of schlocky, glorious gore and personable characters that you like and feel for. It seamlessly blends slapstick and splatter, and the end result is a blast from end to end.
Tomas Marino (Gorka Otxoa) is a writer. Even though no one has read his book, his hometown invites him back after fifteen years for a celebration in his honor. Turns out there’s an ulterior motive for the summons. The town is under the power of a gypsy curse, and Tomas is the key to breaking it. More specifically, Tomas’ blood is the key to vanquishing the evil spell. With his childhood friend Calisto (Carlos Areces) and Jack Russell terrier Vito in tow, Tomas has to contend hostile villagers, werewolves, and literary failure.
Among the wisecracks and decapitations, Game of Werewolves actually has a heart as the center. There are deep relationships, shadows of the Spanish Civil War, and a sensitivity that makes it stand out from middle of the road comedies and standard horror fare.
My Sucky Teen Romance
My Sucky Teen Romance is adorably geeky. A group of teenage friends about to go their separate waysâ€”on to college and the usual post-high school adventuresâ€”has one last fling at Space Con, a mecca for all things nerd. Kate (Elaine Hurt) is looking to have a â€œcon romance,â€ with the cute boy who works at the grocery store. Here’s the rub: there’s a vampire on the loose, slowly taking out Space Con goers one by one. Exploiting the fact that vampires are the good guys now, he preys on teenage girls in love with sparkly bloodsuckers.
MSTR is cheap, nerdy, short, and way too cute. It occasionally runs too deep into teen melodrama, and it definitely owes a huge debt to Scott Pilgrim, but it is endearing to watch vampires who don’t want to hurt people and see the budding young love try to conquer vampirism.
Gimme the Loot
Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) are Brooklyn graffiti artists. Their entire teenage lives are absorbed with bombing the city and searching for the respect of their peers. When they decide the only way to gain street cred and recognition is to tag a New York City landmark, it will cost them $500 they don’t have to get to their target. Writer/director Adam Leon’s Gimme the Loot is the story of their quest.
You think the story is going to one way, but it never quite takes that turn. Sofia hustles stolen cans of spray paint for the cash and Malcolm starts down a dangerous path of ripping off his drug dealer boss and plotting home invasions. But Gimme the Loot never goes fully dark, and is lighter than you expect. That idea is a fake out, and ultimately the film exposes Sofia and Malcolm for what they are, good-natured kids playing at something they’re not. Washington and Hickson are great onscreen together, and watching their quick, familiar banter is the greatest pleasure in an overall uneven movie. Those two characters are what make Gimme the Loot worth a watch.