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The Invitation

Posted on May 5, 2017

Roadkill: Art or Exploitation?

Dawn

Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) famously opens (after the credit sequence) with what has to be one of the most famous shots of roadkill in horror—a dead armadillo on a hot Texas highway. The shot is an establishing shot, but it also predicts something of what is to come. The young and attractive main characters, speeding past the charnel houses of a forgotten part of Texas, will soon find other kinds of “animals” who have been left behind by civilization, abandoned by the side of the road of progress. And then they themselves will also become a kind of roadkill.

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Posted on April 8, 2016

Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation

Dawn

2015   |   Not Rated   |   USA   | Karyn Kusama    |   100 min

Grade: A+

I saw Karyn Kusama’s latest film, The Invitation, last November at the Ithaca International Fantastic Film Festival, and it was easily the best film I saw there (and there were some good films!) It’s also head-and-shoulders above Kusama’s earlier foray into horror, Jennifer’s Body (2009).

Michael Gingold of Fangoria introduced The Invitation, saying he thought it was one of the best horror films of the last couple of years. I agree (though I still think the standout horror film of 2014 is David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows).

You can find the trailer here. It conveys the thoroughly unnerving nature of the film:


Gingold also said that the less you know about The Invitation going into it, the better—and I wholeheartedly agree with that too. I (purposefully) hadn’t read any reviews of the film ahead of time, and so I got to experience the disconcerting and disorienting events just as the protagonist does. It’s very difficult to write anything about the film without giving too much away and thus spoiling it, so I guess the two principal things I want to convey here are: (a) see the film; and (b) don’t read any reviews of it before you do—except this one, of course: I promise I won’t slip in any spoilers. Read more

Posted on November 18, 2015

Top Five Films Screened at the Ithaca International Fantastic Film Festival

Dawn

I just got back from a weekend at the Ithaca International Fantastic Film Festival, where some amazing films were in the lineup. Thanks to Hughes Barbier for putting together such a stimulating event.

Here are my top five, all of which you should watch when they become commercially available:

1. The Invitation, directed by Karyn Kusama (USA). Grade: A+

Michael Gingold of Fangoria introduced The Invitation at IIFFF, saying it was one of the best horror films of the last couple of years. I agree (though I still think the standout horror film of 2015 is David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows, which I review here).

Gingold also said that the less you know about The Invitation going into it, the better—and I wholeheartedly agree with that too. I (purposefully) hadn’t read any reviews of the film ahead of time, and so I got to experience the disconcerting and disorienting events just as the protagonist did. It’s very difficult to write anything about the film without giving too much away and thus spoiling it, so I guess the two principal things I want to convey here are: (a) see the film (which will apparently get general release in March 2016); and (b) don’t read any reviews of it before you do.

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