NOLA Horror Film Fest Review


NOLA Horror Film Fest attracted globally recognized talent such as actress Geretta Geretta (above).

Parker Greenwood, Staff Reporter

With voodoo rituals on stage, papier-mache dinosaurs and Wookies, and enough horror films to send you into an eternal nightmare, NOLA Horror Film Fest kicked off events Thursday, Sept. 22 at Castillo Blanco Art Studios, with screenings of the short “Monsters Anonymous” by director Jeremy London and locally-shot feature film “Abattoir.”

Easing the packed room into the spirit of the festival, London’s film presented the interesting concept of horror classics in a group therapy session. A Q&A with the cast and crew followed the presentation of the film. “Abattoir” then proceeded to throw viewers into the darkest realm of horror, set in and around the swamps of Louisiana.

The energy on night one was high, although it unfortunately did not carry as smoothly into the first segment of the following day. Friday began with the first shorts block, showing stand out films like “The Resurrectionist,” “20 Matches” and “Elle.” Following this was a Q&A with Tim Stevens, the director of “The Resurrectionist,” who was present for the whole festival. Jumping from there to a feature film titled “The Fostering” was mind-blowing.

After racing from short to short, the change of pace to begin an hour-and twenty-minute-long feature film felt disjointed. More than unsettling, the movie sent the viewer into another realm of humanity filled with the torturing of slaves and summoning of demons. The whole film seemed all-too real, which made it an even better spectacle to witness. The award for best director ended up going to Rodrigo Gasparini and Dante Vescio, the directors of the film.

The evening finished off on two much lighter notes, first showing “Killennial,” a goofy film about a group of millennials staying at the Airbnb of a deranged killer, too absorbed in their phones to even notice him. “The Barn” conjured up the spirit of ’80s films in a comedy that was a little too-high quality for its own good. The film was hilarious and the filmmakers were evidently well-aware of it. Instead of airing on the “less is more” side, it included at least 20 minutes of completely unnecessary montages.

Saturday’s film screenings began around noon, showcasing student-made films that had professional quality written all over them. To think that even one of these films was done by college students was almost unbelievable.

Three standout films, “Give Me To The Waves,” “Pigskin” and “Counting to 1000,” tackled heavy ideas. “Counting to 1000” was a visual masterpiece depicting multiple home invasions and their aftermaths, and in the end took home the award for best student film.

“Pigskin,” a film about the life of a high school cheerleader, sparked conversation on the issue of eating disorders. “Give Me To The Waves” could resonate with any young adult, shedding light on the internal struggle of a young man facing death.

“Idyll” sent viewers into an Eastern European-hillbilly hell, as four people get taken by a group of disfigured moonshiners. “Virtual Revolution” followed, depicting a future world where the majority of people no longer live in the traditional way that we imagine. Winning the award for best visual effects, the film begged the question, “What is reality?”

Comedy took over the next five hours of the fest, beginning with the comedy shorts, showcasing such films as “The Lock-in,” “Portal to Hell!!!,” “Knob Goblins” and “Girl #2,” the winner of the best short film award. Will Norris, one of the directors of “The Lock-In,” was there to answer any questions people had.

“Bear With Us”, which won the best script award, started at 9 p.m. to deliver an hour and a half of non-stop raunchy, ridiculous comedy. Featuring Christy Carlson Romano, known for her role as Ren in “Even Stevens,” the movie takes viewers on a trip to a cabin in the woods for a romantic getaway. The twist to the story is that while characters Colin and Harry are trying to fake a bear hunt for Romano’s character Quincy, a real bear is actually plaguing the local area.

With just the right amount of blood, action and jump-scares, “Daylight’s End,” a vampire film, seemed like a cross between zombie-themed “28 Days Later,” “Resident Evil” and “The Walking Dead.”

NOLA Horror Film Fest may be one of the best events to occur in the city all year long. Unfortunately, as a result of its recent appearance on the scene — this year being the festival’s sixth — the turnout is not yet at the level the organizers would like it to be. Looking to expand their presence on the local scene, there’s no doubt that in a few years, everyone will be talking about this spectacular festival of scares.

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