Because there just wasn't time during the festival (or before it) for me to watch all the films made available to me, here a couple of late additions before I climb back into my coffin for a few hours:
A woman wakes up in a windowless room with vague memories of a trip to the beach with her young daughter. She is compelled by a faceless voice to perform greater and more complex feats of telekinesis with the threat that if she does not complete them within a particular time frame her daughter will die. After each task she is rendered unconscious. Eventually she is able to escape the room and discover what kind of a place she has been imprisoned in.
CONTROL is directed by James Mark who also made 2019's Frightfest ENHANCED. I said ENHANCED felt like the kind of low-budget superhero picture Empire Pictures might have made in the 1980s, and CONTROL feels very much like an origin story in the same universe. It's actually better than ENHANCED despite having what looks like a lower budget, and as such it's an entertaining time waster for undemanding fans.
CONTROL will be getting a release on digital platforms from Signature Entertainment on Monday 26th September
Writer-Director Carter Smith (THE RUINS) returns to the big screen with this noirish tale of smuggling gone horribly wrong. Benjamin (Cooper Koch) is about to leave his sleepy little town to become a gay adult film star in Los Angeles. His best friend Dom (Jose Colon) has an idea to make some money to give Benjamin to help start him off in the big city.
Unfortunately that idea involves ingesting a number of small packages for Alice (Jena Malone) so they can be smuggled across the Canadian-US border. The two get to the other side only for Dom to receive a blow to the stomach that causes one of the packages to rupture. Alice isn't pleased and neither is her boss (Mark Patton). The pair are dragged out to a remote shack in the forest where the nature of the bizarre packages is revealed.
SWALLOWED combines noir crime with another genre that might be a spoiler if I was to name it, suffice to say that this is a tense, tight little piece with excellent performances from everyone. Jena Malone is always a welcome sight (and often a mark of quality when it comes to outré cinematic subjects) while Mark Patton, still best known for playing the lead in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2) is quite excellent as a psychopathic murderous version of Joe Exotic. In fact if they ever do the Tiger King biopic he absolutely deserves a crack at the audition.
SWALLOWED will be getting a release from Blue Finch Releasing.
In the near future research scientist Dr Stevensen (Karen Gillan) has proved that there is life after death. This has led to a tremendous rise in both the suicide and the homicide rates, but Stevensen's work is in its infancy. Not all deaths are trackable into the afterlife and she needs more research subjects willing to die to further her work.
Two of the research study volunteers are unlikeable Rose (Katie Parker) and affable Teddy (Rahul Kohli). Thrown together at the Charon (oh what a giveaway) car rental agency they end up driving across country together to get to their respective appointments at Dr Stevensen's lab. As they travel we get to witness what Stevensen's discovery has meant for many of the country's inhabitants as well as learning a lot more about Rose and Teddy along the way.
Don't expect NEXT EXIT to go into the details about Dr Stevensen's research as this is essentially a road movie, with Karen Gillan's brief appearance there to get things moving. It's therefore very much a character driven piece, and something of an odyssey as our two leads encounter people from different walks of life (a priest, a cop) as well as individuals from their past. Writer-director Mali Elfman is the daughter of composer Danny Elfman and the niece of Richard Elfman and it looks as if her talent lies in rather more sober works than the man who gave us FORBIDDEN ZONE
NEXT EXIT will be getting a release from Blue Finch Releasing