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iCMFF: Just Before Dawn Thread
Topic Started: Nov 20 2017, 02:06:38 AM (586 Views)
outdoorcats
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Welcome to the 2017 iCheckMovies Film Festival!

This is the first annual festival to be held here on the iCM Forum, and the third of its kind which originally started on the IMDb message boards (you know, back when those existed).

For the full program guide and a brief explanation of what the festival is, look no further than here.
For the unofficial challenge thread, look no further than here.

Please rate the films the films you've seen on a scale from 1-10 to help contribute to this year's Audience Award. This is not connected to the Unofficial Challenge and therefore it does not matter when you saw the films in question.

Other sections:

Main Slate
English-Language Independents
International (I and II)
Animation
LGBT
Arthouse
Documentaries
Just Before Dawn
Shorts Programs

This is the thread where we rate and discuss the films in the Just Before Dawn section:

Quote:
 
Apocalyptic dir. Glenn Triggs. 2014, 84 min. Posted Image
Starring Jane Elizabeth Barry and David Macrae.
A local news crew investigating a rural religious cult become imprisoned by something far more sinister than they possibly could have imagined in this chilling Aussie found-footage horror.

Posted Image




The Blackcoat's Daughter dir. Oz Perkins. 2015, 93 min. Posted Image
Starring Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, and James Remar.
In Perkins’ slow-burning, atmospheric, and wintery art horror, Kat (Mad Men’s Shipka) is left behind at her boarding school for winter break. As her behavior grows more erratic, she begins to suspect that an evil presence lurks in her school.

Posted Image




Fatal Frame dir. Mari Asato. 2014, 104 min. Posted Image
Starring Aoi Morikawa and Ayami Nakajô.
The classic horror video-game series serves as the inspiration for this atmospheric all-girls boarding school horror, but this expertly told tale is closer in tone to mystery horror classics such as Picnic at Hanging Rock and A Tale of Two Sisters than traditional J-horror films.

Posted Image




I Am Not a Serial Killer dir. Billy O'Brien. 2016, 104 min. Posted Image
Starring Max Records, Laura Fraser and Christopher Lloyd.
A surprising delight of a thriller, in which Irish horror maestro O’Brien (Isolation) transplants to rural Americana to tell the story of troubled teen John Cleaver, who talks to a therapist to try and control his homicidal tendencies even as he stalks another serial killer picking off residents in his small town. Featuring a killer soundtrack and a scene-stealing turn by Christopher Lloyd as John’s eccentric neighbor.

Posted Image




Spring dir. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. 2014, 109 min. Posted Image
Starring Lou Taylor Pucci and Nadia Hilker.
Fresh off their V/H/S: Viral entry “Bonestorm,” directors Benson and Moorhead released this critically acclaimed romance-horror about an American tourist in Italy who falls in very determined love with a local woman, even when he discovers she’s been harboring a very dark secret. A modern cult classic.

Posted Image

Edited by outdoorcats, Nov 20 2017, 02:22:14 AM.
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te18
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The Blackcoat's Daughter (2015) 8/10

Apocalyptic (2014) 6/10
A fairly solid execution of a consistently predictable storyline, it holds no surprises but creates and maintains a palpable mood. Of course this horrors revolving around Jim Jones style cults have been done better -- The Sacrament and The Conspiracy -- are fairly recent examples come to mind, but there were few points where I felt I was watching a shoddy film.
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sacmersault
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Spring: I didn't even remember watching this movie, that's how forgetful it is. The acting is bad. The story is not very well developed. There is nothing special about this film. 5/10
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cinephage
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I am not a serial killer - 7,5/10
Spring - 7/10
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peeptoad
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I am Not a Serial Killer - 8/10
Blackcoat's Daughter - 7.5/10
Spring- 6.5/10

I'l edit in Apocalyptic soon. I'm having a hard time finding Fatal Frame anywhere
Edited by peeptoad, Nov 21 2017, 02:28:57 PM.
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mightysparks
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Apocalyptic (2014) 4/10

Story has been done better before (I don't particularly like The Sacrament, but this felt like a poor man's Sacrament). The actor dude was creepy, but all of the actors were wrong, the characters weren't interesting and made no sense. The low production quality was annoying at times, and I felt that I wasn't really that excited or scared for the reveal of the mystery.

The Blackcoat's Daughter (2015) 5/10

Didn't really like this, but it had good moments and I enjoyed Kiernan Shipka's performance. The story was pretty dull and the slowburn pacing never really paid off. I also found it confusing because I thought Emma Roberts and Lucy Boynton looked similar.

I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016) 7/10

Saw this a while ago and don't remember it that well. I was talking to my housemate about it a few months ago after he watched it and I realised I had totally forgotten the second half. I remember really liking the way it dealt with the teenage angst as him really dealing with 'the urge to kill'. If I get time to rewatch it for this festival I will try, but who knows.

Spring (2015) 5/10

This was the review I wrote when I watched it 2 years ago:

It functions mostly as a romance with horror elements rather than a horror with romance elements, and it does bits of both well, but they don’t quite come together and it doesn’t really work. Lou Taylor Pucci is not a good actor and never ‘becomes’ Evan; you’re always aware you’re watching an actor. Evan is also a pretty pathetic and unlikable character, which I think is partly due to the forced delivery of much of his dialogue and Pucci’s performance being unbelievable. Nadia Hilker does a slightly better job as Louise, but is never convincingly ‘sexy’ and although comes across as likable, is quite annoying.

Pucci and Hilker also have zero chemistry whatsoever, which is ultimately the film’s biggest downfall. It makes the end especially unconvincing and seemingly tacked on – it also doesn’t help that they’d only known each other a week. The film is shot like a romance film and looks very nice, that softness and light looks really great and is good for contrast with the darker, more ‘horrific’ scenes. The horror elements are the most interesting part of the film, but it was handled horribly. The scenes where Louise explains it are poorly written and are kind of stupid. The lack of chemistry between the two probably contributes to this ‘dumbness’, because I didn’t buy any of it. The film also decides to become part comedy during these scenes which although ‘works’ also left me confused about the shift in tone.

Overall, it feels disjointed and doesn’t really work on any level. It does bits of things well and is quite unique, the cinematography is also very good. The acting and writing let it down; these things could’ve perhaps been forgiven if the leads had better chemistry, but it feels much too forced and unsatisfying.
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morrison-dylan-fan
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peeptoad
Nov 21 2017, 02:27:38 PM
I am Not a Serial Killer - 8/10
Blackcoat's Daughter - 7.5/10
Spring- 6.5/10

I'l edit in Apocalyptic soon. I'm having a hard time finding Fatal Frame anywhere
Hi Peep,after your comment I've gone searching for Fatal Frame,and I sadly can't find any version on DVD or download that has Eng Subs.

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peeptoad
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morrison-dylan-fan
Nov 22 2017, 12:01:06 PM
peeptoad
Nov 21 2017, 02:27:38 PM
I am Not a Serial Killer - 8/10
Blackcoat's Daughter - 7.5/10
Spring- 6.5/10

I'l edit in Apocalyptic soon. I'm having a hard time finding Fatal Frame anywhere
Hi Peep,after your comment I've gone searching for Fatal Frame,and I sadly can't find any version on DVD or download that has Eng Subs.

That's okay, MDF... thanks for trying. I can usually find these obscurities somewhere, but this one is very elusive apparently. ;)
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morrison-dylan-fan
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peeptoad
Nov 22 2017, 01:56:38 PM
morrison-dylan-fan
Nov 22 2017, 12:01:06 PM
peeptoad
Nov 21 2017, 02:27:38 PM
I am Not a Serial Killer - 8/10
Blackcoat's Daughter - 7.5/10
Spring- 6.5/10

I'l edit in Apocalyptic soon. I'm having a hard time finding Fatal Frame anywhere
Hi Peep,after your comment I've gone searching for Fatal Frame,and I sadly can't find any version on DVD or download that has Eng Subs.

That's okay, MDF... thanks for trying. I can usually find these obscurities somewhere, but this one is very elusive apparently. ;)
The elusiveness is actually making me more interested in seeing it!

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te18
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I Am Not a Serial Killer (2014) 7/10
A really interesting twist on the serial killer movie template, with a potentially murderous teen attempting to outwit and stop a supernatural serial killer picking off the local townspeople. It has similarities to films like Ginger Snaps and Jeepers Creepers while going in a radically different, understated direction with potentially outlandish material. If there's a drawback to its approach it's that the monster/killer isn't quite as threatening in its aging form as you would hope for it to be, and I'd have preferred a bit more gore in the kills to add a bit of flavour to proceedings. Even with these flaws it's my favorite movie of the festival so far.

Spring (2014) 4/10
Vacationing Lou Taylor Pucci meets a beautiful woman who turns out to be an ages old evolutionary link that transforms into monstrous form every twenty years if her body isn't carrying the embryonic material to regenerate into another human form. If she falls in love, however, she'll keep her current appearance -- and her baby -- and have a finite lifespan instead of an indefinite one. Naturally, Lou spends the remainder of the movie trying to woo her. Yawn. As if the story weren't restrained to a fault, what little life and horror the movie does have is pretty hackily done, so there's no release and no excitement to any of it. What you're left with is a muted rom-com and it's just a slog.
Edited by te18, Nov 24 2017, 08:51:47 PM.
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peeptoad
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I agree with mightysparks on Apocalyptic... and I didn't like the Sacrament either, but it was better than this one. At least Sacrament had a decent performance by Gene Jones.

final ranking:

I am Not a Serial Killer - 8/10
Blackcoat's Daughter - 7.5/10
Spring- 6.5/10
Apocalyptic (2014)- 3/10
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Carmel1379
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Look for 'Fatal Frame' in the right places.

(And maybe you'll be absolved from your sins of hating against 'Apocalyptic'.)
Edited by Carmel1379, Dec 2 2017, 05:12:31 AM.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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Old comments:

劇場版 零〜ゼロ〜 / Fatal Frame (Mari Asato, 2014)
Posted Image

'Fatal Frame' is a Japanese lesbian coming-of-age gothic ghost mystery with a very Victorian flair, all romanticism, no kink, all yearning, and no consummation. Innocent love? Yes. But anything but harmless.

To go into the film's plot without missing the point its mysteries (and even its main characters) are a bit too ever-changing and evolving, instead I'll say that the main motif of the film has to be John Everett Millais' 'Ophelia', and the film does justice to that evocative painting that is as beautiful as it is tragically sad and even unsettling. The supernatural element (ghosts) can easily be read as manifestations of extreme (often suppressed) emotions like unrequited (and forbidden) love while also being manifestations of a traumatic past. The mysteriousness and eeriness of the film doesn't just exist for its own sake but serves as an apt reflection of what its teenage characters are going through, with their feelings being new, mysterious or even scary to themselves.

If you want to know what you can expect from this film, 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' is probably a good reference point in terms of the Victorian girls' boarding school setting, the ethereal beauty, as well as the eeriness in broad daylight. The plot also involves girls suddenly disappearing, but the way in which this fits into the narrative and its function has much more in common with 'Ringu' and its dooming curse than it does with the inexplicable mysteriousness of nature in the Peter Weir classic. But in terms of the general look, feel and pacing it can be somewhat compared to 'A Tale of Two Sisters'. The way in which the mysteries pile up without ever losing the plot and having everything neatly come together is more in line with Vincenzo Natali's 'Haunter' or maybe a compressed version of a mystery anime series.

Even though its eeriness I thought was at its highest towards the beginning and in the last section the piling up of mysteries and their explanations exceed the film's climactic point, the atmosphere never lets up, nor does the subdued beauty of its visuals (I love the texture and color palette of its 16mm Kodak film stock) ever lose its classical magic. 'Fatal Frame' is conceived in the modern Japanese storytelling mode (teen-centric, lots of emotion-centric voice-overs that never leave you in doubt about character motivations, etc.), which isn't to everyone's liking, but if you are OK with this or maybe even have an affinity for that mode and if my other descriptions also sounded good to you then this one comes highly recommended.

And here's one external review I liked:
http://screenanarchy.com/2015/07/fantasia-2015-review-fatal-frame-has-no-shortage-of-beautiful-images.html


Screenshots



February / The Blackcoat's Daughter (Oz Perkins, 2015)
Posted Image

Thrill-O-Meter: 5 out of 10 screams for leaving me in a constant state of anticipation; for totally delivering in the second half in completely unpredictable ways; for showing the murderous dangers of having a one-track-mind; for striking a brilliant balance between groundedness and unsettling mysteriousness; for evoking a certain loneliness by making clear that even if other people are friendly and helpful to each other everyone is basically on their own; for knowing that there are no villains but that every person has issues; for not even making me wonder why the perpetrator did what the perpetrator did but for instead making me accept that it is about showing that you can never know what goes on in another person, yet once it does get a little into the perpetrator's motivations it finds a beautifully non-conclusive middle-ground between psychology and spirituality/demonic possession; and for being as tragic as it is unsettling - while the reactions so far seem to be very mixed I am confident that this one still has to find its audience and will be a film with a lot of lasting power, and if nothing goes wrong I'm sure that we will hear many more great things from Oz Perkins in the future.
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Dec 6 2017, 11:12:03 PM.
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Carmel1379
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I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016, Billy O’Brien) 5
I never once thought the protagonist actually is, biologically and psychologically, a sociopath, I viewed him more as a self-conscious teenager with an interest in serial killers & anatomy (c.f. 'Let the Right One In', 'Excision', etc.), and a mother looking after corpses: an uprbinging and range of proclivities that contribute a positive feedback and ability to simulate or adopt certain psychopathic traits, like making credible threats to bullies that label him a “freak”. He definitely lacks empathy and has macabre thoughts to a far greater extent than most, but that doesn’t necessarily imply he’s fully capable to kill. His gone father certainly upsets him, and he has attachments to his mother and sister, and overall the whole thing and his system of “rules” seem just teen-angsty. I’d even go as far as saying that the serial killer butchering his victims like a beast, is part of John’s morbid imagination, something to keep him excited and occupied, do some detective work. And then he dug himself into a potential well he can’t get out from. He might be "losing it", but he’s not a serial killer.

In the end, fantasy or not, it doesn’t really matter. Overall it’s a consistent film, but nothing special. I enjoyed the music (e.g.) in particular.

Spring (2014, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead) 5


Some old mediocre comments for the 3 other, great ones:

February / The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015, Oz Perkins) 8
Adventurously leaves a lot of blanks and silences (literally and metaphorically), with precise, detailed focus on two or three aspects of its world at most, so that that limited set of distinct objects and sounds evoke something further, a greater sense of place and an emergent curiosity. The soundtrack is a fairly intense drone-ambient soundscape, which attaches greater value and eeriness to all those depicted particularities.

Thrill-O-Meter: 2 out of 10 screams for prolonged silences, uncertainty, detailed sounds and an ambient soundtrack immensely contributing to “fear and trembling”.

劇場版 零〜ゼロ〜 / Gekijô-ban: Zero / Fatal Frame (2014, Mari Asato) 8
Thrill-O-Meter: 1 out of 10 screams for uncanny, unpredictable cursed ghosts and voices enthralling teenage girls in a boarding school leading to blackouts, fear and seduction of desires within an alluring dangerous realm, recounting possibly relevant past events, visiting possibly relevant places and people as part of an ‘investigation’ during which the protagonists simultaneously discover themselves, as well as the virtues and vices, strikes and gutters, ups and downs of growing-up/life. I also felt like I overlooked or missed out on stuff by not being female, since it is (intended as or as a consequence of the director being a woman) quite a gender-specific film with the setting and phrase “curse that only affects girls” repeatedly being said. So there’s that apparent drawback (a lack of distinct “relatedness”), but that fact is spontaneously fuelled into mysteriousness in line with the overall narrative qualities mixing the sensate and natural with the phantasmal and psychological.

Apocalyptic (2014, Glenn Triggs) 7
Tragic. The film starts with an addiction support group, a collective of disjoint people feebly groping with themselves, much weaker than a given cult in assimilatory powers junkies are especially vulnearable to debase into; which isn’t to say modern civilisation is curative or secure, addiction as an introductory topic here is not incidental. Eventually the difference between a possible support group and a recluse cult is that of course the latter bears a darker heart towards which one spirals down into… without much choice, since weaker souls will obediently submit, and stronger, individual, different or delirious ones will be crushed by the more numerous populace bound by durable depicted practises, rituals, social dynamics and finally (at the deepest initiatory centre) beliefs, related to the prophesised End. "It's very important to understand, that once someone joins us, you are part of us for life, you are bound by the sanctions of the collective love we share." The undercurrent is of course getting laid - the single patriarch prophet supposedly connected to God, shags his numerous women of various generations, which is just scratching the surface of what’s going on, as when that’s insufficient, a patho-theology is preached and consummated, stemming from poisonous veins and plausibly having existed across regions in history. The acting is much more convincing here than in ‘[•REC]’, this one is made very believably and naturally.

Thrill-O-Meter: 1 out of 10 screams, because nausea.
Edited by Carmel1379, Dec 13 2017, 12:46:02 AM.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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Carmel1379
Dec 10 2017, 12:07:38 AM
I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016, Billy O’Brien) 6
I never once thought the protagonist actually is, biologically and psychologically, a sociopath, I viewed him more as a self-conscious teenager with an interest in serial killers & anatomy (c.f. 'Let the Right One In', 'Excision', etc.), and a mother looking after corpses: an uprbinging and range of proclivities that contribute a positive feedback and ability to simulate or adopt certain psychopathic traits, like making credible threats to bullies that label him a “freak”. He definitely lacks empathy and has macabre thoughts to a far greater extent than most, but that doesn’t necessarily imply he’s fully capable to kill. His gone father certainly upsets him, and he has attachments to his mother and sister, and overall the whole thing and his system of “rules” seem just teen-angsty. I’d even go as far as saying that the serial killer butchering his victims like a beast, is part of John’s morbid imagination, something to keep him excited and occupied, do some detective work. And then he dug himself into a potential well he can’t get out from. He might be "losing it", but he’s not a serial killer.

In the end, fantasy or not, it doesn’t really matter. Overall it’s a consistent film, but nothing special. I enjoyed the music (e.g.) in particular.
There's certainly an element of the teenager being "talked into" being a serial killer and his whole thinking especially in terms of his identity hence being directed into this direction of deep within being a killer who's main obligation it is now to suppress his urge to kill, everything he does and thinks becomes categorized into something being either serial killer behavior or not, and he fully adopts that line of thinking. A consistent film but it didn't really give me much to work with personally and I found it pretty square, I didn't see many indications of the film on some level being critical of this warped black or white way of thinking (though his own mother also already seeing just the suppressed killer in him was one of the things that could be read that way), but rather just accepting it, not to mention that the "evil" is literally a monster that just disguises itself as a human being. But I kind of found the notion of the double life interesting, the disguise being created for the sake of his wife, whereas if he hadn't fallen in love and married, the film seems to say, he would lived only for killing. The boy himself, in contrast, doesn't have this double identity, he doesn't much pretend in public to be anything other than who he is, which also is what creates that whole problem of being judged for...well, thought crimes, basically.

Despite the supernatural element it actually didn't occur to me that it might just be in the boy's mind, probably because there was nothing else that would make one question what he experiences. It's also that this guy was the last one that the boy would have suspected to be the serial killer, he himself was caught off-guard when he found out, so it's not like he (at least not consciously) wished him to be the killer so much that he willed him into existence. And weren't they related? They seemed like family, but I never could figure it out, or was this just a Doc and Marty situation? There never was any backstory about how they would have gotten so close...not that there was one in 'Back to the Future' either. But I figured that if they shared genes it's not much of a stretch that his grandfather(?) of all people turns out to be the killer. And let's not forget that in the end killing some people and eating pieces of them would have been one of the more harmless things Rick has done...
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Dec 10 2017, 01:16:42 AM.
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Carmel1379
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Perception de Ambiguity
Dec 10 2017, 12:58:51 AM
Carmel1379
Dec 10 2017, 12:07:38 AM
I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016, Billy O’Brien) 6
I never once thought the protagonist actually is, biologically and psychologically, a sociopath, I viewed him more as a self-conscious teenager with an interest in serial killers & anatomy (c.f. 'Let the Right One In', 'Excision', etc.), and a mother looking after corpses: an uprbinging and range of proclivities that contribute a positive feedback and ability to simulate or adopt certain psychopathic traits, like making credible threats to bullies that label him a “freak”. He definitely lacks empathy and has macabre thoughts to a far greater extent than most, but that doesn’t necessarily imply he’s fully capable to kill. His gone father certainly upsets him, and he has attachments to his mother and sister, and overall the whole thing and his system of “rules” seem just teen-angsty. I’d even go as far as saying that the serial killer butchering his victims like a beast, is part of John’s morbid imagination, something to keep him excited and occupied, do some detective work. And then he dug himself into a potential well he can’t get out from. He might be "losing it", but he’s not a serial killer.

In the end, fantasy or not, it doesn’t really matter. Overall it’s a consistent film, but nothing special. I enjoyed the music (e.g.) in particular.
There's certainly an element of the teenager being "talked into" being a serial killer and his whole thinking especially in terms of his identity hence being directed into this direction of deep within being a killer who's main obligation it is now to suppress his urge to kill, everything he does and thinks becomes categorized into something being either serial killer behavior or not, and he fully adopts that line of thinking. A consistent film but it didn't really give me much to work with personally and I found it pretty square, I didn't see many indications of the film on some level being critical of this warped black or white way of thinking (though his own mother also already seeing just the suppressed killer in him was one of the things that could be read that way), but rather just accepting it, not to mention that the "evil" is literally a monster that just disguises itself as a human being. But I kind of found the notion of the double life interesting, the disguise being created for the sake of his wife, whereas if he hadn't fallen in love and married, the film seems to say, he would lived only for killing. The boy himself, in contrast, doesn't have this double identity, he doesn't much pretend in public to be anything other than who he is, which also is what creates that whole problem of being judged for...well, thought crimes, basically.

Despite the supernatural element it actually didn't occur to me that it might just be in the boy's mind, probably because there was nothing else that would make one question what he experiences. It's also that this guy was the last one that the boy would have suspected to be the serial killer, he himself was caught off-guard when he found out, so it's not like he (at least not consciously) wished him to be the killer so much that he willed him into existence. And weren't they related? They seemed like family, but I never could figure it out, or was this just a Doc and Marty situation? There never was any backstory about how they would have gotten so close...not that there was one in 'Back to the Future' either. But I figured that if they shared genes it's not much of a stretch that his grandfather(?) of all people turns out to be the killer. And let's not forget that in the end killing some people and eating pieces of them would have been one of the more harmless things Rick has done...
If the boy and the old man were related then I must've missed something. I mean, the boy tried to harm (and at some point thought he killed) his wife to send the old man a threatening picture, so if he actually would hurt his grandma just for that sake, then I must concede he's properly messed up. My understanding was that they were his neighbours he helped out by shovelling away snow, showing how smartphones work, ... that sort of thing. So to make a creepy monster out of an old neighbour would make sense, it's kind of a standard horror trope.

Why I suggested the possibility of fantasy was because I felt an actual supernatural element was just so out-of-place. Daily deaths turn up with missing body parts, and the whole town seems casually going about its day (some search party was organised a particular night, but otherwise there didn't seem much of an uproar). It just felt like a poor exposition-of-setting, a very hurried thing to get across, and given we just follow the boy around and he actively demonstrates his interests, it's worth pursuing that line to the very end and view the whole film as a fantasy inside his mind. Awkward shots like him pissing his pants when viewing the murder on the frozen river are little things that are evidence against this theory.... but maybe he fantasised that too for the sake of realism and suspense. Posted Image

"talked into" - Yes, and I think the amateur affordable psychologist his mother dates suggests to the boy he's a sociopath too. "All these indicators fit you, ... but your life is still in your control." / "Hell no, it's cool being a sociopath, thanks for letting me know!". It just helped him fuel his self-image, likening him more to those compelling serial killers he dedicates his life researching. They were jumping to conclusions too fast, just like someone taking a 5 minute online personality disorder test and declaring themselves schizoid or bipolar, and then pretending to act like that in real life.

This lone out-of-place monster wearing that stupid human costume fond of quoting William Blake* was interesting**, yes. But did he construct that human shell by himself, or kill someone to take over their body? And at what point did the wife come in? More secrets related to his backstory could've indeed been developed and uncovered, but oh well.

*which, btw, is quoted by the main serial killer in the show 'The Mentalist' - Red John, too. I also think the series 'Dexter' (full of double lives, serial killers and psychopaths) influenced 'I Am Not a Serial Killer' (but it probably influenced all subsequent psychopaths-related movies and series (even 'Stoker', where Richard with his "sometimes you need to do something bad to stop you from doing something worse" is basically like Dexter's step father who also appears as a post-mortem guiding superego)).

**Monsters trying to "fit in" under the surface and eating pieces of people always are:

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Edited by Carmel1379, Dec 10 2017, 02:10:57 AM.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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"So to make a creepy monster out of an old neighbour would make sense, it's kind of a standard horror trope."
Well, I'd say the situation here was very unlike the horror trope of the mysterious creepy neighbor, "Doc" basically seemed to be his closest friend aside from his school buddy. And I guess it was kind of easy to miss, but there was a montage that implied that the boy took care of Doc (bathing him, etc.) daily for weeks or even months just out of friendship. Almost killing a befriended old defenseless lady in her sleep or his grandma I don't think makes very much of a difference, especially to a person who generally lacked empathy for people, although I guess towards the end he realized he cared more for his mother than he thought.

The town seemed very much in uproar about the killings to me, actually. Of course the narrative is very streamlined so anything we see that doesn't necessarily directly connect to the protagonist naturally relates to the killings, but you have a funeral that feels like a semi-town hall meeting about "what should we do about this serial killer situation", trick-or-treat'ing with the one father walking with them anywhere they go and protecting them with his flashlight, a post-murder gathering with the whole town crying about the loss of one of their people and a blood-thirsty mob in front of the barber's house (since his body wasn't at the scene a whole bunch of people just assumed that he was the killer of the two cops) that makes the evening news, it doesn't get a whole lot uproar-y than that.

The psychiatrist for me actually was the main catalyst of the whole situation, plus the implied previous psychiatrists the boy may have come into contact with (e.g. his school psychiatrist). Not to say that he is the bad guy, he just did his job as best as he knew how, it's just a symptom of contemporary society that we trust this one-dimensional "expert" opinion so much to control our thinking about ourselves and other people's thinking about us.
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Dec 10 2017, 03:04:46 AM.
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Carmel1379
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I know he helped them around even before he discovered he was the killer, but I can't remember if the bathing was after he found out. But it does make sense for him to bond and sympathise with the devil - "Doc" is a real-life example of a serial killer that's finally around him, someone "like himself" that he could learn from. And then when Doc kills and threatens more people, John sees it in himself to take on the task of confronting him. The more we talk about it, the more superficial the whole film feels to me...

Agreed with your 3rd paragraph. And I'll assume you're right about the uproar-level of the town, since you gave so many examples, but I can't say these things left any mark on me..
Edited by Carmel1379, Dec 10 2017, 03:35:39 AM.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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https://i.imgur.com/ggDQPbM.mp4
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Dec 10 2017, 03:23:35 PM.
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weirdboy
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If I had to rank them from 1-5 I think my ranking would be

I am Not a Serial Killer
Spring
Apocalyptic
February
Fatal Frame
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ChrisReynolds
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I didn't have time to see Fatal Frame, but out of the others I'd rank them:

Films from best to worst:

I Am Not a Serial Killer
Christopher Lloyd holds the picture together with a multi-layered performance that is both scary and invites sympathy, but I never felt like the main character seemed like the sociopath wrestling with his impulses that the other characters kept saying he was. Partly this is down to Max Records performance and partly with the script that never showed him to be much more than an especially awkward teen. In other areas the script and direction are a lot more successful, providing a good dose of black humour and tension to make an enjoyable slow-burning supernatural thriller. Too bad about the CGI monster that appears briefly at the end. I should also mention that this has one great jump scare in the middle that is skillfully done.
6/10

Spring
Interesting plot that is a unique marriage of melancholy love story to Lovecraftian horrors. I think the big flaw in this is how the ending is resolved. They go with the sappy romance angle featuring a woman giving up her life for a man she's just met. They really should have gone with a more ambiguous or more sinister ending. Good use of the Italian locations.
5/10

February
The director effectively creates a bleak, cold atmosphere to match the exteriors of a winter-bound Ontario, and it undeniably has effective moments. However, by the end, the payoffs didn't seem good enough to compensate for all the slow scenes and lack of emotional connection with the characters.
4/10

Apocalyptic
Badly acted found footage that ended up infuriating me with how oblivious the protagonists became. The found footage conceit demands that they have to film everything, so the film just had them standing around filming people being tortured and killed in front of them. The most telling thing is that The Sacrament from the previous year told the same story in the same style but seemed much better in every area, and yet I didn't even think The Sacrament was a good movie!
2/10
Edited by ChrisReynolds, Dec 11 2017, 05:42:13 PM.
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peeptoad
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Good to see someone liked Apocalyptic less even than I did... ;)
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Perception de Ambiguity
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Time to decide on a winner, gang!

My ranking and ratings:

The Blackcoat's Daughter dir. Oz Perkins. 2015, 93 min. - 9.1
Fatal Frame dir. Mari Asato. 2014, 104 min. - 8.3
Apocalyptic dir. Glenn Triggs. 2014, 84 min. - 7.4
Spring dir. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. 2014, 109 min. - 6.6
I Am Not a Serial Killer dir. Billy O'Brien. 2016, 104 min. - 4.3

So, in conclusion, to me 'The Blackcoat's Daughter' is the shining light within this selection, but I'd be cool with 'Fatal Frame' taking home the prize too. Although not receiving any too overwhelmingly high ratings or praise 'I Am Not a Serial Killer' seems to be some people's favorite which to me personally was by far the weakest one.
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Dec 13 2017, 12:54:03 AM.
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Carmel1379
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I concur with 'The Blackcoat's Daughter / February' and 'Fatal Frame' being the best of the selection.
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