Excess Flesh, Screening March 26th at 9:55 p.m.
This SXSW World Premiere is utterly aggressive, hateful Body Image horror about a young woman both enamored and furious with her self-obsessed model roommate. Her self-hatred and struggle with food manifests and forces their relationship to the extreme. From my review: “Displeased and displeasing, repulsive and repugnant, Excess Flesh is consuming vitriol and spewing it back in our faces. Director Patrick Kennelly’s feature debut is stylish on a low budget, boasting a synth score from Jonathan Snipes (Room 237, Starry Eyes) and slick, slo-mo visual palette, which he then stuffs with graphic eating, and sadistic and self-destructive behavior. This is a film as informed by the veneer of Los Angeles as it is sickened by it; a layer cake of aggression, shame and madness. It’s pretty exhilarating.”
The film screens with two shorts, Izzy Lee’s Postpartum and Olivia Saperstein’s Recipe, both of which also engage in the extreme how societal pressures bubble as violent obsession; their titles can likely tease you as to how.
We Are Still Here, Screening March 28th at 6:45 p.m.
Another fresh import from a SXSW debut, Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here was made for Boston screens. The snowy, New England folk horror is refreshing in its familiar setups, featuring middle aged characters that make for a more somber, weighty affair and providing its ghosts with fiery agency. These are not translucent specters, but charred, murderous apparition. The film’s weirdo atmosphere (thanks to beautiful landscape and great work from Barbara Crampton) then builds to reveal its Fulci-esque self, with a tightly orchestrated climactic massacre. See my full review here.
Bag Boy Lover Boy, Screening March 28th at 9:15 p.m.
If you miss the scuzzy feel of New York City horror, dark satire Bag Boy Lover Boy is likely for you. The low budget affair makes a case that the downtown streets are as shitty and hellish as they’ve ever been. Hot dog vendor Albert is exploited and teased by a Soho photographer, whose fake promises and negging in fetishistic photo shoots lead the deranged young man to act on violent impulse and misogynistic entitlement. It’s both unsettling and darkly funny, recalling unhinged urban atmosphere of Ferrara, Henenlotter and Richard Kern.
Der Samurai, Screening March 29 at 6:45 p.m.
This German favorite from the fest circuit is actually of a piece with accompanying BUFF titles about something raging within. A small town cop is both on the hunt of and allured by a wedding dress-wearing and katana-wielding maniac over the course of one, long night. Queer, dreamy and concerned with the harmful effects of repression and all that boils beneath it, Der Samurai is best experienced cold, simply following its trail.
Goodnight Mommy, Screening March 29 at 8:30 p.m.
This Austrian nightmare is art-horror heaven. Directors Severn Fiala and Veronika Franz, the latter of which co-wrote Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy, concoct an intimate, horrifying affair of twin boys paranoid and questioning of their mother after an accident has necessitated cosmetic surgery for her. The filmmakers create a clinical, entirely unwarm atmosphere in this stunning home, artfully restricting the children and constricting the audience until an unbelievable end and maybe the most primal scream I’ve ever heard onscreen.