by Patrick Bromley
Red Letter Day (dir. Cameron Macgowan)
Harpoon (dir. Rob Grant)
Turbo Kid. After getting off to a shaky start – the opening moments are crammed with ‘90s-era film student flourishes like flashback cutaways designed to look like 16mm black and white home movies – Harpoon eventually finds its footing once things begin to go wrong. The awfulness of the characters makes them hard to invest in early on, until we realize that their awfulness is the point. These aren’t people we’re meant to root for so much as ants we’re meant to observe frying under a magnifying glass, and the longer Harpoon goes on, the more it leans into this dynamic, the more writer/director Grant is able to let loose with his more sadistic tendencies and make a movie that’s really bleak and really, really nasty. The performances are strong, the inevitability palpable. The phrase "toxic masculinity" gets thrown around a whole bunch these days as subject matter for movies, but Harpoon really addresses it in different and unfortunately honest ways.
Candy Corn (dir. Josh Hasty)
3 From Hell) resurrects him as a monster of vengeance. The structure of the movie is repetitive, but it's got good Fall atmosphere and a nostalgia grab cast that includes Courtney Gains, Tony Todd, and P.J. Soles. The elements are there for something special, so I found myself actively rooting for the film to push itself just a little harder or to break from the formula it sets up for itself early on. That never quite happens.
Artik (dir. Tom Botchii Skowronski)
All four movies are available on VOD or on Blu-ray and DVD through Epic Pictures here.