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Tribeca '11: Horror Flicks

There wasn’t a wealth of horror flicks at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, but several of the ones they did have was choice. There were four memorable ones, two which were really good; one which was really mediocre; and one of which was really bad. Here they are in their order of quality:

This film seems to have been based on an offhand remark by Norway’s Prime Minister (shown at the end of the film) a few years back. Though traditionally a mythical beast, the Troll is treated here as real and this fact is covered up by the government (why is never properly explained) for the safety of the people. For some reason this is the way it always works -- but I don’t know why.

For years people have been looking for a perfect sequel to the Blair Witch Project and, finally, this is it. A trio of wanna-be documentarians manage to get one of Norway’s wildlife management specialists to allow them to film him on his rounds around the Arctic parts of the country, which for the most part consists of culling the troll population that isn’t inside the conservation area. This requires some excellent special effects in an otherwise cheaply made film, and writer/director André Øvredal manages to make everything seamless. It’s riveting!

Directed and written by Dick Maas, this is a cultural treat for the Dutch, who have a different set of holidays and a different version of Santa Claus. This is the original version, where St. Nick is dressed in his bishop garb instead of the American red & white suit. Within the set-up of the film, he’s more understandably evil, and the faux myth works really well. The characters are your typical hero/victims for this genre of flick, and the fact that they’re Dutch and not Californian is a breath of fresh air. It’s about time they did a decent movie set in Amsterdam, and best of all, all the jokes work!

Directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s send up of American slasher films would be considered racist if Israeli jews hadn’t done it. The conceit here is that there is a serial killer, but he’s not responsible for 90% of the mayhem. It tries to be funny and ironic, but the characters are all too unlikeable for anyone to really care one way or the other what happens to them. The jokes, and there are lots of them, for the most part work, but not all that well. Which means that it’s not horrible.

Beyond the Black Rainbow:
This piece of garbage has one interesting thing that makes it watchable: The conceit that the future is over. The film takes place in the 1980s, but not our 1980s. There’s this bizarre woman being held captive by a group of futuristic scientists studying extreme hedonism’s effect on the human psyche. The set looks like it’s the ‘80s imagined in the ‘60s (except some rubes in the woods). The thing makes little sense. There’s a flashback that takes place in the 1960s that is even more futuristic looking and makes even less sense. This one was awful. FEH!

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