FanTasia Festival (Day Fourteen) – ‘No ifs, ands or BUTTS’

No ifs, ands or BUTTS about it, FanTasia Festival day fourteen has come and gone and there are now less than two weeks left of the greatest film festival in the world. Inside you’ll find Dominic F. Marceau’s report from Montreal, Canada, where he just witnessed The Uninvited, which is one of the best horror film he’s seen all year…

DAY FOURTEEN – July 21st, 2004
By: Dominic F. Marceau
Today’s episode: “No ifs, ands or BUTTS about it!”

Let’s see if I’m crazy or not: did you ever REALLY not want to do something but finally succumbed to peer pressure? And after giving in, were you ever glad you did? Let me explain: I REALLY didn’t feel like seeing the film The Uninvited. The synopsis just didn’t do anything for me. But yesterday, before the screening of Dario Argento’s criminally bad The Card Player (review), Mitch Davis, FanTasia’s director of international programming, told me in his own unique way, “Oh dude! You HAVE to go see that one! It’s the best horror film of the year. Period!” Now, if there’s anybody that knows anything about horror movies, or any other genre for that matter, it sure is our boy Mitch! Man! I was looking forward to having a day off! Oh well… Life is full of sacrifices…

So, I made my way downtown to see this film. The traffic was incredible. When I finally got there, the search for a parking space became another hurdle for ol’ Dom here. I finally found one right next to the University. Wow, a break! Thank you God! I’m a little bitter as I’ve decided to quit smoking today. I don’t know why today, I just wasn’t in the mood anymore. But this decision has turned this usually gentle giant into a ticking time bomb. As I walked into the Hall Theatre, I was thinking that this movie better be good because I could become violent. Well, it was better than good. In fact, it was probably better than 99% of the films I saw at FanTasia this year.

Weeks away from marriage and exhausted after a long day at work, Jung-Won falls asleep on the subway. He awakes disoriented, just in time to catch the last stop. He gets out of the train and sees that two children are sleeping on the train, as it pulls away for the night. The next morning, he learns that the two children were poisoned by their mother. He then starts to see them everywhere. He meets a sad-looking woman who suffers from narcolepsy that shares his visions. As their conversations become deeper and more introspective, they find that they share a tragic bond with one another. And that’s where I’ll end it because this film has more than one surprise in store for its unsuspecting audience.

This film is all about subtlety. The characters are all sensing something and the actors that portray them all underplay their performances. Nothing in this film is big, other than some rather shocking and brutal imagery involving children. This film takes its time in character development, perhaps a little too much time. This is my only beef with the film. It could have been shortened by a couple of minutes. But it is supposed to put you in a daze, to numb you, to put you in a dream state along with its characters. One of the most interesting aspects of this film is that you are never sure if what you are seeing is indeed real or a hallucination. Yeah, it’s been done ad nauseam, but never like this. It disorients you and, if you decide to let yourself go, you are in for the existential ride of your life! Don’t go see this film if you are expecting your heart rate to go up. There is horror in this film but a different kind that we are used to. There is deeply rooted psycological horror in this film. There is plenty of metaphysical and psychoanalytical horror. It reminded me of a line from “Magnolia”, “You may be done with the past, but the past isn’t through with you!” What if you had moments of your past that you didn’t know about? What if these moments were the basis of your personality? What if these moments were more awful and bone chilling than you could ever imagine?

I walked out of the screening absolutely numb. Some people I know hated the film and wanted to go home. You see, this is my favorite kind of film: the “either you love it or hate it” syndrome. Since I loved it and was messed up by it, I sure didn’t want to get in my car and risk getting into an accident! I needed to shake it off. A bunch of us decided to go out for a drink. Oh boy! I could sure use one right about now! So, I went out for a couple of beers with Concordia’s team of projectionists. A great bunch of people. I had an amazing time. We then went across the street to another bar. There, we met up with a bunch of FanTasia folks. More drinks were consumed and laughs were heard all around. 3 A.M. was nearing and I was getting tired, desperately craving a cigarette. The numbness I felt a few hours before was long gone. It was time for me to go. And then, the girl behind me threw up all over herself. That’s my cue!

All in all, I had a blast, partying with Fantasia’s “Wild Bunch”…
I’m not going to tell you who had the Ernest Borgnine part though…

Cut to credits.

Source: Dominic F. Marceau, Full Coverage Here