By Andrew Buckner
****1/2 out of *****.
Child Eater (2016) is a terrific, no-holds-barred creature feature that will reaffirm your youthful fear of the dark. Backed by Erlingur Thoroddsen’s masterfully paced writing and mood-laced direction, the plot of this Icelandic-American photoplay, an adaptation of Thoroddsen’s short film from 2012 of the same name, centers around Helen Connolly (in a brilliant depiction from Cait Bliss). She has been handed the job of babysitting Lucas Parker (in a wonderful enactment from Colin Critchley). But, soon this simple task turns into a nightmare. This is as Connolly finds out that Parker’s closet harbors an evil mythological entity. He is one who has an affinity for gouging out eyeballs as well as devouring the young.
Thoroddsen turns what sounds like a conventional genre storyline into a refreshingly unique, intense and beautifully made eighty-two minute presentation. The performances, especially Jason Martin as Robert Bowery and James Wilcox as Sheriff Connolly, are exceptional all around. John Wakayama-Carey’s cinematography is lush and ominous. Einar Sv. Tryggvason’s music is as haunting as the scenes they punctuate. Jonty Pressinger’s visual effects are marvelous. Best of all, Thoroddsen keeps the beast at the heart of this tale in the shadows for most of the runtime. This is with only the briefest glimpses of the fiend dominating the affair. It is a time-tested method for these types of motion pictures. With Thoroddsen’s full-length debut, it is again proven wildly effective. The same sentiment can be attached to this Wheelhouse Creative Production Company release as a whole. Thoroddsen starts off on an atmospherically nail-biting angle. From herein, he only accelerates the suspense. This is especially punctuated by the many imaginative kill scenes herein. Such transpires until the startlingly memorable climax.
(Unrated). Contains graphic violence.
Child Eater is currently screening in film festivals. It can also be seen on video on demand.
****1/2 out of *****.
Endlessly atmospheric, taut and uncompromisingly well-made, The Void (2016), from the writing and directing team of Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, will assuredly go down as one of the year’s best horror films. Gillespie and Kostanski evoke a surreal, visceral experience. It is one that owes as much to the blood-soaked genre efforts of the 1980’s as it does the American author H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937). The jaw-dropping special effects from Stefano Beninati, as well as the dozen individuals who constitute the visual department of this arena, carry on both of these attributes wonderfully. Samy Inayeh’s cinematography, Aaron Poole’s lead performance as Daniel Carter and the hypnotic soundtrack make this tale all the more impactful. The plot itself, which involves a group of hooded figures gathering around a hospital after the arrival of a patient signifies increasing violence in the building, is undeniably intriguing. It is made all the more so in the breakneck, yet confident and novel-like, manner in which Gillespie and Kostanski allow the unpredictable events of their chronicle to unfold. The influences from John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and the work of George Romero certainly add to the nostalgia-laden fun of the piece. This is even more amplified as the fantastically gothic final fifteen minutes definitely resonate a heavy Clive Barker feel. Though the characters themselves are a bit archetypal, the rest of this ninety-minute endeavor is so strong that you will have no problem looking past such comparatively minor faults.
(Unrated). Contains graphic violence and adult language.
Production Companies: Cave Painting Pictures and Jo Bro Productions Film Finance.
The Void is showing in select theaters and on video on demand.