Blood in the Snow Review: ‘The Family’ is a worthy entry in the folk-horror genre

The Family

Religion and folk horror go together like peas and carrots. So much folk horror is about oppression and belief that religion is the most natural place to go. Dan Slater’s The Family, a new Canadian entry in the genre, explores how religions can be weaponized against someone and explore how much abuse people can take before their breaking point.

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Blood in the Snow Review: ‘The Chamber of Terror’ is proof you can’t make a good bad movie on purpose

Chamber of Terror

There is a fine art to making an excellent bad movie. The kind of movie that never gets a lot of mainstream play but is fodder for young film nerds (like myself) surfing late-night channels looking for some new shock to discover. The Chamber of Terror wants to be one of those films, and it doubles down on most of its reasoning for doing so. The problem is that you can’t make a good bad movie on purpose, which is what these filmmakers must have been trying to do.

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Blood in the Snow Review: ‘Peppergrass’ is a mixed bag

Peppergrass

In what has quickly become the go-to scenario for indie horror filmmakers, Peppergrass is set amid a pandemic. Characters wear masks, are wary of strangers, and lament the slow collapse of their societies. It’s hard to blame them; the last two years have provided ample inspiration. In this version, a restauranteur and a bar owner go on a road trip to the middle of nowhere on a mission to steal some priceless truffles, a plan that sounds simple enough but will, of course, go awry.

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Blood in the Snow Review: ‘Vicious Fun’ is Vicious and Fun

Vicious Fun

Of all the ingredients that go into the recipe of a good slasher movie, a compelling and menacing killer is the most important. Freddy Kruger, Jason, Michael Myers, Ghostface all have their own je ne sais quois. With b-movies, you need a premise that will hook the audience early and keep them invested. With Vicious Fun, director Cody Calahan drops an 80s kid into a room with half a dozen archetypal killers having a support group meeting.

I’d say that qualifies as both.

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Blood in the Snow Review: ‘Motherly’ works as a cat and mouse thriller, despite a predictable ending

MOTHERLY

Kate and her daughter are in hiding. They live in a farmhouse, far from anyone and everyone, but mainly from Beth’s father, who was recently arrested for the murder of one of Beth’s young friends. They’re in the witness protection program, and while Kate is happy to be away, Beth is buckling under the weight of all the downtime.

One night, their past comes calling in the form of a home invasion. The cat and mouse game that ensues is mostly good, except that you will see the ending coming from a mile away.

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Heads Up: The 2021 Blood in the Snow Festival starts today!

2021 BitS Festival_Header

Good news, everyone! The 2021 Blood in the Snow Festival is happening once again. This Canadian festival of horror and genre films is taking place in two ways this year.

First up, from today (October 29th) to Sunday (October 31st), you can watch films on SuperChannel in Canada. Then, from November 18th to 23rd, there will be screenings in person at Toronto’s Royal Theatre.

You can follow along with all of our coverage using the BitS 2021 tag here on the site. In addition, we’ve already seen a few of the films at past festivals, so reviews are already there for you to read!

For full details on the line-up or to purchase tickets to the in-person screenings, check out the Blood in the Snow Website.

2021 Blood in the Snow

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VIFF ’21 Review: ‘Tin Can’ is a great example of doing a lot with limited resources

Tin Can

In the not too distant future, a global outbreak of a parasitic fungus is devastating humankind. Not content to merely kill you, it latches onto your body, sprouts growths and spores, and changes you into something else entirely. This is the world of Tin Can, one that is in many ways not unlike our own: a world with a raging pandemic, with some people who want to solve the problem and some content merely to avoid it.

As ever, the cinema of the age of COVID-19 speculates what a world might look like under similar circumstances to ours, and Tin Can takes a look at one of those dark futures.

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Fantasia ’21 Interview: Sera-Lys McArthur on her films ‘Kwêskosîw’ & ‘Don’t Say Its Name’

Sera-Lys McArthur

2021 is turning out to be a big year for Sera-Lys McArthur. The alum of series such as Arctic Air and Burden of Truth is starring in two films at Fantasia Fest this year, a short (which she also produced) called Kwêskosîw (She Whistles) and the feature film Don’t Say Its Name, a horror film which had its world premiere this week at the festival.

I sat down with Sera-Lys on zoom this week to discuss both films and the state of indigenous filmmaking in Canada. I hope you enjoy it.

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Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘Don’t Say Its Name’ lacks scares, but has two compelling lead performances

Don't Say Its Name

It begins with a hit and run. A young woman walking home alone at night, on the phone with her mother, is run down by a pickup truck. It growls like a wild animal as it races toward her, and it ends her life viciously. This is the opening scene to Don’t Say Its Name, the new film by director Rueben Martell, and the beginning of a story of blood and vengeance on a first nations reserve.

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Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘The Righteous’ brings together faith, guilt, and excellent performances

The Righteous

Grief and guilt are often intertwined but not necessarily in the ways we expect. In The Righteous, the first feature from Canadian actor and now writer and director Mark O’Brien, guilt is met with a crisis of faith, and the results are dire.

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I made a list of film festivals

Film Festivals

He friends, I made a thing. I made a list of upcoming film festivals for my own reference, and I figured that others might find it useful, too. I know there are ways to find this info, but I like having it all in one big list, and I figure I can’t be the only one. 

This list is by no means exhaustive; it’s just the festivals that are presently on my radar. If you were wondering: yes, there are way too many for anyone to attend them all. If you know of a festival that I don’t have here, please feel free to shoot me an email or @ me on Twitter.

The list is presented in chronological order. Expected dates are present whenever they’re not available, and those dates are my guesses. I will do my best to keep this up to date on a monthly-ish basis. 

You can find the list here. I hope you find it useful.

-Matthew

Blood in the Snow Inteview: Amelia Moses on her film Bloodthirsty

Amelia Moses / Bloodthirsty

Amelia Moses has had a breakout year, with not one but two feature film releases: Bleed With Me, a psychological horror film which screened at Fantasia Festival this past summer, and now Bloodthirsty, a werewolf movie with more than a few twists and turns. Both films are screening as part of the 2020 Blood in the Snow Festival.

I was able to sit down with Amelia on Zoom for the second time to talk about her new film.

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Blood in the Snow Review: ‘Come True’ doesn’t stick the landing, but it’s a leap worth taking

Come True

Imagine being so afraid to sleep that you can’t even stay in your own home. This is Sarah at the start of Come True; she wakes up in a sleeping bag on a playground in the films first scene.

Sarah is terrified, and rightly so. Her dreams are long, slow, camera movements through caves and hallways, past mountains and surreal sculptures, and they all inevitably lead to a dark figure with glowing white eyes.

Frustrated and terrified, she eventually joins a sleep study to figure out what is going on. However, this is where things take a slight twist; we soon find out that the scientists conducting the study are not only studying dreams; they have the technology to see them.

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Blood in the Snow Review: ‘Parallel Minds’ looks at our near future through an indigenous lens

Parallel Minds

We all know that artificial intelligence is going to be a large part of our future. What we don’t know is how AI is going to treat us, its creators. Will it be benevolent, or will it turn on us? There’s a compelling case to be made for the latter, given how we treat our world and our tech.

Parallel Minds takes place in the near future, where a pair of scientists have created a revolutionary, AI-powered contact lens that allows people to re-live their memories. Things seem promising right up until the lead scientist is killed under mysterious circumstances. This is when the gruff detective with a checkered past arrives to solve the case and takes on the junior scientist as his partner for the case.

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