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SIFF 2011 Movie Reviews: Detention, Boy, The Whisperer in the Darkness

Three more movie reviews, but read fast, cause Detention and The Whisperer in the Darkness play for the last time tonight! Detention: If you want a high-octane, wicked fast and funny, whiplash dialog movie then this is the film to see! Students at a high school are tossed into turmoil when one of their own is murdered by a character from a popular horror movie, all of them wondering who will be struck next. This is the ultimate teenager/high-school horror flick, with a bizarre twist. Harkening to such films as The Breakfast Club, Heathers, Real Genius, and Scream this movie makes a mockery of them all and then some. The peculiar choice of the director is to move the film past the obvious horror parody and into the realm of mocking multiple genres, tropes, and culture. The movie is bursting at the seams with references to films, pop culture, and music, at a pace that is so dizzyingly fast that you probably need to see it several times just to catch them all. Personally I think it would have been more successful if it had reined itself in a bit more and dropped a few of the film and genre references as some of them quite simply do not serve either the film or the story as a whole and, in fact, detract from the perfection of the rest of it. That said, its an utterly hilarious and wild romp, with clever uses of text and fonts throughout, witty dialog, and excellent cinematography and editing used to capture that crazy and traumatic time and place that we call "high school". USA, 2011 (88 minutes) Director: Joseph Kahn Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke, Aaron David Johnson Festival Screenings 9:15 PM Sun, June 5 Egyptian

Boy: The trailer for this film would lead you to believe that it is silly and playful, with flights of fantasy and foolishness. And while it does embody these aspects, it's also a much more serious and at times sad film about what happens when a child's hero proves to be a disappointment. Eleven year old "Boy" lives with his aunt, his brother and five other children where he often is the eldest and most responsible member of the household, taking care of the cooking, cleaning, and feeding of the other children. His two heroes are his dad, who is absent for a myriad of possible reasons, and Michael Jackson. Everything changes, however, when his father suddenly returns. The reunion is exciting and joyous, but Boy quickly learns what happens when your childhood hero turns out to be nothing more than a flawed human being. Boy's daydreams, where his father and Michael Jackson become one, are probably one of my favorite parts of the film! But even when the story takes a turn for the serious, it is still a good film, balancing the playful nature of a parent connecting with his children and the struggle when the needs of each cannot be satisfied by the other. All of the performances are excellent, especially those of the children. Definitely a film worth seeing, just be prepared for some serious tones as well as cheerful ones. Make sure you sit through the credits for a hilarious extra and, if you're a complete-ist about such things, there is a tiny little extra right at the very end as well. New Zealand, 2010 (87 minutes) Director: Taika Waititi Cast: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone-Whitu Festival Screenings 4:30 PM Mon, June 6 Egyptian

The Whisperer in the Darkness: For those of you who saw and enjoyed The Call of Chuthulu (SIFF 2006), prepare yourself to be similarly dazzled and delighted by the second film of this talented team of filmmakers! Based on yet another work by H.P. Lovecraft, this time they give us a full-length feature done in the style of a 1930 horror/mystery film. A professor of folklore finds the original documents of a infamous writer of "folklore" depicting a strange and disturbing cult and creatures at the same time that massive flooding in Vermont brings to the surface reports of strange and unnatural remains. Invited to come and examine new and shocking evidence, the professor soon finds himself embroiled in the dastardly plans of monsters beyond human comprehension and the possible end of the world. Lovingly filmed in a film-noir style, this movie manages to beautifully capture the look, style, and performance of a period film. From the absolutely perfectly written musical score, to opening credits, to the spot-on performances of the actors, to the creative props, this film is a treat for the eyes and a charming and entertaining homage to the films and serials of the 1930s. USA, 2011 (103 minutes) Director: Sean Branney Cast: Stephen Blackeheart, Barry Lynch, Matt Lagan, Matt Foyer, Autumn Wendel Festival Screenings 9:00PM Sun, June 5 Neptune