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IFI Horrorthon 2016 Reviews - ATTACK OF THE LEDERHOSEN ZOMBIES / LAKE BODOM / MY FATHER DIE

Three reviews from this year's Irish Film Institute Horrorthon.






Reviews by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)


Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies

This late in the game, is there anything new that can be brought to the zombie genre? Not on the evidence of director Dominik Hartl's Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies, by my rough estimation the 2,356th zom-comedy to arrive in the wake of 2004's Shaun of the Dead.

This one's set deep in the Austrian alps (blood always looks good against snow I guess) where a mini-zombie apocalypse is triggered by a Russian investor's exposure to mysterious green goo. Soon a ragtag bunch of snowboarding tourists and locals are defending themselves from the almost frozen dead.

As far as humour goes, Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies is far too light on laughs, and the zombie mayhem offers little in the way of the sort of creative 'splatstick' that makes or breaks this genre. Ultimately, the film's greatest asset is its mercifully brief running time of 78 minutes, which somehow manages to feel twice that length. Give this one a headshot and move on.



Lake Bodom

In 1960, three teens were murdered by an unknown assailant while camping in Finland's scenic Lake Bodom. The killer has still to be identified, and it's a continuing source of debate in Finland. In director Taneli Mustonen's Lake Bodom, the case is used as the backdrop for a post-modern slasher in the vein of Wes Craven's Scream.

Planning to restage the murders for a macabre photo op, high school jock Elias (Mikael Gabriel) and nerd Atte (Santeri Helinheimo Mantyla) convince a pair of girls, the religiously repressed Ida (Nelly Hirst-Gee) and the sassy Ida (Nelly Hirst-Gee), to accompany them for a night of camping at the titular scenic spot. Soon, they find themselves targeted by a mysterious killer, just like the original teens back in 1960.

Mustonen is a little too clever for his own good here. The first act does such a convincing job of fooling us into believing we're watching nothing more than another mediocre teen slasher flick, that by the time the pivotal second act twist arrives we've lost a lot of patience with the movie.

The twist is impressive - though if you examine the plot details closely it ultimately contradicts itself - but once it's revealed, Lake Bodom fails to find a way to move forward in an interesting manner, and the movie's third act returns to the sort of familiar mediocrity we began with.

To his credit, Mustonen gets great value for the film's relatively small budget here. It has all the gloss and sheen of a Hollywood production, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see the Finnish director cross the Atlantic in the near future.



My Father Die

A revenge thriller in the vein of Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin, My Father Die marks the directorial debut of actor Sean Brosnan, son of movie star Pierce.

Referencing sources as disparate as Rudy Giuliani and John Millington Synge, Brosnan's film sets out to mix the arthouse with the grindhouse, but it's at its best when it focusses on the latter and delivers a gritty and scuzzy seventies style redneck revenge romp.

Former British boxer Gary Stretch is an imposing presence as Ivan, released from prison after serving time for murdering one of his teenage sons. His surviving offspring, the mute Asher (Joe Anderson), decides not to wait for Daddy to arrive home and sets out to kill his father before he can wreak any more damage.

Brosnan adds a few too many unnecessarily distracting arthouse flourishes, with a voiceover that strives for the poetic but lands as pretentious, but when he reins himself in he displays a natural talent for crafting suspenseful and adrenalised set-pieces. My Father Die moves at a blistering pace, and Stretch's vengeful biker is as menacing a villain as you could want from a genre thriller like this.




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