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IFI Horrorthon 2016 Reviews - THE CHAMBER / DON'T KILL IT / EGOMANIAC

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






Reviews by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)


The Chamber

Scandinavian sensibility brushes up against American aggression in writer-director Ben Parker's claustrophobic debut. Confining the vast majority of the narrative to a single, cramped location - a tiny submarine vessel - Parker's spam in a can thriller has the feel of attending a play in an unconventional arena.

The pilot of the submarine is chilled out Swede Mats (Johannes Kuhnke), who finds his patience tested by the three mysterious American military types who commandeer his vessel for an expedition to retrieve a USB drive from a wreck at the bottom of the ocean. To complicate things, the wreck is located in waters controlled by North Korea.

Mats, repeatedly called 'Mat' by the Americans, finds himself in conflict with his passengers, whose string of gung-ho decisions lead to the sub becoming stranded at the bottom of the ocean. With only two life-saving suits on board, a tense standoff develops as to who gets to wear them.

Parker uses his limited stage to good effect, the claustrophobia adding to the increasing tension between the various players. The culture clash aspect adds a fresh element to a story we've seen before in various forms, and Kuhnke is such an affable presence it's difficult not to take his side. Ultimately, as the characters run out of oxygen, the film similarly begins to run out of steam, and through a series of contrivances, The Chamber's final act unwisely becomes its least tense.



Don't Kill It

Mike Mendez' horror actioner Don't Kill It proved an ideal choice for a late night screening at IFI Horrorthon, with the by then boozed up crowd rolling in the aisles at its combination of over the top violence and Dolph Lundgren's unique comic presence.

The Swedish monolith proves himself a surprise master of comic timing in the role of a demon hunter who arrives in a small Mississippi town ravaged by an unexplained series of killings.

In a clever twist that deserves further exploration in sequels, Don't Kill It's hook involves locals becoming possessed and embarking on a killing spree - trouble is, if you kill the possessed victim, the possession moves on to you!

Mendez uses this premise for a smart and hilarious critique of America's gun culture. With the film's small town Mississippi setting home to dozens of gun owners, the problem gets well out of hand, leading to a gloriously over-the-top massacre at a town hall meeting, with locals aged eight to 80 turning into crazed killers.

A franchise based around Lundgren's laconic, vaping demon hunter would be very welcome.



Egomaniac

The rough around the edges video aesthetic of Kate Shenton's Egomaniac initially proves distracting, but only for a few minutes, as we relax into the film's very British brand of black comedy.

Nic Lamont is stellar as struggling filmmaker Catherine, who finds herself making a series of increasingly ludicrous compromises in order to get her 'zombie comedy' made, from including a talking dog to casting Human Centipede 2 star Laurence R Harvey as a wildly inappropriate romantic lead.

Egomaniac comments on the frustrations many professional women suffer as Catherine attempts and fails to be judged on her talents rather than her gender. Catherine is clearly an alter-ego of Shenton herself, and there's a palpable sense of chemistry between the director and her leading lady, but I couldn't help feeling their talents may be better suited to a TV sitcom rather than further big screen outings.





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