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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Fantasy Film Festival Part III

I SEE YOU
Adam Randall, USA
Cycling home through the woods one day, a boy mysteriously goes missing. A small town detective (Joe Tenney) has been tasked with the job of investigating, but as he progresses towards the truth, mysterious events begin to plague his family. Is this the result of a malicious killer haunting their every move or is there something more supernatural occurring? This question is at the fore of this puzzle-box thriller that keeps audiences on their toes until the very end.
I SEE YOU is an onion of a film, slowly peeling back the layers revealing more and more as events continue to unfold. Unfortunately, screenwriter Devon Graye and director Adam Randall both rely too much on the thrill of the twists, instead of remembering that it is important to leave clues for the audience to follow along the way. The plot is impossible to predict, but this is the result of the lack of slow reveals, not because of its overall complexity. With the addition of some overdone horror tropes (such as characters with the superhero-like ability to recover from grievous injuries) I SEE YOU fails to become a top-notch thriller and ultimately disappoints. (RF)

SOMETHING ELSE (After Midnight)
Jeremy Gardner, Christian Stella, USA
Ever since his girlfriend Abby (Brea Grant) left, something has been stalking Hank (Jeremy Gardner) at night. He lives alone in an old run-down farmhouse, drinking his days away. Is he slowly losing his mind from pickling his brain with alcohol, like his friends suspect? Or is there really something attacking his home in the night? Could it maybe be that Abby has become a werewolf and is trying to kill him? At times, Hank himself isn’t too sure of the real answer.
Slow and meandering, SOMETHING ELSE isn’t a typical monster horror film, spending more screen time focusing on the fallout the breakup has on Hank’s character, than on the scary creature in the dark. The monster seems at times more of a representation of his own demons than any real threat, even as it tears up his front porch and his cat disappears. There are moments of real emotional depth here, which can be rare in a genre full of cheap thrills, but unfortunately the film begins to falter near the end when it ventures more towards straight-up romantic-comedy horror fare than sticking to its guns. Also, it should be noted that the characterization of Abby is an underwhelming grouping of clichés. She is part manic-pixie-dream girl (particularly in early flashbacks) and part desperate-thirty-something-despairing of ever getting a ring, a house, and a baby. It is no wonder the film flounders whenever it focuses too heavily on Abby, because she is a static character, used merely to give a reason for the emotional suffering of the protagonist.
The conclusion is sufficiently fun and ridiculous to sustain the goodwill of most audiences. But, it is an unsatisfactory ending of the deeper examinations of Hank’s character the film attempted in the first half. SOMETHING ELSE is a bit of a mixed bag, but there is enough meat there to make it a worthwhile watch and to keep an eye on Jeremy Gardner’s future outings. (RF)

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