Movie Reviews (Blood in the Snow Film Festival): Majic and Hunter’s Moon (both 2019)

November 25, 2019

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Imagine slowly beginning to find out that almost every major conspiracy theory for the past several decades was not only true, but somehow connected to the Roswell crashed flying saucer incident. This is the reality that debunker, skeptic, and video blogger Pippa Bernwood (Paula Brancati) is beginning to have to take into consideration in the Canadian science-fiction chiller Majic. Initially an atheist who believes nothing without concrete evidence, she finds her world turning upside down after meeting with elderly Anderson (Richard Fitzpatrick), who claims to have worked for a secret agency during the Cold War. Though the man seems confused and disoriented at times, he weaves a fascinating, complex tale that intrigues Bernwood enough to continue meeting him. The more she goes down the rabbit hole, the more her view of reality gets distorted and baffling. Director Erin Berry, who cowrote the screenplay with David Pluscauskas, weaves a gripping tale that should be enthusiastically welcomed by lovers of such fare as the original The Twilight Zone and The X-Files television series, with a little Kolchak: The Night Stalker vibe for good measure. The information is dense in the first act as Bernwood and Anderson trade in alleged truths and hard-nosed skepticism, but the fine performances from Brancati and Fitzpatrick keep these scenes and all others infinitely watchable. This highly recommended film builds to a climax that would make Rod Serling smile.

 

 

 

 

Director Matthew Campagna’s Hunter’s Moon, also a Canadian film, finds a group of people invited to a video game launch party — the game being one involving werewolves — fighting for their lives as gruesome killings begin. It seems that an actual lycanthrope has made its presence known during the festivities. Game developer Brian (Art Hindle of Black Christmas and The Brood) hopes for a smooth launch of his game while he schmoozes and boozes. Lead programmer August (Steven Morana) would rather be just about anywhere else, except for the fact that his online interest Cheyenne (Holly Deveaux of The Mist and Shadowhunters) has agreed to meet him there, bringing plenty of mystery and intrigue of her own. Lead and supporting characters are quickly introduced, and sometimes disappear almost as quickly. The setup by Campagna and cowriter Rudy Jahchan is creature feature combined with good old-fashioned whodunit mystery circa the 1930s, and some horror fans might get a The Beast Must Die vibe here. The acting ranges from quite good to a bit wooden at times, but overall the ensemble cast members acquit themselves quite well. The practical werewolf and gore effects are highly impressive, and the crew members behind this deserve high praise. Hunter’s Moon attempts to put a unique spin on classic werewolf horror, and does a commendable job of it. 

 

 

 

Majic and Hunter’s Moon both screen at Blood in the Snow Film Festival, which runs November 21–26, 2019, at the Royal Cinema in Toronto, Canada.

 

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