In Part One of our review of Fantasy FilmFest Nights, we look at four of the films on offer. Aleksandra watched Wolf Creek 2, In Fear, Rigor Mortis and The Returned at the Fantasy Filmfest Nights in Berlin on the 29th of March.
On Saturday I travelled around the world. With a bag full of nothing and a curious mind, I travelled to different cities, countries and continents in a single day. The 29th of March was marked by journeys to the Australian outback; a maze in Ireland; a grey apartment block in Japan; and a post-zombie Toronto.
Travelling can be liberating. A change of scenery can broaden a mind; set free; make happy; heal a broken heart; or just help forget, so one can start all over again. The possibilities to develop during a journey are endless, but before the journey finds it end, you cannot know what it will bring. So I sat in the seat of the Cinemaxx with the one single wish: to be able to survive the day and sleep in peace that night.
As the journey began, I found myself in the Australian outback watching a young German couple being hunted like animals (Wolf Creek 2). Their German is weak and at some points it makes me laugh, but I am more curious what will happen to them – will they survive? They become the prey of the famous serial killer and pig-shooter Mike Taylor. A killer who hunts pigs and people, and if he does not kill them, he keeps them in a cave-like basement somewhere in the Australian outback. It is not the quality or the plot of the movie that scared me, but that it is based on true stories. So I see people being hunted, tortured and murdered after being at the wrong time at the wrong place. As I leave the seat, I know I have learned my first lesson of the day: When you drive through the outback, you do not stop!
My next journey takes me to a new couple in Ireland that tries to reach a romantic hotel on their way to a musical festival. They end up getting lost in a maze, not being able to find the hotel (In Fear). Being trapped in the darkness of Irish fields, woods and bushes, they end-up being chased and drawn insane by the events that take place in the maze. The young couples two-week relationship is being tested at a way to early stage and they loose trust in each other before it could have developed. The only person they meet in this maze is a seemingly psychotic tormentor with an unknown motive. So I learn my second lesson of the day: When you get lost with someone, you might end up alone!
After seeing the Irish landscape in the dark, I am taken right into a grey apartment block in Japan (Rigor Mortis). The apartment block is a mystical place: A world with a dark and confusing mystery; where untouched children are being sacrificed; and cigarettes are filled with the ashes of the unborn. The apartment block is a place with a long history of exorcisms, death and murder. It is a place that makes the tenants bond as they seek each other’s support just before they have to let go again. The plot develops quickly and the scenes are fast with surprising effects on my mental state. As the supernatural chaos ends and the light turns on, I am happy that all was a dream.
My last journey of the day takes me to a post-zombie Toronto where the infected can live a normal life through a retroviral drug as long as they take it on a regular basis (The Returned). There is no cure for the infected yet, while medical practitioner Kate (Emily Hampshire) and the Returned Alex (Kris Holden-Reid) keep their relationship alive. Chaos develops in Toronto as Anti-Returned groups rise and claim that the protein stocks are running out. Through this the director Manuel Carballo – also present at the screening – allows me to witness a sweet love story in difficult times. However, the turmoil reaches a different level after a government order forces all the Returned to report to a secure medical facility. The couple decides to flee Toronto with their entire stock of proteins. While fleeing realist, the couple is overhauled by everything they tried to leave behind. In all possible ways they become victims of the current chaos, while trying so hard to keep their love alive. With a very unusual plot and no superficial cheesiness, I feel moved many times. While a race against the clock develops I find myself hoping for a happy end. As the movie and my day at Fantasy FilmFest Nights ends, I learn my final lesson: Even in times of horror, there is still a little bit of love.
I slept well that night.