BLOOD IN THE SNOW CANADIAN FILM FESTIVAL Friday through Sunday (November 28-30) at the Carlton Cinemas (20 Carlton). See schedule at bloodinthesnow.ca. Rating: NNNN
I’m writing this on an unseasonably warm November day, but hopefully a bitter winter chill will return by the time the Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival takes over the Carlton Cinemas for three nights of homegrown horror. Okay, not “hopefully,” but you know what I mean.
Audrey Cummings’s Berkshire County (Friday, November 28, 7 and 9:45 pm) is a home-invasion thriller in the vein of The Strangers/You’re Next, starring Alysa King as the latest young woman to discover that babysitting on Halloween is a really terrible gig. It’s a vicious and effective genre project, and Cummings and screenwriter Chris Gamble spend an admirable amount of time on character development.
Chris Alexander’s Queen Of Blood (Saturday, November 29, 4 pm) is a follow-up to the filmmaker’s 2012 debut Blood For Irina that finds the immortal Irina (Shauna Henry) feeding in the wheat fields of the Old West, where she crosses paths with a wild-eyed preacher (Skinny Puppy frontman Nivek Ogre). Part prequel, part sequel and full-on homage to the moody Euro horrors Alexander grew up watching, it’s perhaps a little less effective than its predecessor, but if you’re tuned in to the Mario Bava/Jean Rollin vibe, you’ll like what it’s doing.
Written by Pontypool’s Tony Burgess, Matt Wiele and Chad Archibald’s stripped-down sci-fi venture Ejecta (Saturday, 7 pm) crosscuts a found-footage horror movie with a tense psychological thriller, both focusing on a man (Julian Richings) who’s convinced he’s being controlled by an alien entity. Richings is great, and Pontypool’s Lisa Houle is nicely cast as his quietly sadistic antagonist.
Finally, I want to say nice things about Justin Decloux’s Teddy Bomb (Saturday, midnight), a goofy action-comedy about a doofus delivery boy (Christian Murdoch) chased around Toronto by balaclava-masked terrorists who want the cuddly time bomb he’s accidentally picked up. But despite some zippy Scott Pilgrim-style action, it’s far too long and awfully dopey. Toronto After Dark programmer Peter Kuplowsky makes a surprisingly charismatic villain, though – and it’ll probably play well with a midnight audience.
Beer Film Festival Three films – Strange Brew (Nov 30), Beerfest (Dec 7) and The World’s End (Dec 14) – plus three breweries, over three Sundays with samples before the show. $9.50 per screening. Rainbow Cinemas Market Square, 80 Front E. rainbowcinemas.ca. Nov 30 to Dec 14
Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival Showcase of contemporary horror filmmaking in Canada screens Massacre At Femur Creek, the BITS Short Film Showcase, Chris Alexander’s Queen Of Blood and more. $11, passes $30-$65. Carlton Cinema, 20 Carlton. bloodinthesnow.ca. Nov 28 to 30
Brazil Film Fest Brazilian cinema showcase features João Jardim’s biographical drama Getúlio, Pedro Asbeg’s documentary Black And White Democracy and more. $9-$14. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King W. brazilfilmfest.net. Nov 27 to 30
European Union Film Festival Contemporary films from many countries reflecting the excellence, innovation and diversity of European cinema. Free ($10 adv). Royal Cinema, 608 College. eutorontofilmfest.ca. To Nov 30
Toronto Serbian Film Festival Screening Joseph Sikorski’s Nikola Tesla: Tower To The People and films by Srdjan Koljevic, Arsen Dedic and others. See website for details. $16-$26, festival pass $75. Regent Theatre, 551 Mount Pleasant. 647-608-4111, facebook.com/TorontoSerbianFilmFest. Nov 27 to 30