Fantasia Fest 2015: Anguish (2015)

The wake up call hits when its a week ago that I went to go see the world premiere of this horror film called Anguish. This one had a trailer that creeped me out so much I pretty much didn’t finish watching it and stood waiting for the movie to start so early that I had time to get all nervous about how scary it might actually be.  I’m sure amping up my expectations on something I essentially knew nothing about wasn’t a great idea but you know what, so far in the two years of Fantasia, I’ve made some pretty good choices especially in smaller films so I’m pretty excited.  In an afterthought, my suggestion is to NOT watch the trailer 😉 However, mine will be a spoiler-free review and I’ll keep it relatively short to not go into too many details so here we go!

Anguish (2015)

World Premiere

Anguish

No poster so here’s from the director Sonny Mallhi hosting the world premiere of his movie, Anguish

Director/Writer: Sonny Mallhi

Cast: Ryan Simpkins, Annika Marks, Karina Logue, Amberley Gridley

Sixteen-year-old Tess (an astoundingly powerful Ryan Simpkins) may be young in age, but she’s already had several lifetimes worth of psychological distress, beginning randomly when she was found banging her head into a wall at the age of five. Through the years, her mother has tried everything, every specialist, every alternative treatment, to bring her into balance. The closest thing to a proper diagnosis that doctors have been able to assign to her mental condition is an identity disorder, and in a sense, that’s not incorrect. Tess’s identity is horrifically disordered — because it’s being encroached upon by spirits of the dead. – Fantasia

Before we start the review, what you should know is that Anguish is inspired by true events of people suffering with unexplained psychological disorders (or that’s the idea of it if I remember correctly).  They clarify it more in the beginning of the movie.  Regardless, that’s a good point to remember as you watch it.

Anguish

Anguish is the directorial debut for Sonny Mallhi who is the producer and/or writer of a good few films that we all know ranging from The Lake House to The Roommate to the much more well received The Strangers.  Last year, I almost went to see another movie he produced at Fantasia called At the Devil’s Door.  I’ll probably give that a watch for the Halloween marathon later this year.   He definitely has a knack for horror and in Anguish, he succeeds at writing and directing a very atmospheric spirit possession movie.  However, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I blame part of my lack of fright because the trailer reveals a lot of the scares to expect in the first act.  They are still quite creepy and will give you that chill down your spine regardless.  For those who go in with less knowledge, this one will give you plenty of scares.  The scares build from utilizing his background sounds and knowing when to isolate sounds in that environment and using an ambient soundtrack that creates the mood the audience needs to be in.  The story premise itself is also pretty good.  It does sometimes feel a little predictable with reminisces of Insidious (for one example).

Anguish

The setting that they choose for Anguish is also very good with lots of nature and contrasts of the city scene.  It gives space for the change in scene and mood that’s well needed for the story.  Some shots are done so well that they captured in my memory quite a bit.  However, Anguish focuses very much on women because we look at two parallels in mother-daughter relationship and the ties they  have.  It pulls in a good level of drama and struggle and successfully allowing us time in the well-paced story to bond with sixteen year old Tess.  While we’re talking about Tess, she is such a central character and Ryan Simpkins does a great job of capturing Tess and making us wonder about her mental disorder and how much it has to do with this being haunted business.

Anguish is a little movie that deserves a lot of attention.  While it may suffer mildly from predictability, it does a great job at building the perfect creepy and chilling atmosphere blending it with a suiting sounds that will make you jump up from your seat with some of the scares.  You will feel anguished and dread what will happen one scene after another.  Not quite as much about jump scares as it is about making this a psychological journey in the horrific world that Tess gets dragged into. There’s something pretty awesome about Anguish and its worth a watch! 🙂

Have you heard of Anguish? Are you a fan of some of the movies that Sonny Mallhi has produced and/or wrote?

Fantasia Film Festival Line-up! :)

It’s the time of year again! Fantasia Film Festival hits Montreal starting the coming Tuesday (July 14th)!

After waiting for the site to get updated and the schedule to go up on Tuesday, I sat down for 2 hours looking at trailers, reading descriptions, seeing what fit in my schedule.  It sure took longer than I expected.  But then, last year probably took the same amount of time.  With work rush in the way, I have to make some choices that I didn’t really want to.  Some movies I wanted to see only  had time slots where I couldn’t go or it clashed with something I wanted to see more.

One movie, I did end up not choosing (because the chances of me getting tickets were also slim) was advanced screening of Ant-Man.  I’ll still go check it out in theatres if its still around after the festival but its okay.  There are a lot of great choices and some amazing hosts for certain movies.  With that said, I was a little nervous that I couldn’t get tickets for some of the movies.  Here is what the final line-up is!

Just a note: I don’t have particular preferences but I do usually go for less dramas and romance and more horror and thrillers.  I always choose one Hong Kong (China) production and try to dive into Canadian movies also.  Other ones, I try to keep an eye out for is Quebec production and animations that peak my interest but not necessarily included.

July 15

Kung Fu Killer (Quebec Premiere)

The Hallow (Canadian Premiere)

July 17

Cooties (Canadian Premiere)

July 19

We Are Still Here (Canadian Premiere)

Observance (World Premiere)

July 21

Anguish (World Premiere)

July 24

Tales of Halloween (World Premiere)

July 28

Cop Car (Canadian Premiere)

July 29

Bite (World Premiere)

July 30

Antisocial 2 (World Premiere)

Dark Places

That’s the line-up for now! 🙂 11 movies! That’s the same as last year.  I’m pretty happy that I managed to get all of what I wanted even though I hesitated a little during ticket checkout for Tales of Halloween and Antisocial 2. Those are kind of my wild card right there but after looking at the San Diego Comic Con trailer for Tales of Halloween.  It does make me a good bit more optimistic.  I haven’t ever dived into the world of horror anthology movies so this will be a fresh experience.  As for Antisocial 2, my review for Antisocial will go up some time next week, tell me that it doesn’t give you a creeping feeling of Resident Evil BUT I’m a huge fan of Resident Evil, seeing as its my guilty pleasure and all, that I’m willing to give this one a chance.

This year, the fiance is coming with me to see the Sunday two movies back to back night with We Are Still Here and Observance. And one of my good friends are going with me to see Cop Car.  I always love company in these things since everyone else seems to have company.  Not that I mind too much since I’m usually pretty hyped up about these events.

 

Moving along, there were a few movies I couldn’t see because of time constraints but these two were the ones that I felt like I will miss out the most:

Cruel

Cub

While there are movies that I considered and the trailers were rather intriguing but upon a second look at the trailers and discussing with my fiance for weekend showings, we decided to not choose those.  Whatever the reason, I do only have a certain budget so sadly, among a pool of potentially good movies, I had to make choices and hope that it would work out for the better. However, please take a look.  Maybe you can shed some light on some of these that I wasn’t aware of and I’ll add it to my viewing list.

Ludo (India)

Synchronicity (USA)

Momentum (South Africa)

Cherry Tree (Ireland)

Synopsis- via Fantasia Festival

Traders (Ireland) 

Synopsis – via Fantasia Festival

And there you go! My final line-up, potential candidates that didn’t make it (but your opinion and suggestions may change that) and movies that had scheduling conflicts.  As for one of the movies, I actually chose because I wanted to see it and then work my schedule around it.  But then, I really hope I’m sacrificing for the right movie… Either way, I need to be confident in what I’ve chosen. I really do like the looks of it all.  I think I’ll need to round up a ton of comedies to ease the amount of horrors sitting in this list.  If you had to choose one horror to get creeped out of, Anguish gave me chills and the first time, I didn’t even finish the trailer on my own.  My fiance claims I’ll stay up all night.  Lets hope that won’t happen. As for hosts, Tales of Halloween will have a ton including Neil Marshall.  I’d lie if I didn’t choose to see that movie because I wanted to see what he had to say about it. Then there’s Cop Car where Kevin Bacon will host along with the director.  Just a little highlight from what I can remember.

Yay! Festival season! 🙂 Its a huge reason why I feel so lucky to be living in Montreal!

Anyone going to be here for the Fantasia Festival? What are you seeing? Anything catch your eye out of this selection? What peaks your interest from this list?