Toronto After Dark Spotlight: Bad Milo & V/H/S/2

With all the commotion surrounding TIFF this time of year, you may have missed another special movie premiere opportunity, featured by the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.

The festival programmers and organizers have planned two “Spotlight” double features to precede the main festival held in October, featuring films that will be released in the next couple months. The first of which was last Thursday, August 29th, and offered for our viewing pleasure Bad Milo and V/H/S/2. First up:

BadMiloSo, the premise might turn most people off. Duncan is a stressed out office worker with GI issues, which turn out to actually be a demon that is hell-bent on getting revenge on those who offend or upset him. Oh yes, and it does so by coming out of his butt.

Okay, okay. So it sounds like an entire movie based on potty humour, which is mostly it. Although the casting is amazing, including; Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Patrick Warburton, Peter Stormare (who was particularly good) & Stephen Root, I can’t help but feel like the comedy only hit the mark about 50% of the time. The violence was violent, the evil puppet monster was also adorable, and the film was reaching for a deeper meaning, but I don’t think it landed.

From the few interviews I’ve read, writer/director Jacob Vaughn keeps his answers pretty consistent on the how’s and why’s of making Bad Milo, I’d suggest checking out Way Too Indie’s interview of him, and this fantastic video interview from SXSW via The Macguffin that includes Gillian Jacobs. Ken Marino talks about Milo, on Facebook.

 
As for V/H/S/2 – Sadly, within the first 10 minutes I had to leave the theatre. I am extremely sensitive to a very specific kind of Motion Sickness. I call it “Shakey-Cam”, but basically it’s anything filmed from first-person perspective. Unlucky for me, the entire premise behind V/H/S/2 is personal footage, for each segment. However, I brought with me my trusty Film Festival Sidekick, and all-around movie expert (seriously, she studied this stuff in University), Allison. Also, it so happens that she saw the original V/H/S.
Here’s what she had to say:
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“While many critics are calling V/H/S/2 superior to its surprise-hit predecessor, it never really gets of the ground and delivers the shocks one expects. The camerawork is shakier, and that certainly doesn’t help, especially in the obligatory zombie segment directed by Eduardo Sanchez, the man who memorably turned cinemas into vomitoriums with The Blair Witch Project. [“Proud to be counted among the afflicted, but I did make it to a washroom!” -Chantelle]

V/H/S/2 gets off to a fair enough start, with the first tape holding an intriguing premise – what if your high-tech eye implant allows you to see beyond the physical world? However, weak acting and a few plot holes derail things. The only tape that really delivers chills, gore and a heavy dose of WTF? is the segment which takes place as a documentary crew films a cult leader in his compound. The documentary conceit makes for steadier camerawork and the film does well to pace the ever-increasing weirdness of the threatening compound. If you’re willing to take the downright silly with the truly terrifying, V/H/S/2, might be worth your while.”

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Here’s hoping that the next two films in the Spotlight Series, showing Thursday September 25th, garner better favour. Sci-Fi Thriller Europa Report and Dark Comedy The Dirties. I’m actually very much looking forward to them both!

Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs October 17th-25th.

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