SEPTEMBER 17, 2012
I honestly don't know what to make of Fever Night (aka Band of Satanic Outsiders), which has an intriguing premise and could have been a really cool independent scary movie, but the filmmakers were more interested in being weird and attempting some David Lynch-style surrealistic take on that premise. Thus, someone like me, who doesn't get stoned before watching a movie (or after, or during...), really has no use for this thing.
To be fair, it's relatively well made, considering the low budget and drawn out shooting schedule that it had (per the IMDb trivia). The directors were seemingly inspired by Argento or something, as it seems the entire 3rd act is drenched with red filters, but they knew what they were doing (or their colorist did), so even with the unnatural color, the image doesn't bleed or anything like that. As anyone who's ever attempted to use a color filter can tell you, you really gotta know what you're doing to boost up a particular color without sacrificing the necessary contrast while keeping the other levels (in this case, blue and green) in check.
They also have intentionally fake looking FX shots, sort of like a lot of the driving scenes in Natural Born Killers (at least, I THINK they're intentionally "off" looking), which adds to the surreal nature while showing off the breadth of their imagination. Demonic half man/half animal things, purplish ghost faces in the sky, a car with a mind of its own - all of these things surface with some frequency, and since like half of the movie is without dialogue, you might as well just sit back and enjoy each image as it comes, rather than try to make any sense of it.
But again, that's not really my cup of tea. I liked the initial premise - three Satan worshiping 20-somethings head out into the woods to perform a ritual, only for one of them to end up seriously injured less than 10 minutes into the movie. The other two then have to figure out what to do in order to get her help, and that's where the movie takes off as they seemingly can't get very far and are menaced by hallucinations and real world threats. Sort of like a Blair Witch type thing, but, you know, completely incoherent.
And it's just too repetitive; one guy will have an experience, the other guy will show up, they'll argue or talk, then that 2nd guy will have his own little setpiece. Back and forth, back and forth, until one dies (or something) and the girl finally resurfaces. Then it's more of the same, but at this point I had more or less checked out and simply sat there looking at the weird images, occasionally nodding in admiration in between seeing how much time was left on the Netflix display. As the film goes on there is less and less dialogue, and since there was no traditional narrative to speak of, it became difficult to gauge where I was at in the "story" - was that death part of the climax, or a plot point to get us there? And does it matter either way?
But clearly these guys aren't interested in cookie cutter stuff, which is admirable in the modern horror market, overloaded with found footage movies and what seems like another wave of Exorcist wannabes. They're currently in post on their next film, an adventure that features Tom Sizemore, so color me intrigued. This may be one of the last movies I've seen this year that I'd ever want to revisit, but at least it was doing something new - like it or not I have to respect that.
What say you?