Fantasia IFF 2017 Part 4: Fashionista, The Night Watchmen, Tragedy Girls

Adam RuhlFilm FestivalLeave a Comment

 

Fashionista 

April (Amanda Fuller) is fashion obsessed. She owns a second hand clothing store with her husband (Ethan Embry) and lives in an apartment surrounded by clothes piled to the ceiling. They dream of starting a chain of stores but that comes crashing down when she catches him in their bed with one of their employees. She kicks him out and then takes up with this rich man (Eric Balfour) who proceeds to treat her like a pet. From then on the editing gets way non-linear and the plot gets a whole lot darker.

On the one hand this is definitely an exercise in style over substance; chauvinistic, indulgent, and full of forced significance. On the other hand, it is an oddly fascinating film to watch. It’s a compelling journey that April goes on; a strange sort of Wonderland where the Mad Hatter is a cheating husband and the Cheshire Cat is some crude playboy. At first, I had the distinct sense Fashionista would be ‘nice, but not for me’ however, its unusual point of view, bright palette, and high energy soundtrack soon had my attention in spite of myself. Give it a shot, if you can get past the self-importance that almost lapses into parody, there is a lot to experience in Fashionista.

 

The Night Watchmen 

A famous Baltimore clown dies while touring overseas in Romania. They ship his body home but it gets sent to the wrong location; ending up in a warehouse watched by a group of bumbling night watchmen. The clown comes back to life as a vampire who starts biting all the workers. Soon the watchmen are fighting vampires and trying to escape.

Virtually every vampire cliché and horror comedy trope of the last thirty years makes an appearance here. Characters exist as little more than punchlines to be picked off one at a time. Finally, it just devolves into a single fart joke repeated over and over. If you dig the clown vampire gimmick or see EVERYTHING with vampires, this film might be for you. Everyone else can give The Night Watchmen a miss.

 

Tragedy girls 

Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) are just your typical murder-obsessed high school seniors who want to be famous for covering psycho murderers on social media. It’s hard to get attention and even the local mass murderer is underwhelming so the pair decide to generate their own news by taking care of some of their more annoying classmates. However, they may not be as clever as they thought they were and while enjoying their new fame they might have forgot a couple important details.

Twisted, gory, and uproariously funny, Tragedy Girls will have you rooting for the villains. It plays like ‘Scream’ might have in the real world; with things not always going to plan and they have to improvise a lot. Brianna and Alexandra lead an awesome cast that is surprisingly heavily peppered with actors from X-Men and Hunger Games movies. Director Tyler MacIntyre has clearly made a careful study of post-modern horror. He takes a premise that is becoming too familiar and makes it feel fresh, funny, and full of surprises. There are a metric ton of subtle nods to horror and teenage angst movies, see if you can find them all.

Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.
Adam RuhlFantasia IFF 2017 Part 4: Fashionista, The Night Watchmen, Tragedy Girls