Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Toronto After Dark Film Festival: Father's Day (2011)

This review is part of my coverage of the 2011 Toronto After Dark Film Festival, taking place October 20-27 at the Toronto Underground Cinema. For more information, check out their website. For my full coverage go here.

A one-eyed vigilante, a topless stripper with a chainsaw, a nearsighted cannibal rapist, incest, demonic possession, trips to both heaven and hell, a non sequitur commercial for low-budget sci-fi STAR RAIDERS, hallucinogenic berries; Father's Day- Canadian collective Astron-6's newest feature- seems to be an exercise in "Just how much fuckery can we pack into one movie?" When a string of ritualistic murder-dismemberments of fathers pop up around the city, young priest Father John Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy) tracks down maple syrup-obsessed hermit Ahab (Adam Brooks), a trained assassin who seeks vengeance against the known father-killer Chris Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock). They team up with Ahab's sister Chelsea (Amy Groening) and her paranoid friend Twink (Conor Sweeney) to take the Fuchman down, only to uncover a demonic conspiracy that's been around for centuries.

This is a pretty weird fucking movie, which I guess is why I was bound to like it. It starts off as a gross-out grindhouse throwback with sickening effects (and real pig intestines!) and a recognizable parody structure. But then it just takes this turn into wackiness, pretty much forgets the whole father-serial-killer-thing, and becomes all the better for it. The script is inventive and farcical, the dialogue is downright ridiculous, and the main cast looks like they're having a blast just hanging out being silly together. It looks pretty good too, with a grungy exploitation palette and some nice stop-motion towards the end. Best of all it has one of my favorite things- a gun-toting religious figure! I love it when priests/nuns are lured into sex and violence!

My biggest issue with Father's Day is that it tries to do too much, and as a result the tone is wildly uneven. Admittedly I'm really squeamish so this is a personal thing, but all the dad-rape cannibalism stuff in the beginning was just way too gross to be funny or interesting, and it doesn't fit with the rest of the film's more lighthearted and ludicrous atmosphere. They don't need shock value or gross-out scares for this movie to be entertaining, and I liked the other parts of it so much that I wish that aspect had been left out. On the whole it's very enjoyable and certainly memorable, but I can't all-out love a movie with so many moments during which I have to look away from the screen.

4/5

PS Dude, Lloyd Kaufman, keep the Star Raiders spot in the movie! It's hilarious!

PPS I have a longer and better written review of this movie at 366 Weird Movies! Hurray!

Pair This Movie With: This movie reminded me a little bit of Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, but it's much better. It'd go well with Rodriguez grindhouse throwbacks Planet Terror or Machete too.

Astron-6
Father's Day official site
Father's Day trailer

8 comments:

  1. Okay, your review almost makes me regret passing on this film...almost. How would you rate it in comparison to Hobo with a Shotgun? I get the sense from your review that Father's Day is closer to that film than some of the other grindhouse throwback films that have popped up recently.

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  2. Father's Day, judging by every other review that has come out of the festival (including my own), is 100 times better than Hobo in every way

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  3. This marks a first: I'm actually looking forward to a Troma release.

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