Director(s) – Corey Norman, Jenny Anastasoff, Jason M. Bosch, Ranin Brown, Barry Dodd, and Tom Wyatt
Release Date – 2014
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – The way life should bleed”
Film festivals are a great way for indie directors to share all the fruits of their labor and dedication with other like-minded individuals. However, most festival have become too mainstream where only big budgeted “indie” flicks are catered to the crowds who are able to fork out some serious cash to attend.
One film festival that stays true to filmmakers and fans alike is Damnationland. Last year I became acquainted with Maine-based director Corey Norman and not long after that I discovered Damnationland. Later in the year Corey informed me that Damnationland has compiled a DVD of this year’s films and asked if I wanted to review it. The answer is hell yeah!
**Spoiler Alert**The compilation features several shorts held together by a series of 1 minute clips featuring various smiling murderers and serial killers. One of the shorts, Drive’s Seat, follows a young woman who finds a vehicle accident and stops to check on the driver. There she finds a wounded man wielding a gun who orders her to drive for him but when she learns he has a large some of cash in her trunk the tides change.
Another story, Sui Generis, follows a young woman who wakes up in bed but believes she has been kidnapped. She calls the police, who in turn, calls her “husband” to come get her. She thinks she is someone else but is she right or is something far more sinister afoot? The third story, Dark, is a dark thriller that follows a young man as he battles his demons and the darkness he hides inside. The fourth short, On A Country Road, follows a taxi driver who picks up an older lady at night and soon discovers than a brutal murderer has escaped captivity and is stalking motorists on a lonely stretch of road.
The fifth short, Tickle, follows a babysitter who tells a small boy a tale about a troll that tickles feet that have been left out of the covers. However, something far worse happens to those little piggies. The sixth short, Anima Sola, which is another dark thriller for follows a man trapped in his own inner hell. **Spoiler Alert**
Damnationland 2014 is a collection of films that I knew nothing about nor did did I know what to expect from them. I had seen Corey’s contribution titled Tickle and I absolutely loved it. It was a solid little creature feature that deserves the feature length treatment. I was afraid that the other shorts would not be on the same level as Tickle but I was still excited to see it.
The shorts all have an amazing cast. They all show their dedication to their roles and most demonstrate some serious talent and experience.
The stories for these shorts are hit and miss. The collection of psychopaths are all the same stories but in different scenarios. That does not make them all bad shorts because they are not. They are all funny and charming in their own way, they just don’t offer up anything new. Driver’s Seat was a decent short that was very entertaining but something that has been seen before in various action films.
Sui Generis is another story that we had seen before and is very cliched and predictable. Once you realize where the story is going it becomes bland and boring. Dark is another story that is slow and hard to follow. It does not pull the viewer in like the other shorts. On a Country Road is another solid short that does not offer up any real horror but it does have some great suspense and amazing atmosphere. Tickle, which was reviewed in full before, is the highlight of the compilation. It is a solid creature feature that gives us a morbid take on a childhood tale.
Anima Sola is the weak point of the collection. The story is hard to follow and does not hold the viewer’s attention at all. The story tries to go above and beyond their limits and it shows.
Finally, the films does have some on screen kills but nothing noteworthy or graphic for the horror fan. The bloodiest of these stories in the segment Tickle. However, they all have some impressive practical effects where the collection of psychopaths and Tickle once again steal the show. Overall, Damnationland 2014 is a fun little collection of shorts that offers a little something for every body. Some of the stories are outstanding while others are weak. It is definitely worth checking out.