Nicolas and Luciano Onetti (director)
07 March 2020 (released)
15 March 2020
The anthology film has made a comeback recently with many filmmakers looking to take on what can be a challenging project. There’re the different tones within the stories and they can vary a lot in effectiveness. Also how to wrap them up into a whole which is what directors Nicolas and Luciano Onetti have done here as a few of these are short films that have been around and probably work better on their own rather than this rather crude ensemble.
In A Night of Horror - the Nightmare Radio tells the rest - after hours DJ Rod Wilson (James Wright) tells and invites his audience to tell him stories that will scare him and his listeners. Rod has the beard, hair and the fag and the settling tone of a late-night broadcaster if a bit on the arrogant side: you get the feeling that this is not the slot he wanted. As the tales are told he receives prank calls that wind him up. It’s a pretty good wraparound all told with a solid denouement.
Of the stories there are probably too many and the quality fluctuates. But there are a couple of humdingers.
The opener set in Australia of the 1900s has a mother and daughter with the unenviable job of preparing the dead for a photo - as was the custom. This with some clever photography and the cool hues make it very unnerving, and effective.
Set in the future when loved ones and family pretty much have control over prisoner and punishment, in this case amputations. With father and daughters watching the procedure the surgeons remove limbs and organs over a long period thus punishing and torturing the prisoner at the same time. It’s a clinical, disturbing tale that satirises penal reform and is more nuanced than it first appears and warrants a couple of views.
Being an international co-production between the New Zealand and Argentina everyone gets a shot. So from Argentina there’s the story of a dancer, her lover and something else lurking around that has her in constant pain. It’s a solid segment with good payoff.
As does the segment with a hunter who finds a dirt caked naked woman in the woods and then sets about pursuing her. This is creature feature with a monster that is also seeing something of a renaissance, and saying much more would give too much away.
Of the others, the short sharp, little girl baiting, balloon trail pure horror is not very substantial and could be seen as a filler if the film wasn’t already at capacity. The late-night sister’s story of sibling loyalty and protection with a lurking menace, is very nicely done with some effective use of perspectives.
The film overall is too long and the wraparound story feels clunky. Your best bet is to track down the shorts and watch them in their own space.
This film was presented at Glasgow FrightFest on 7 March.