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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

@fantasiafest Fantasia International Film Festival Reviewed! - The Man in the Orange Jacket, @cybernaturalmov!

By Adam Ruhl

The Man in the Orange Jacket



I was pretty excited for this one, not just because of its intriguing trailer but also because it’s the first movie I’ve ever seen from Latvia. For my fellow Americans, start at Russia and go west, if you hit the Baltic Sea you’ve gone too far. Was it any good? It is both beautiful and terrifying and grotesque. I have never before seen a film that so seamlessly blends great cinematography, suspense, and torture porn before.


A man loses his job when the boss lays off the workforce so he leaves work and heads over to the boss’ mansion. In the night he breaks in and using his tools, kills the boss and his wife. He hides the bodies in the basement and then decides to reward himself with a little holiday in the boss’ house. He wears his clothes, he watches his TV, he eats his food. It all seems perfect until he begins to hear noises and see strange people hanging out near the house.

Director Aik Karapetian does an incredible job with minimal cast and setting. The film has almost no dialogue and he manages to perfectly set the mood and build suspense with his scene construction. The film looks gorgeous with the grand old house lit in a way that is both eerie and inviting. There are several deaths in the film that are extremely graphic and they stand out in sharp contrast to the tense yet somber tone of the rest of the film. The Man in the Orange Jacket has a great mix of elements that kept me on the toes and I look forward to seeing more from this director. 




Cybernatural

This is an intriguing horror film with a questionable title (I think it’s a play on supernatural but that doesn’t really help matters).  That point aside, there’s a lot to like about this tale of ghostly revenge. It's very genuine and scary, with a wicked sense of humor. Consisting entirely of a Skype conversation between a group of friends, the teens are written very real and messed up in all the right ways.

The story follows Blaire, who is connected in a large chat with a group of her friends one night. It’s also the anniversary of girl they knew who was driven to suicide by an online video of her that was posted the year before. Now a strange visitor to their chat is claiming to be her and demanding to know who posted the video. Additionally if they try to leave or call for help their lives are in danger.


The premise feels a little gimmicky and done-before in horror films (one of the Paranormal Activity movies haunted over Skype) but brings it's own original spin. Cybernatural brings a lot of great teen angsty, gossipy dialogue to the story to keep it compelling. Because of the computer based storytelling; I think this would be best watched alone at night on a computer. Blaire’s multitasking serves up some great scares as we can see other things happening in the background while she’s focused on one particular application. It has the very creepy effect of making you feel like you’re part of the conversation which is a wholly unsettling experience.  

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