Hot Springs Horror Film Festival 2018 Premiers

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BloodyBack and Gnaw Review:
These movies are from the Hot Springs Horror Film Festival. BloodyBack is a short horror film that just so happens to be my favorite. On a budget of just ten thousand dollars, it was by far the most visually impressive and well acted movie I saw.

First off, it takes a creative premise, good characters, and gives us just about the right amount of everything in the half an hour it has. The lead is a nice, flawed, and constantly developing character who was fantastic. The trio of survivors he meets are fantastic as well. The mother and her relationship with her daughter are obviously generic, but it’s played to pull at the heart strings and in the end it does. The Frenchman is about as cool as they come with his “never give up, never give in” attitude to the bitter end. He had the best moments and the best lines in the movie.

The plot is about what you’d expect, but that’s not a bad thing. The story is instantly engrossing and has a very thick Romero vibe to it and the engaging characters help even out it’s predictability. The last thing I want to mention are the effects. The cinematography was absolutely gorgeous and sweeping—easily the best at the festival and the Zombie effects truly amazed me for its small budget. That’s true proof you don’t need millions to visually dazzle. You can always make do with what you have.

Overall, it’s a swift but all the same, powerful story of survival that mixes history and horror to create a most effective, fun, and emotional short film. It’s 8.6/10 for me!

When it comes to Gnaw, it surprised with its cinematic level of quality and overall exciting execution. What I really liked was that, and this will come as a surprise to most, is they put character development before the horror.

If I can have a well developed and well acted lead to follow, I will accept a lack of scares any day and that exactly what happened here. Our lead has to deal with human problems in a world that won’t give her a chance. You become invested in her life and her failures begin to hurt you just as they hurt her, and when she wakes up and finds the bites you feel their impact.

The supporting cast all did a nice job but there were some lines of dialogue that felt a little too out of place. For an almost no budget film, I was still impressed with her chemistry with the cast and the cast overall.

The plot is a mixed bag. Again, I was surprised by the engaging story and the phenomenal finale, but the story was predictable and for its moments of creativity, didn’t pull that many punches. It’s execution was right where it needed to be though, so I guess it all evened out in the end.

Overall, the movie has a great set of characters with a great array of interactions and problems to get you sucked into the story. However, a lack of creativity and originality make this a more familiar tale than it should’ve been. 7.8/10

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