Load & Play

Kate Lyn Sheil in Green Kate Lyn Sheil in Green

Green
Factory 25 – out now
A provocative drama about sexual power play and female jealousy, Sophia Takal’s Green is one of 2011’s most arresting independent debuts. Boasting lush 5D cinematography and stellar performances, the eerie Green depicts a bookish couple — he (Lawrence Michael Levine) is writing a blog on organic gardening while she (Kate Lyn Sheil) reads Bataille — whose erotic relationship is upended when they befriend a comically outgoing but emotionally needy neighbor (Takal). With its disquieting sound design and escalating atmosphere of dread, Green seems poised to burst into full-on erotic thriller mode during much of its trim running time. But the real jolts are subtle ones that explode in your mind later as you ruminate on Green‘s astute, yet troubling meditations on fantasy, female friendship and the ways those two can unfortunately collide. Based on the film, Filmmaker selected Takal as one of our 2011 “25 New Faces.” – Scott Macaulay

The Oregonian
Factory 25 – October
Defying genre convention is always a slippery slope, especially for a first-time director, but lauded short filmmaker-turned-feature director Calvin Lee Reeder’s The Oregonian takes the tropes of arthouse mysteries and schlocky horror and delicately turns them on their head. Its relatively thin, nearly incomprehensible story gives way to a cinematic experience of great feeling; the dread Reeder conjures, in his story of a bloodied, amnesiac heroine without a name (an adventurous Lindsay Pulsipher) who awakens in the middle of a forest in a wrecked car, is palpable and hard to shake. – Brandon Harris

V/H/S
Magnolia Pictures – December 4
Through six found-footage-style shorts, each by different directors, V/H/S captures many of the classic horror tropes while avoiding feeling stale and formulaic. Adam Wingard’s Tape 56, which sees a group of guys break into a dilapidated house to find a particular VHS tape, serves as a framing narrative in which the other five chapters of the anthology unfold. From the visceral scares of David Bruckner’s Amateur Night to the slow-broiling tension of Ti West’s Second Honeymoon, these shorts cover a multitude of tones and genres (from slasher to haunted house) while maintaining a cohesive thematic bent. In a shooting style and narrative structure that easily could’ve fallen flat, V/H/S manages to become one of the more creative, enjoyable, and scary horror movies in recent memory. – Billy Brennan