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Notes from the Back Row

Saw 7 is six too many



I saw on the news that Halloween is starting to rival Christmas as far as spending and "economic stimulus." Apparently the average Canadian adult will spend 60 bucks this year on a costume and "treats."

Whistler, of course has never been average at anything and round these parts Halloween is a three-day holiday this year, although our costumes are home-made and less costly than the national average. Many of the treats are probably a bit more.

From a movie perspective the fun starts Friday when Saw 3D opens at the Village 8 (in 2D as usual). This is the seventh installment in the ol' Saw franchise, which kick-started the short-lived 'torture-porn' subgenre of horror.

Wisely, no preview screenings were offered for this one but expect more nasty exploits courtesy of the long-dead Jigsaw and some innovative new death machines teaching moral lessons to us all. Personally, I gave up on Saw after the second one - the morality lessons started to seem like Se7en rip offs and I never really got into Jigsaw as all that scary, certainly not even close to the level of Michael Myers or that chick/dude from Sleepaway Camp. Still, Saw delivers R-rated blood, thrills and nudity every year so you may as well go check it out.

Also opening this Friday is Buried, a 90-minute real-time flick about a guy buried alive inside a coffin. It sounds insane, (an entire movie set inside a rectangular box?) but Spanish director Rodrigo Cortez pulls of a film full of real suspense, genuine thrills, shitloads of claustrophobia and a doozy ending.

Canadian Ryan Reynolds stars as the guy - an American truck driver working in Iraq who gets kidnapped, buried, and must raise five million bucks ransom in two hours if he wants to live. Using only a Blackberry (with extremely good underground-reception) a lighter, a pen and some alcohol Reynolds and Cortez manage to craft a really good film that's interesting, beautifully shot and kind of mind-boggling. It's a good coffin movie and Reynolds nails it.

The big event this Halloween is the sold-out Heavy Hitting B-Grade Horrorfest going down Saturday night at the Chateau. It looks like we've got 15 short films on the slate, most local, all independent and many that really push the envelope of cinematic deviancy. "The worse, the better" has always been B-Grade's mantra, and we mean taste, not quality. This is a chance for any filmmaker, rookie or pro, to paddle back into the darkest, most screwed up depths of their imaginations and jump in. The result is rarely art, or if it is, it's hidden behind a shower death scene.

But the films are almost secondary to the gathering - many of the people I will see on Saturday night are people I see but once or twice a year; at weddings, funerals, and Horrorfest.

Of course real Halloween is actually on Sunday, with fireworks and hopefully a lot of candy. While all you kids are chomping down all that sugar, check out Ruby Skye P.I It's a teen detective web-series that's free on the internet at www.rubyskyepi.com. It's aimed at kids but Peter Harvey, who grew up here, is the production manager and "Behind the Scenes' director" so hit it up and support your locals. Peter's got a movie in the B-Grade Horrorfest, proving Whistler kids are far more talented than the national average.

Happy Halloween, don't drive wasted, don't eat sketchy apples (don't eat anything healthy actually,) and try to wear some clear-lensed goggles if you're planning an epic roman candle war.



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