Last night I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the local premiere of Monster Pool 2. It’s a horror anthology completely written and directed by filmmakers in my city (Ottawa, Ontario).
I had received an invite from one of the actresses in the film and jumped at the chance to check it out.
Here is a brief write up of the 9 films and the narrative arc that holds them all together.
I tried my best to scrawl down the directors names as the credits ran so apologies if I’ve butchered any spellings or forgotten to add anybody.
Short film the first. “Sorry” directed by Mark Parks.
This film tells the story of a woman living alone who is besieged by an intruder. It has a few stylish flourishes and was a good way to set the tone on what was about to come afterwards.
Short film the second. “Red Man” directed by Jesse Palangio.
This film tells the story of a disturbed young man in a psychiatrist’s office recounting his struggles with hallucinations. This one amps up the terror from before and even elicited a scream from my fiancee, much to the delight of the crowded theatre.
Short film the third. “Time’s Up” directed by Kristian Lariviere and Jennifer Allanson.
This one was a standout for me. A woman going through a divorce struggles to keep her life together while battling depression and haunting visions around her apartment. A friend comes by to cheer her up and ends up spending the night. The performance by Edith Landreville who played the depressed woman was very good. She felt natural and I enjoyed the dialogue and her performance. A bunch of people in the theatre were laughing when this was showed but I believe it was more due to the fun atmosphere than it was against the film.
Short film the fourth. “The Prisoner” directed by Vincent Valentino.
This film tells the story of a guy who is kidnapped by what appear to be succubi. It was the bloodiest by far and the only one to contain nudity. The performances were once again great and it drew a lot of positive reactions from the theatre.
Short film the fifth. “Trigger” directed by Ray Besharah.
This one wasn’t necessarily horror so much as it was Sci-Fi but the director admitted as much in a brief talk that was held after the movie was done. It tells the story of two government agents trying to get information out of a woman with telekenetic powers. Despite its lack of horror it was ably acted and had a good atmosphere.
Short film the sixth. “Time of Need” directed by James Campbell.
This one tells the story of a young man who comes from a broken household. One day he wishes for protection from his abusive father and his stuffed bear comes to life and starts murdering people who would hurt him. It reminded me of the short story “Self inflicted wounds” by Richard Matheson.
Short film the seventh. “A nightmare Reverie” directed by Deniz Berkin and Fiona Noakes.
Full disclosure, this is the film I was invited to see. Naomi Klazer (who invited my fiancee and I) plays the role of a woman looking for her missing niece (and does a damn good job in the process). The story is about a Private Investigator who looks into the disappearances of people around the town and ends up getting in too deep.
Another film that tried something different with the stylishness.
Short film the eighth. “I make Corpses” directed by Kyle Martellacci.
I am sick to death of zombies in fiction. They’ve been played out in books, movies and video games. That being said, this is the best treatment of a zombie apocalypse in horror that I’ve ever come across. It’s almost enough to make me go digging through it again to see if anything comes across remotely this good.
It tells the story of a serial killer and how he goes about things after the dead have risen. In my opinion (which doesn’t always matter much, I’ve been told) it’s the best short film of the night and I would actually pay to see this turned into a full length movie.
Short film the ninth. “One more Drink” directed by Randy Smith.
This one tells the tale of a bartender who flirts with a woman and ends up drugging and tying her to a chair so she can torture her. Aside from Time’s Up, this one had the strongest performances. Victoria Luloff who played the killer was charming and funny. This was a good film to close the night on.
The narrative that holds it all together. “Blood in the Water” directed by Randy Smith and Vincent Valentino.
This one tells the story of a couple of bros who meet beautiful women and end up in the pool with them. They take turns telling stories that end up being the short films listed above. It was really enjoyable and had an old school Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt vibe to it.
Overall thoughts: It was a really fun night and the crowd seemed to enjoy everything. They cheered and laughed and there were even a few screams during a couple of the jump scares. It’s nice to see that horror is thriving in Ottawa considering our nickname is “The city that fun forgot.”
If there’s a Monster Pool 3 I’ll absolutely be there opening night and if this ends up at a festival in your city you owe it to yourself to give it a watch.
Check out their website where you can rent or even buy a copy of the film.