As part of its continuing coverage of the 20th annual deadCenter Film Festival, Oklahoma City Free Press will feature three films from the festival each day: a feature-length narrative film, a short film and a documentary.
Today’s roundup focuses on director Blayne Weaver’s revisionist slasher film GetAWAY, Jacob Snovel and Brooks Hall’s 1717 Primrose and Bastards’ Road, Brian Morrison and Mark Stafford’s documentary about former U.S. Marine Jon Hancock’s walk across America to come to terms with his service in the Iraq War.
by George Lang, Free Press film critic
GetAWAY. Much like Wes Craven did with his Scream films, past deadCenter winner Blayne Weaver understands the fun in deconstructing a genre. In GetAWAY, Weaver takes the hoariest of slasher setups — young and attractive people on a camping trip — and gets to work on them.
Emma Norville plays Maddie, a college film student, who recently broke up with longtime boyfriend Noah (Joshua Cody). Still smarting from the split, Maggie tags along when a group of students embarks on a weekend trip to a cabin — yes, a cabin in the woods. Ostensibly, they are there to make a slasher film, but soon the action turns real.
As happens in literally countless slasher movies, the students start getting picked off, but Weaver ratchets up the mystery — somehow, the seemingly obvious culprits are just not culpable. GetAWAY contains some fun performances and memorable scenes, but it is Norville, a current student at Second City in Chicago, who stands out in the rapidly diminishing crowd.
1717 Primrose. The old man who lives at 1717 Primrose, a spooky Victorian mansion, is a spy, or that’s the legend anyway. This is what the kids in the neighborhood have heard for years, and when a group of pre-teens accidentally fly a drone through one of his second-story windows, it comes down to Derrek (Evan Myles Horsley) to retrieve the drone and solve the mystery.
Directed by Jacob Ryan Snovel, a frequent actor in 1717 Primrose producer Mickey Reese’s lengthy filmography, this short thriller gets down to business quickly, and while it soon becomes obvious who and what the old man (Van Quattro) is, the resolution is something to behold. Fans of Stranger Things and IT will appreciate Snovel’s sure direction andthe performances by Horsley and the rest of the young cast, who all seem capable of just killing it in future films.
Bastards’ Road. Jonathan Hancock graduated from U.S. Marine boot camp just days before Sept. 11, 2001, which immediately changed the course of his life and military career. Deployed as part of the second battalion of the fourth Marines regiment (2/4 Marines), Hancock was sent into some of the most bloody battles of the Iraq War.
Bastards’ Road, directed by Brian Morrison and Mark Stafford, explores Hancock’s 5,800-mile walk across the U.S., an attempt to come to terms with his own Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), visit fellow veterans from the 2/4 and meet the Gold Star Families of those lost in battle.
Hancock’s mission brings him back into contact with Marines he served with 15 years before, all of whom are in various stages of trauma, and recovery is always at arm’s length. In one stop, he visits the family of Caleb Powers, who was killed in Ramadi, Iraq on Aug. 17, 2004. Powers’ family lives in the shadow of his death; his sister Roseanna, also a Marine veteran, lost her Marine fiance the next day. The visit illustrates the multiple, compounding traumas that impact servicemembers, and how the people left behind often suffer in silence.
Featuring multiple interviews with members of the 2/4, Bastards’ Road goes into detail about the dreams that haunt these Marines, the questions that unthinking civilians ask them and the multiple ways in which PTSD impacts their lives on a daily basis. Hancock himself must face how past relationships suffered because of the time he spent in battle.
For anyone who knows someone with battle-related PTSD or simply needs to understand the neverending toll of war, Bastards’ Road should be essential viewing. It is honest, and it will break hearts.
The 20th annual deadCenter Film Festival can be experienced piecemeal or through a full-access plan. Patrons can enjoy one film for $10 or get the $100 festival pass. Donor level passes are $2,500. Visit deadcenterfilm.org
To see the rest of our coverage of the festival go HERE.
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