The Overnight is an odd film. Funny, but odd. I suppose in terms of genre it’s closest to those awful British sex comedies from the seventies. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Kurt and his wife are swingers, and try very hard to convince Alex and Emily to join in their fun. I did have fun while watching it, and it does have a lot of pretty funny moments, mostly because the dialogue is very clever and well-written. There are some odd transitions where the tone fluctuates between scenes with amusing hijinks and scenes which are supposed to make Alex and Emily (and by extension, the viewer) uncomfortable.
When I saw this at the Somerville Theatre, it was in their massive theatre number one with a very large crowd. It was stretched all the way around the building in fact, I imagine because everyone had heard that Jason Schwartzman was in it. The crowd was really into the film, and riotously laughed through almost any scene. The Overnight is one of those films, I feel, that if I had seen it by myself I would have thought “meh” and probably have not liked it very much. But because of the crowd, I enjoyed it much more than I otherwise would have. If you and a few friends want to see an awful American sex comedy, by all means see this movie. Otherwise, I would say this one is a pass; there’s lot of stuff playing at IFFB that I would recommend higher than this. Unless of course you want to see Jason Schwartzman’s dick, in which case this movie will happily oblige.
Grade: B with a good group, otherwise C-
They Look Like People
A chilling physiological horror, They Look Like People is a terrifying picture of what it feels like to struggle with schizophrenia. The writer and director, Perry Blackshear, was at the festival and conducted a Q&A after the screening concluded. He said that a several of his close friends and family had struggled with the disease, and he wanted to try to convey to audiences via the screen the terror they felt on a daily basis. They Look Like People is one of those slow-burn horrors which relies on subtlety and silence in order to build tension. And boy does it build tension, often to unbearable levels; by the end of the movie you start wanting it to explode into violence and action just to release tension, but it just continues its slow and steady pressure cooker.
The acting and writing is frequently uneven, with many scenes making it aware that both the director and actors are not terribly experienced. However, the scenes that are done well just shine; there’s one heart-touching scene where after deciding to go out to a bar, Christian and Wyatt just end up staying at home and doing the same silly things they did when they were in middle-school (BLOB WARS!!). Scenes like these humanize the characters to a much greater degree than is typically seen in horror movies. This adds to the film’s greatest strength: its realism. I walked out of the theatre thinking: “Jesus Christ, now I know what it’s like to have schizophrenia.” This is scarier than any film about monsters, aliens, or serial killers, because these are demons that some people really do have to fight.