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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Follow the Sun! (2011)

Director: MK12
This film was an official selection at the 8th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Scottsdale in 2012. Here's an index to my reviews of 2012 films.
Follow the Sun! isn't your usual horror short. It's a subversive and experimental animation that almost by definition would fit perfectly at the beginning of any set of horror shorts at a festival. It's also surprisingly inevitable and I'm surprised nobody has done this sort of thing before, or if they have why I haven't seen it. It's a freaky take on the reels that used to screen before movies to bludgeon us into buying more refreshments by unleashing hordes of anthropomorphic drinks and hot dogs whose only purpose in life was to gleefully convince us to eat them. Come to think of it, they were pretty freaky to begin with, cannabilistic sacrifices designed to lull us into a zombie state where we hand over our dollars in a glass eyed, slack jawed stupor. If they weren't nightmarish to begin with, this short adds whatever was missing, showing us in inevitable detail just what happens when things go wrong in a land where everything is inherently happy.

For a minute and a half it's horrifying only in traditional ways, the familiar imagery and hypnotic music eating into your brain like a consumerist cancer. It's well animated and neatly aged and coloured too, making it feel like a much used reel that doesn't know how to quit. Three minutes to showtime, folks! Still plenty of time to... visit the refreshment stand! And then it happens: one cutesy mascot treads on another cutesy mascot and the tone changes utterly and irrevocably. It somehow becomes a metaphor for the fall of man, the loss of immortality and the introduction of death. It becomes angry and helpless as these mascots, the epitome of imbecilic glee, find that they aren't equipped to deal with anything bad. I love the hellish relentlessness of it all as they try but fail to escape, to find a happy place where no such thing exists. Like one cute little bag of popcorn, you might just stab your eyes out with a jagged shard of crisp. But you'll love it.

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