(aka A Band of Satanic Outsiders)
Initial Disclaimer: This movie was produced by some fellow UCSB alumni, and very good friends of mine. I’m going to try my best to be objective and think of this outside of my prior relationship to the filmmakers, but, just in case I ever smack of favoritism, keep that in mind.
Initial Tangent: Support local and indie filmmakers! See small unknown movies, even if they aren’t by your friends.
I’ve reviewed some questionable horror films on this blog in the past. Fever Night (Schrader and Harris, 2009) is definitely not questionable in terms of scope, ambition, or general production skill. The story deals with three friends getting lost in the woods and their encounters with strange and disturbing forces of darkness. It evokes the same ‘70’s B-Movie exploitation aesthetic tapped in Grindhouse, up to and including the 1970s Warner Bros logo. But, like the aforementioned Tarentino-Rodriguez collab, it brings a lot more to the table to literate film afficionados.
Although to anyone thinking about it, the choices of locations, amount of actors, and general production aesthetic scream low budget, it definitely doesn’t seem like it was shot on the cheap. The visuals were crisp and very aesthetically pleasing (or displeasing as was required,) the soundtrack was great, and the cast generally gave great performances.
The script for me is a mixed bag. The dialogue and characterization are great, and there are some very interesting payoffs and structuring devices used. However, I feel parts of it for me got lost, possibly in editing; I was at times genuinely confused about just what I was seeing and what was supposed to be going on. However, it was not the bad kind of confused that makes me want to stop watching the movie, but definitely kept me intrigued for more. I’m still not entirely sure what happened in parts of the movie, but it kept my interest and kept me emotionally involved, if confused.
So, if Fever Night is playing in a theater near you, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it, especially if you’re a big exploitation horror buff. It’s a loving tribute, and you can definitely sense the affection towards the source influences. Overall, I’d give it a B.