Hey everyone, this weekend was my first time attending the Sundance Film Festival and it was an interesting experience. That’s putting it bluntly, it was pretty fun. I had never really been to the state of Utah but the sights, the snow, and the mountains were a pleasant sight to take in. Arriving in Utah around 7 A.M. on Saturday, my Sundance adventure would truly begin a few hours later. That’s not to say the adventure hadn’t already started because driving for an hour in Silent Hill like fog that freezes upon contact with your windshield is an adventure in itself.
Saturday morning the first movie my friends and I attended was Whiplash (2014) which starred mostly unknown actors except for J.K. Simmons. The film was a good film to start off Sundance as it was a little all over the place with a really strong finale. J.K. Simmons really does a great job of keeping the audience entertained with his humorous smart-ass comments mixed with a slight crazed demeanor.
Much later, during Saturday evening, we attended a screening of short films which afterwards ended with a consensus of us saying, “What the f*** did we just watch?!” From short films about pretty much nothing to boring life moments and then three short films that left us more interested and confused at the same time, the short films screening was the weakest of the screenings we attended. Of all the shorts, the only ones that deserve mentioning were Catherine by Dean Fleischer-Camp, The Cut by Geneviève Dulude-De Celles, and Rat Pack Rat by Todd Rohal. Both Catherine and Rat Pack Rat bordered the weird while being awkward enough to be funny, though the latter left me questioning if I’d every want to hear “The Candyman” by Sammy Davis Jr. ever again. The Cut on the other hand relied on creating emotion via a father and daughter’s relationship and their plans for the night. I was able to find the two short films Catherine and Rat Pack Rat on youtube and they’ll be available for viewing below if you want to check them out.
On Sunday we continued our Sundance adventure by roaming around Park City to pick up some swag and maybe even catch a peek of some wandering celebrities. We found more free stuff than well known celebs, but we did see Philip Seymour Hoffman while we looked for parking; a quest that almost seemed impossible. After wandering a bit we ventured to see our first film of the day which was Frank (2014). Starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domnhall Gleeson, Frank is one of those strange comedies that either catches people or loses them in the divide.
Even later Sunday evening was the main feature that I had been waiting for, Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead. Having never seen the first film, I prepared for the sequel by watching the original while relaxing Saturday evening. Dead Snow 2 was even better than the first, although more focused on comedic horror than gory jump scares. The film was filled with many nods to fans of zombies, gore, and cheesy comedy. The Q&A panel with the actors and director after the film was also a wonderful addition, but it was very short with only ten minutes for discussion of the film available.
After all the films and all the hours spent in a vehicle while lacking sleep, I really enjoyed my time in Utah at the Sundance Film Festival. I definitely want to go again next year and possibly attend for longer than 2 days. I’ll also have 3 short reviews coming later this week on the films Whiplash, Frank, and Dead Snow 2. Hopefully there are more adventures to come!
Written by John of The Time Heist