Reel Indie Film Festival Review: Necronomica (2013)

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Cast: Mark Scheibmeir, Judd Farris
Director: Kyle Bogart
Country: USA
Genre: Short | Comedy | Music


Editor’s Notes: The following review is part of our coverage of the Reel Indie Film Festival. For more information on the festival visit http://reelindiefilmfest.com/ and follow the event on Twitter at @RIFF_Toronto. Necronomica screens on Sunday October 20th at 7:00 PM at The Royal in Toronto as a supporting short to Bayou Maharajah, reviewed here.

It’s clear immediately, when the bracketed word “Necronomica” appears over a typically illegible black metal band name, that Kyle Bogart’s short of the same name is out to undercut the absurd theatrics of that oh-so-serious subculture. Yet it’s never without its fair share of affection too: as silly as so many of these scenes may be, the ridiculous antics of band members Absu and Borknarg are as much a celebration of black metal’s theatrical side as they are a mockery.

Like a low-key live-action antidote to Metalocalypse, Necronomica finds comic contrast in the efforts of its eponymous band to be the world’s evilest and the genial characters they really are. But with that gag stretched so thin as to be on the point of snapping across these seventeen minutes, it falls to the characters to keep things interesting, a task sadly far beyond the reach of Mark Scheibmeir and Judd Farris’ caricatured shtick.

Like a low-key live-action antidote to Metalocalypse, Necronomica finds comic contrast in the efforts of its eponymous band to be the world’s evilest and the genial characters they really are.

necronomica_2013_2Which isn’t to say their antics aren’t amusing nonetheless: Scheibmeir and Farris might not make for a classic double act, but they work off each other with enough weird wit to rouse the laughs to bear the brunt of the strained central gag’s weight. Had Bogart, acting as his own editor, only had the distance from the material to trim the requisite fat, this might have been a far tighter, more effective production. Still, there’s enough giddy fun and goofy charm to go around; the idea bears fruit, albeit only half-harvested.

Background nods to Aguirre, the Wrath of God and The Shining attest high aspirations on the part of Bogart, whose monochrome direction aptly accentuates the juxtaposed monotony of the off-stage band. Necronomica, at its best, is an indication that he might yet be worthy of such grandiose gestures. As much as it might overstay its welcome, like a smart sketch overrun, this is a fine little film, a solid effort, if not a substantial one.

[notification type=”star”]62/100 ~ OKAY. As much as it might overstay its welcome, like a smart sketch overrun, Necronomica is a fine little film, a solid effort, if not a substantial one. [/notification]

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About Author

Ronan Doyle is an Irish freelance film critic, whose work has appeared on Indiewire, FilmLinc, Film Ireland, FRED Film Radio, and otherwhere. He recently contributed a chapter on Arab cinema to the book Celluloid Ceiling, and is currently entangled in an all-encompassing volume on the work of Woody Allen. When not watching movies, reading about movies, writing about movies, or thinking about movies, he can be found talking about movies on Twitter. He is fuelled by tea and has heard of sleep, but finds the idea frightfully silly.