SXSW Capsule Reviews: Creep, Exists, Neighbors, Big Significant Things, and Home

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Neighbors (dir. Nicholas Stoller)


Editor’s Notes: The following SXSW Capsule Reviews are part of our coverage of the 2014 South by Southwest Film Festival. For more information visit sxsw.com and follow SXSW on Twitter at @sxsw.

Creep
dir. Patrick Brice

A videographer who answers an ad for a job in a remote town discovers that perhaps there’s something more menacing and dangerous than he originally expected. You can sort of see the path that Creep is going to take, but what makes it so effective is Mark Duplass’ performance as Josef, an expecting father diagnosed with terminal brain cancer who wants his son to be able to have videos of his father. Director and co-writer Patrick Brice plays Aaron, the man who accepts the job offer. It’s a simple tale, but Duplass gives a performance that is just the right balance of funny and creepy that the makes it hard to look away. Some movies don’t take much to scare and entertain, and Creep is a movie that proves that statement true.

[notification type=”star”]80/100 ~ GREAT. It’s a simple tale, but Duplass gives a performance that is just the right balance of funny and creepy that the makes it hard to look away. [/notification]

 

Exists
dir. Eduardo Sanchez

A group of five friends journey to a cabin in the middle of the woods to have some fun. What’s the worst that could happen? Running into Bigfoot of course! Exists is a solid found footage thriller with some really effective scenes. Director Eduardo Sanchez has made a movie that follows closely the familiar tropes of the genre and lets his story play out in a familiar but engaging fashion. It never feels like a cliché-riddled movie, but its main problem is that everything feels familiar. The movie should be commended for finding a subject that hasn’t been seen in most found footage movies, but it just feels like it’s missing something.

[notification type=”star”]60/100 ~ OKAY. Director Eduardo Sanchez has made a movie that follows closely the familiar tropes of the genre and lets his story play out in a familiar but engaging fashion.[/notification]

 

Neighbors
dir. Nicholas Stoller

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play a married couple with a baby  who are terrified to discover that a rambunctious fraternity led by Zac Efron has moved in next door. What results is a cat and mouse game where both houses try to sabotage the other. There are literally hundreds of great lines and gags to be found in this movie, but Efron and Bryne all but steal the show. Director Nicholas Stoller introduced Neighbors by describing it as a “work in progress,” citing only technical reasons like aspect ratios, sound mix, and some colorization of some of the scenes. For an unfinished product, this is a hilarious movie. It is a bit uneven at times, and the simple premise of its plot causes some redundancy. That being said, this is a fantastic comedy that I can’t wait to check out again when it hits theaters in May.

[notification type=”star”]80/100 ~ GREAT. For an unfinished product, this is a hilarious movie. It is a bit uneven at times, and the simple premise of its plot causes some redundancy.[/notification]

 

Big Significant Things
dir. Bryan Reisberg

Bryan Reisberg’s debut feature Big Significant Things is a small story that is grand in its scope. The great Harry Lloyd drops his British accent and dons an extremely convincing American accent to play Craig, a New Jersey native who goes on a trip through the south without much of a reason for doing so. He’s about to move in with his longtime girlfriend and he’s very happy with his life, but it’s clear that he feels disconnected from everyone and everything and dissatisfied with his life. If only he knew what was missing. Big Significant Things is a magnificent gem of a film that asks more questions than it gives answers, and rightly so. Life doesn’t always give us the answers to everything, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling the pain and confusion that stems from being part of the human experience.

[notification type=”star”]87/100 ~ GREAT. Big Significant Things is a magnificent gem of a film that asks more questions than it gives answers, and rightly so.[/notification]

 

Home
dir. Nicholas McCarthy

The best and worst decision I made at this year’s SXSW was choosing to sit so close to the screen for the midnight showing of Nicholas McCarthy’s Home. By the final act of the movie, I was hunched down in my seat, completely filled with dread by what was on (and off) the screen. Despite my terrified state, I was unable to look away. Not since William Freidkin’s Exorcist has a movie left me so mortified. The film is in intricately scripted tale spanning multiple decades that involves three protagonists. It’s a tale that involves, among other things, demonic possession, creepy creatures, haunted houses, and unsolved mysteries. There’s a lot of movie in this movie, but McCarthy tells his gripping tale with an ease I’m certain I’ve never seen in movies.  This is stellar filmmaking.

[notification type=”star”]90/100 ~ AMAZING. There’s a lot of movie in this movie, but McCarthy tells his gripping tale with an ease I’m certain I’ve never seen in movies.  This is stellar filmmaking.[/notification]

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I never knew how movies could make your imagination soar until I saw "Star Wars," I never realized how inspiring they could be until I saw "Rocky," and I never truly appreciated film until I saw "Goodfellas." Film has been a central part of my life as long as I can remember and it continues to mold who I am. My " movies to watch" list is miles longer than my "movies I have watched" list. My only regret is not having enough time to watch them all.