Monday, 19 October 2015

THE HEXECUTIONERS - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Babes who kill, legally, in Owen Sound, Ontario and the lovely, surrounding environs of Grey-Bruce Counties - TADFF 2015

In Owen Sound, there are babes who commit euthanasia!!!

The Hexecutioners (2015)
Dir. Jesse Thomas Cook
Scr. Tony Burgess
Starring; Liv Collins, Sarah Power, Will Burd,
Barry Flatman, Boyd Banks, Tony Burgess

Review By Greg Klymkiw

"A Yotar is a sky burial, a ritual performed for releasing the soul from the clutches of vengeful spirits that wish to lay claim to it through their desire for eternal revenge. I don't get it, do you? Okay, whatever." - Dialogue from The Hexecutioners as could ONLY be written by Tony Burgess.

The opening scenes of The Hexecutioners perfectly exemplify why Foresight Features, the tiny independent Canadian production company from Collingwood, Ontario are making some of the creepiest, scariest, most intelligent and wholly original horror films in the world. Their latest, shot in the seemingly normal rural locale of Owen Sound and surrounding areas, manages to bring a wholly indigenous quality to a film that will be enjoyed round the world. The bottom line: Canada IS creepy, especially in Grey-Bruce counties.

The film begins with a simple white-on-black title card informing us that euthanasia has been legal in Canada and many other countries for several years. With the passing of Proposition 177 (this even sounds like something passed by Canada's former Fascist Party under ex-Prime Minister Stephen Harper), private medical firms have been granted the right to perform assisted suicides (with full immunity and impunity).

The titles fade to black, hold briefly in the pitch ebony until a hard cut reveals an older model station wagon in mid-assault upon the frame as it barrels forward over a gravel road leading to a mysterious old rural house at the top of a hill.

The sole occupant of the car is a quiet, primly attired redheaded babe (Liv Collins), who overlooks a series of official looking papers before proceeding to the front door. She's greeted by a sour, sad-faced cynical husband (one of Canada's foremost character actors, Boyd Banks) who complains about her being late. She explains this is her first day on the job. Hubby responds with considerable sarcasm, especially in response to her clearly rehearsed speech:

"My name is Malison McCourt. I'm a palliative technician with Life's Source Closures. We'd like to extend our compassion to you at this sensitive time. I'd like to personally assure you that your family's closure will be meaningful, merciful and memorable."

Hubbles leads the peculiarly Christian-named Malison (which means, uh, curse) into his wife's sickroom where the poor woman lies in a coma. Malison prepares her implements of euthanasia and eventually injects the poison into the woman's system.

What happens at this point is sickening, shocking, grimly grotesque and deeply, deeply disturbing. It places a stunning capper to the sequence which includes a brutal shocker to top the actual shocker. This is a truly astonishing and creepy opening sequence, one which has few rivals in recent memory and plunges us headlong into the world of legitimate, though corporate-sullied assisted suicide, a world in which moral lines are clearly blurred.

Lines between this life and the next, are also blurred. This is good, and this then, is precisely why Foresight Features continues to kick considerable genre ass. The Hexecutioners delivers an opening few minutes that creeps us out, throws us for a major loop, forces us to practically upchuck and does so, from beginning to end, with a first rate mise-en-scene, impeccable cutting, crazed imagination, sheer originality and dollops of contemporary political/social issues nestled in the backdrop.

What follows the opening is even more jaw dropping. In order to add some buff and polish to his newest employee, Malison's boss (Barry Flatman) decides to pair her up with the perversely surnamed Olivia Bletcher (Sarah Power), a senior "palliative technician" (uh, killer), who also happens to be an even bigger babe than Malison (and she smokes cigarettes - nothing sexier than a leggy babe alternating twixt firearms and ciggies). Not only are we going to follow two women who perform assisted suicides, but they are both mouth-wateringly gorgeous.

This, my friends, is great cinema!

It's probably not a good idea to go down this corridor.

The next hour has our babes in an eerie old Owen Sound mansion where we meet a creepy caretaker (Will Burd), presiding over Milos Somborac (writer Tony Burgess), the hideously disfigured patriarch who has an insanely repellent request for his own assisted suicide. Will this madness ever cease?

No. The movie never lets up.

It delivers the following checklist of spine-tingling horrors:

- Plenty of sojourns into dark rooms, long corridors, murky basements, rocky exterior passageways a la Picnic at Hanging Rock and a garden maze which puts the Overlook Hotel's leafy catacombs in The Shining to shame;

- Nightmares a-plenty, which might not actually be nightmares and involve hideously masked rituals in the tradition of the pre-orgy Eyes Wide Shut ceremony and the very best devil/demon worship shenanigans that cinema has to offer;

- Ghosts. Yes, ghosts, and they are not at all benevolent;

- Magnificent blood-letting and viscera and,

- Babes. Babes in various states of sanity, costumery and undress.

Larry Miller, MP for Grey-Bruce County
How this Conservative clown was re-elected is a mystery,
but perhaps he'll preside over the Owen Sound Premiere of

The only flaw in the entire film is the hint of Sapphic Delight, presented with some lovely girl-on-girl kissing, but unfairly pulled from us like so many rugs from under a century of prat-falling-physical-comedians.

Ah well, we can't have everything, I suppose - especially when The Hexecutioners offers such original, mind-blowing scares from the diseased minds of director Jesse Thomas Cook, the clinically insane screenwriter Tony Burgess and the brilliant independent Collingwood filmmakers at the visionary Foresight Features.

That, ladies and gents, is entertainment!!!


The Hexecutioners enjoys its world premier at TADFF 2015 and will be released courtesy of Raven Banner and Anchor Nay Entertainment Canada.