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Harry Lister Smith
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In this horror-comedy, at a New Year's Eve party, Nico, a naive twenty year old, sets out ready to lose his virginity at all costs that same night. In the middle of the party, his gaze crosses Medea, a cunning and attractive mature woman.
Roberto San Sebastián
A woman (Amanda Fuller) who uses clothes as an emotional crutch
discovers her life is not as ideal as she thought...
Director Simon Rumley has assembled a small stable of actors well-known
for their recent horror contributions. We have both Alex Essoe ("Starry
Eyes", "Tales of Halloween") and the perennial favorite Ethan Embry
("Late Phases", "Devil's Candy"). Leading the way is Amanda Fuller
(Rumley's "Red, White and Blue", "Starry Eyes", "Cheap Thrills", and
more recently "Last Man Standing"). If for no other reason, this cast
makes the film worth a watch.
The counterbalance is Eric Balfour, a man with very wolflike features,
which makes him perfect as the seductive third party to lure in
Fuller's character. Balfour was in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", but
interestingly enough also appeared in "Can't Hardly Wait" with co-star
Embry. Frankly, Balfour's list of horror credits being so short is a
surprise, as he has exactly the right look for it.
The cinematography has a strange, unnatural color palette, which seems
to be Rumley's trademark. He (or cinematographer Milton Kam) used a
similar device in "P is for Pressure". Perhaps not coincidentally,
"Pressure" also had a certain plot element revolving around fashion /
modeling. So is this another trademark of Rumley's: the love of
clothes? Like the characters in "Fashionista", does he have a "special
connection to clothes"? Well, without the addiction or running naked
through stores, of course.
The film in general is quite good, though it does take a bit to get
going. If you watch only the first half, you get a story about a
second-hand store and infidelity. But it shifts gears in the second
half to addiction and even darker themes, clearly treading into horror
territory. We even get some interesting visual nods a "Tenebrae"
poster, and a "stitch woman" in a dream, which is unlike anything seen
in film (the closest that comes to mind is "May").
"Fashionista" screened July 29, 2017 at the Fantasia International Film
Festival. It is not the most conventional of horror stories, but that
may be its strength. Simon Rumley went quickly from being a new face to
being on the front lines for the next generation of genre fans. This
film clearly adds to his already notable resume.
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