Color, 2010, 84m.
Directed by Jordan Harris and Andrew Schrader
Starring Melanie Rose Wilson, Peter Tullio, Philip Nolan Marlatt
Bad People (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9) / DD2.0

Three young pansexuals who don't do much planning ahead and enjoy dabbling in the dark arts -- Terry (Wilson), Elliot (Tullio), and Warren (Marlatt) -- decide to head way out into the woods for a night of experimentation with Old Scratch. Terry's quickly taken out of commission after being hit by their car (which then refuses to start again), leaving the two young men to their own devices for a harrowing night of hallucinatory horrors. Even nature itself seems to conspiring against them as the dark lord they summoned from a fiery pentagram unleashes exploding crows, a monstrous boar head, a hot topless blonde camper, goat skulls, a tubby rapist redneck, and other grotesqueries from his black bag of magic tricks.

A homegrown horror in every sense of the term, Fever Night (or as all the promotional material bills its, Fever Night aka Band of Satanic Outsiders, which is odd as this has nothing to do with Jean-Luc Godard or Quentin Tarantino) feels like an acid trip riff on '70s Luciferian classics like The Devil's Rain and Race with the Devil. Created over a two year period and shot for very little money with a skeleton crew, this is a fiesty, surprisingly funny, and very stylish offering that deftly sidesteps the usual pitfalls of boring camerawork and amateurish performances. The passion from everyone involved is evident in front and behind the camera, with the three actors shouldering the burdens of their roles very well; in fact, it might have been an even more interesting film if the slow burn of the first act had been expanded a bit to take up more of the storyline in favor of some of the rampaging visual effects, which slide a bit into overkill during the climax and sidetrack what is otherwise a well-paced supernatural spooker. Either way it's definitely a more enjoyable and creative horror romp in the woods than Blair Witch and its imitators. Extra kudos for the atmospheric and well-designed sound mix, which features nerve-jangling contributions from the likes of Castrai and the Demon Seed(!), The Coachwhips, and the majority of the score from Three Oh Sees.

As of this writing, Fever Night is screening at special venues and is only available as a screener directly from the filmmakers through Bad People. The anamorphic transfer looks fine and should transfer nicely when it gets an eventual commercial releases onto store shelves; the frequent bright reds pop through surprisingly well, and the psychedelic visuals look especially potent on a large screen TV. Likewise the stereo mix is extremely manipulative and gives your speakers a hefty workout, while the dialogue is mixed far more cleanly than your average DIY horror effort. The only extra is a behind-the-scenes EPK featuring effects shots and music from the film, but that will hopefully be expanded when the full-fledged DVD release comes around. Definitely keep an eye on everyone involved.

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