By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

My two favorite midnighter films of the festival involved slashers. One takes a comedic approach (Stage Fright) while the other, titled  Among the Living is dead serious. Even though this movie doesn’t really offer that much originality with the story and plot, I must say I still enjoyed this intense and violent horror film.  Among the Living works effectively because of its pacing and build up of suspense and frights. French writing/directing duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury takes their audience on a dark and frightening journey when three kids happen to witness something they never should have seen.

Victor (Theo Fernandez), Dan and Tom (Zacharie Chasseriaud)  decide to cut class one day and wander off to an old abandoned movie set. They see a young woman bound and taken away by a man in a clown mask.  Because the kids have a reputation for causing trouble, the authorities dismiss their story as a prank done in poor taste. What the authorities don’t know is that a real threat exists behind that story which places the boys in some serious danger.

Fans of slasher horror will definitely enjoy this thrill ride of a picture. I certainly was on the edge of my seat as I watched a totally unhinged killer go after these preteen kids and their families.  The movie does have some incredulous and silly moments, but thankfully there aren’t too many of these to detract from the experience. Whatever the film lacks in originality, it makes up for this with terrifically taut horror filmmaking and great performances from the cast.



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