Plot-summary-wise, this movie could have been a total disaster, but the director and cast perfectly nail the tone, a comically heightened satire built on increasingly horrific acts. It’s a sequel to one of those after-dark-to-die-for flicks, Offspring, but this must not be too important since most of the reviews don’t mention it.

A nice family scene:

Parents Chris and Belle have two teens (daddy’s boy, goth girl) and young Darlin’. While out hunting, Chris discovers a feral woman (Pollyanna McIntosh, who looked very different in Let Us Prey), captures her and chains her into his shed, telling the family that they need to civilize her. “We can not have people running around the woods thinking they’re animals.” This is already an alarming development, as Chris (Sean Bridgers, villain of Room, typecast as a dude who locks women in sheds) goes from kinda-smarmy to kinda-evil, but he’s gradually revealed to be much more evil than suspected. After he incapacitates his wife (Angela Bettis, May herself) and feeds one of daughter Peggy’s teachers to the dogs, Peggy releases The Woman to wreak vengeful havoc.

Mom stands up to Dad for the last time:

The family expresses concern a few times for the “dogs,” one of which is late-revealed to be another hostage woman, mutilated and kept like an animal. Fantastic, table-turning ending as The Woman wanders back towards the woods with the dog-woman and the youngest daughter, and Peggy, with all the men and grown-ups dead, opting to follow along.

I also dug the rock & roll soundtrack. The last Lucky McKee work I saw was his Masters of Horror episode Sick Girl, also starring Bettis. Back then I wrote “fun flick, not bad at all,” which was mighty high praise for the MoH series. Since then I’d forgotten that Sick Girl was about lesbian entomologists – an influence on The Duke of Burgundy?

Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan)

Like the premise of Tezuka’s Broken Down Film with the pacing of Pixar’s Presto and revised into a self-consciously old-meets-new Micky Mouse cartoon. The director has worked on Wreck-It Ralph and some quality television.

Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz & Alexandre Espigares)

Great steampunk 3D – nervous shut-in manages to leave the house to rescue a neglected dog, which eventually outgrows his apartment. Based on the artwork of St├ęphane Halleux, who goes uncredited on IMDB. One of the directors worked on the feature version of 9.

Feral (Daniel Sousa)

Wild child is “rescued” and brought to civilization, doesn’t adapt well. Black and white, faces are all toothy mouths, with eyes hidden. Some cool expressionist bits.

Possessions (Shuhei Morita)

A lost traveling repairman seeking shelter gets imprisoned by a house full of vengeful discarded artifacts – broken umbrellas, torn clothing and the like. He convinces the objects they still have worth, thanks them for their more productive years. Not as formally exciting as the previous three nor as cute as the next one.

Room on the Broom (Jon Lachauer & Max Lang)

Clearly based on a children’s book: a witch gradually gains new friends while looking for lost things. Her broom gets more and more weighed down, which is a problem with a witch-eating dragon on their trail. All animal grunts were voiced by famous people, but famous voices are lost on me since I thought Simon Pegg’s narrator was actually Rob Brydon. Cartoony 3D style, like if those animated shorts we used to see on HBO had been made with today’s software.

A la francaise (Boyer & Hazebroucq & Hsu & Leleu & Lorton)

Versailles 1700 with the king’s court portrayed as chickens. Loved it.

The Missing Scarf (Eoin Duffy)

The second short in the program about someone asking woodland creatures for help finding a lost article of clothing. Belatedly, I’m going to declare that the major trend in cinema last year. This definitely wins best performance of the bunch, for the voiceover by George Takei. Conversations with neurotic animals turn philosophical, then metacosmic, with infographic-style animation. This and the previous one were not nominated, but they’re the two I most want to watch again. Aha, the chickens are on vimeo!

The Blue Umbrella (Saschka Unseld)

Seen this before. A good closer.

These were stitched together with not-great ostrich/giraffe vignettes voiced by a guy from Thomas and Friends and a guy from Nightbreed who also appeared in the amazingly titled The Glam Metal Detectives. We saw the traveling theatrical presentation – all screenshots are from online trailers.