Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
IFC Midnight: Rites of Spring
time to spring forward—into a violent, bloody death. There is a reason a small rural Mississippi county
always has perfect weather for their crops.
Initially, a ruthless band of kidnappers couldn’t care less about
agriculture when they abduct a young girl for ransom, but they soon will in
Padraig Reynolds’ Rites of Spring (trailer here), which begins a
run of midnight screenings this Friday in New York at the IFC Center and will
also be available nationally on VOD.
Adams is drowning her guilt at a local tavern.
Thanks to a mistake she made, the office doormat got canned.
Unfortunately, it is also the first day of spring. That means an old farmer has to find five
sacrifices to the “it” living under the trap door in his barn to maintain the
supernaturally good local weather. Adams
and her friend Alyssa Miller are about to see the inside of his psycho-stalker
Geringer is the dumb jerk from Adams’ office.
Somewhat disappointed by recent events, Geringer agrees to a dodgy plot
to kidnap the daughter of his now former boss.
However, Paul Nolan, the ostensive mastermind, seems to nurse an even
deeper grudge against their well-heeled target.
Naturally, Geringer and company hole-up in a shuttered high school not
far from the old coot’s farm, so when Adams manages to escape, she blunders
into their abduction drama. Of course,
the ravenous beast also follows.
will probably disappoint many potential viewers, but they should know there is
no Stravinsky on Spring’s soundtrack. As a genre hybrid, it is somewhat
uneven. However, it is surprisingly
effective as a rather dark and nasty crime drama, at least for a while. Sonny Marinelli makes a particularly
entertaining villain as the all kinds of bad news Nolan. As Geringer and his Lady Macbethish
girlfriend, indie genre vets A.J. Bowen and Katherine Randolph also fare quite
respectably in the straight crime scenes.
the supernatural-slasher side of the coin is often pretty silly. It is hard to believe the old farmer still
has enough gas in his tank to lug about full grown adults, while the what-ever-it-is
just looks like a dude with gauze tied around his head.
Reynolds team scouted some good locations, most
notably the big spooky industrial looking school building. He is also builds some nice claustrophobic
tension, only to let it deflate as soon as the action shifts to the evil
farmhouse. The rather abrupt ending does
not help much nor does the brief but befuddling stinger. Frankly, the film has its moments, but it
just doesn’t pan out. That’s life. A serviceable midnight movie candidate, but
highly flawed when judged on its merits, Rites
of Spring screens round midnight at the IFC Center, starting tomorrow
Labels: Horror Movies, Kidnapping films