A blind date takes a monstrous turn as a couple meets on a cold Christmas night.
Kalen Marie George
Meeting for the first time via an online dating service, Claire (Kalen Marie George) and Nick (co-writer/co-director Ian Hock) leave their agreed upon bar meet-up and head to her suburban home. As things heat up between the couple, Claire politely excuses herself. And that’s when Nick hears a thump in a nearby closet. Once he investigates, he’ll be in a fight for his life. But not everything is as it seems.
From the get-go, I was impressed with the lighting in Foxwood. As Claire makes her way through the long bar entrance, it’s clear that we’re smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season. So she’s bathed in every color of the rainbow as she passes by the copious amounts of Christmas lights. And all of these extreme washes of color continue into the rest of the film. It’s actually a very nice way to incorporate these bold choices, without questioning why. It’s the holidays, yo!
The two lead performances are pretty solid.
Kalen Marie George has an engaging Katherine McPhee quality, and nails the varying moments which the character must find – based on where the story takes her.
As Nick, Hock is adorably dorky, and despite no real character history, you’ll still find yourself rooting for him. That declaration is something of a clue as to the film’s changes from the norm – and Hock takes all of the tropes you’d expect from a film like this – and runs with them – literally.
As for the only major supporting character, Liz (Laura Peake) – it’s not a great performance. Sure, there’s not much in the way of a deep and engaging character here, but even Peake’s few lines are delivered with a good deal of ho-humery (I’m coining that new phrase, here and now).
The film draws from the slasher films of the 1980s – turning the main thing that we know and love about that cinematic era/genre – on its head. But I feel as though it merely played with these tried-n-true call-outs, rather than totally making these upside-down cliches its very own. It could have gone further.
The score from Andrew Scott Bell is also an ‘80s throwback (appropriate for the film’s clear inspirations), but owes an even bigger debt of gratitude to the work of Disasterpeace – who provided the stunning score to the recent horror hit It Follows. The synthy-goodness of Foxwood’s score brings up fun nostalgia and fits the film perfectly.
While I realize that this is what I’ve termed a “punchline” short film – I would have liked to see a bit of history for our lead characters. What tidbits of history present comes mainly from the performances (namely Nick’s awkwardness) – and I know there may not be enough run-time to totally flesh these people out – but just a smidge more would have done wonders.
You won’t really get the meaning behind the title Foxwood until the film’s final moments.
So with that… yes, there is a bit of a twist, but I think the film could have taken it to a different level. There was more to be explored, and the piece only touches on these fun possibilities. In fact, with what is introduced in the twist ending – I see potential for an intriguing and engaging web-series.
Filmmakers, take note!
Two good lead performances, a fun idea and some lovely ‘80s nostalgia – make Foxwood a fun and bite-sized horror treat!
Foxwood played at this year’s Shriekfest and is still playing the festival circuit, so no online release information is yet available.