2009 | Color | 85min
Starring: Peter Tullio, Philip Marlatt, Melanie Rose Wilson, Michael Q. Schmidt, Vanity Meers, and Claudia Sandin.
Directed By: Jordan Harris and Andrew Schrader
We all have specific genres of film which we really don’t care for. Some people may not enjoy the epic space battles and seemingly endless pseudo-scientific techno-babble that is science fiction. Others may not particularly care to watch two sweaty Japanese men in silly rubber suits beat the living tofu out of one another. As for me, I have never been a fan of Italian horror. To be perfectly honest, the films of Bava, Argento, and Fulci do very little for me. Now I’m not knocking these films, and I can certainly understand why they have such a passionate following, they simply aren’t my thing.
Because of this fact I was somewhat hesitant to review Fever Night. The filmmakers have obviously been heavily influenced by the Italian and psychedelic horror genres. My general apathy towards these genres all but guaranteed that the homages and references which I am sure are present in Fever Night were destined to fly right over my head. I was also concerned it that may have been difficult for me to give an accurate and honest account of a film which I was predisposed to dislike. In spite of all of this, I decided to soldier on.
Fever Night tells the tale of Elliot, Warren, and Terry; three young Satanists who wander deep into the woods to perform a Satanic ritual. During their night of Aleister Crowley inspired debauchery, the group finds themselves stuck in a ditch. In the process of extricating their car from said ditch, Terry is seriously injured, leaving Elliot and Warren with a useless car and an even more useless Terry. They search the woods looking for help when they notice a bright light off in the distance. The two friends decide to investigate the light and, as you would expect, hilarity ensues…well, an evil, psychedelic, exploding bird, hillbilly sodomy kind of hilarity.
On the positive side of things, Fever Night is very well shot and manages to create a very cool atmosphere throughout. Combined with the ultra funky soundtrack by Thee Oh Sees, Fever Night simply oozes style. There are many genuinely creepy scenes and surprisingly enough, several outright hilarious moments in the film, which were a very welcome change of pace for someone like myself whose patience with disorienting psychedelic montages grows thin very quickly.
The film is a little discombobulated at times, although admittedly my attention does tend to wander during the more LSD-inspired scenes. Perhaps I should have dropped a few tabs of acid and put on “Dark Side of the Moon,” I don’t know. There are also a few times where it becomes clear that the filmmakers had a difficult time restraining themselves while playing with the special effects. There are several scenes where instead of adding to the atmosphere, the effects are downright distracting. Not a George Lucas level of distracting, but mildly annoying nonetheless.
To my surprise, Fever Night is actually a pretty entertaining film. As I said earlier, it definitely isn’t a film which I would’ve normally sought out, but I am glad it was brought to my attention; the touching tribute to Deliverance notwithstanding. You should definitely check it out if you consider yourself a fan of independent horror, Italian psychedelic horror, or just Satan in general. Hmm, that’s odd. For some strange reason I now have the overwhelming urge to sacrifice a hamster to Ba’al. Weird, huh?
Reviewed by Derek Miller
Posted December 23, 2009
Video Clip – Trailer (Warning foul language and nudity)