On Richard Bates Jr.’s Trash Fire (2016)

by Kayann Mitchell

I don’t know if y’all had the opportunity to see the fantastic little film Excision when it debuted in 2012. Richard Bates Jr.‘s blood soaked horror gem. If not, go, now, and behold greatness, I’ll wait… Did you go? Good! Because that should have you ready to experience Mr. Bates Jr’s latest journey into madness Trash Fire, which made its Toronto big screen debut at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival allowing me the dubious honour of seeing what turned out to be one of my favourites of 2016.

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We open with Owen (Adrian Grenier) baring his soul on the psychiatrist’s couch. But as we pan back we see his shrink is less than invested in what’s being confessed, and what Owen is divulging is some deep dark trauma that is clearly not enough to keep his doctor intrigued sending him into a tailspin of profanity and hilarity. Next we meet Owen’s long suffering girlfriend Isabel (Angela Trimbur), who has clearly had enough of his shit and leaves Owen to his own devices over a romantic anniversary dinner. From here we very clearly see a laundry list of Owens’ faults. The least of which being he isn’t big on family, not Isabel’s and most certainly not his own. But when Isabel throws down an ultimatum of family or bust Owen has no choice but to acquiesce.

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And that my loves is where things go spectacularly to shit. But just how and why I wont say. Why ruin such a glorious surprise? Having the pleasure of seeing this pitch black horror comedy with a theatre packed with genre fans, added to the experience. Be warned though, there are no jump scares or eerie goings on. This a rapier sharp film that takes aim at everyone in it with absolutely no mercy. And it’s a funny movie that will leave you wincing and guessing until the very end. And friends it’s quite the ending. Richard Bates Jr. is a fresh and innovative new voice in horror and I’m on tenterhooks waiting for what his twisted vision brings forth next.

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