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  • Rev Horror

Twisted Fates

Dir. Ron Ford, Bob Olin, & Joe Sherlock (2012)

Three tales concerning stalkers, sitters, and sorority sisters come together in this anthology by three talented indie directors.

I decided to spend this week covering some more films from Joe Sherlock and his Skullface Astronaut production company, but this one is a little bit of a cheat. Indie provocateurs Ron Ford and Bob Olin join Sherlock in this anthology film, with one film from each director providing a glimpse behind the curtain of their three very different (and highly entertaining) styles. Sherlock himself is no stranger to making his own self-sustaining anthology films, so this one fits like a glove with the rest of his filmography.

Like most anthologies, Twisted Fates starts with a wraparound segment to introduce the different shorts that make up the rest of the film. In this case, it's a dominatrix who kidnaps two door-to-door Jesus salesmen and forces them to listen to her tales of terror. The first story involves Tina (Athena Demos, Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog), a young woman who believes she has a peeper and is determined to do something about it. She's not a woman to be trifled with. The second tale, about two joggers in the woods who are abducted by hooded men, is twisty and fucked up. As much Last House on the Left as it is anything, it's a violent subversion on the backwoods slasher genre that works surprisingly well. Finally, the last short is about a woman named Kelsey (Michelle Mahoney) who agrees to house-sit for a couple heading out on a trip who discovers the house has secrets of its own.

The wraparound in the film is the least serious of the bunch, sort of a twist on the Tales from the Darkside wraparound where someone has to tell stories to escape being eaten. In this case, it's the captor who tells the stories, with a couple of Mormon missionaries being forced to listen to these tales before God-knows-what happens to them. It's well-done, to be sure, but it takes more of a comical indie bent to it than what follows. The other three shorts are almost wholly serious, and the film is all the better for it. Indie horror is usually more tongue-in-cheek or completely farcical, so it was nice to see a film that told three different stories that are each actually spooky in their own right.

The film definitely has some shortcomings. The audio is a little rough at times, a common element in a lot of indie films with smaller budgets to process things like a studio would. There's also a dearth of gore throughout most of the film, with much more devotion to creating a twisty story than to drawing in typical horror fans. The last short in the film, which is also the longest, drags a bit at times because of its ghost-story plotline, and while it's perhaps even more well-made than the two that precede it, it's also probably the weakest from a scares perspective. You always want an anthology film to close on a high note, and this one unfortunately doesn't.

There's also a lot to love here. The acting is pretty good from everyone in the film, an unfortunate rarity in indie horror. The stories themselves are also compelling and intriguing, sort of a mystery/horror blend that works very well within the film's setup. They're three stories (and a wraparound) developed by directors and writers who know how to tell a good story, and that's readily apparent to the film's audience throughout. One of the things that I love about Joe Sherlock's films is that you know when you turn one on, you're going to get a quality product. It may or may not be something that strikes your fancy, but it's good for the audience who would be drawn to his films every single time. Twisted Fates is no different, and the trio of Sherlock, Ron Ford, and Bob Olin do a great job of presenting a watchable and entertaining trio of tales that show off their filmmaking prowess.

Who this movie is for: Indie anthology fans, Twisty horror devotees, Jehovah's Witnesses

Bottom line: Twisted Fates is a watchable indie horror anthology with a trio of really interesting stories. If you couldn't tell by the title, each contains a bit of a twist away from expectations, and all three of the main shorts do a great job of delivering these twists in a way the audience doesn't expect. If you're a fan of Joe Sherlock, Skullface Astronaut, or homegrown indie horror in general, I definitely recommend checking it out. You can grab a copy at Skullface Astronaut's website or stream the film directly to your devices through their Vimeo store.

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