Noah (Dimitri Thiviaos) is about to have a very bad day in H4Z4RD an energetic action film from Belgium that boasts a really dark sense of humour and serves as the second film in Toronto After Dark’s opening lineup, having its Canadian Premiere.
Driven by a Euro-pop-techno beat, we catch up with Noah, who loves his girlfriend, and his daughter Zita (Mila Rooms), but when he goes for a spin in his tricked-out Lexus with his recently released from prison dirtbag brother, Carlos (Jeroen Perceval), things go sideways very fast as he becomes the driver in a heist he wanted no part of. He’s one of a trio, just there to keep a look out and drive, but when he misses an arrival, the group is on the run, but his vanity plates are something he didn’t take into account and the wronged party is after him with a vengeance.
Bloody, violent, absurdist and damned funny, the film rockets along, pedal to the metal. Through the course of the day, both the car and its passengers become increasingly beat up, until, as the film ends, Noah is in as bad a shape as his car.
But that isn’t going to stop him from tracking down and saving his daughter, no matter what it takes. And believe you me, some of the things he has to take on beggar belief, as there are run-ins with old teachers, trash collectors, and tripping brothers.
This is bound to be a crowd please at the festival, and it’s a great way to welcome new and returning fans to my favourite film festival.
Fronting this film is the Canadian short, Cruise from Sam Rudykoff that shows us what happens on the other end of the phone when you receive what you think is yet another scam call. It’s cute, short, and well-executed (pun intended?) and perfectly sets the tone for what’s to follow.
And if you missed Prey for the Devil, the opening night film, you also missed a chance to see The Cradle by Massimo Meo, a moody, and unnerving short that raises more questions than it answers and in its short runtime of three and a half minutes really puts one on edge.
The festival is underway, which means I’ll see you After Dark!