Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Toronto After Dark ’19: Bar Fight (short)

Anyone who ever worked retail knows there is nothing more annoying than customers who come in right before closing. That is especially true if they are death-cultists. It is only five minutes long, but this short film has some of the best fight choreography of the year. Indeed, there is quite a bit of talent packed into Benjamin R. Moody’s Bar Fight, which screens during this year’s Toronto After Dark.

It is closing time, but a pack of crazed cultists are giving the bartender no peace. Apparently, killing him is part of their twisted initiation or whatever. However, it turns out the bartender could also serve as the bouncer. He is quite capable of defending himself, as they will soon painfully learn.

And that is about it in terms of story, but who cares? The thing here is the bone-crushing action. Yet, we really do care about the bartender, because of lead actor Aaron D. Alexander’s massive screen charisma. Frankly, Bar Fight is a killer calling card for Alexander, who also serve as the fight choreographer.

We would be delighted to see Bar Fight expanded into a feature, but it would be hard for Moody to top the pure adrenaline intensity of this short. Essentially, he condenses the insanity of the cinematic tradition of Assault on Precinct 13 and similar films down to a lithe and lethal five minutes. It is more of an action film than a horror film per se, but After Dark fans are still sure to dig it.

The truth is most cult movie fans will want to re-watch it many times over, so its screening this Saturday afternoon (10/19) at Toronto After Dark is the perfect time to see it for the first time. Highly recommended, it screens as part of the International Shorts After Dark block.