Thursday, November 22, 2018

BiTS ’18: The Hoard

The Keno Brothers couldn’t handle Murph Evans and his level of hoarding. Sheila Smythe’s prospective reality show, Extreme Haunted Hoardings should be better equipped, but as Evans often points out, her team of psychologists, contractors, and ghost-hunters are mostly a bunch of idiots. Things will get ugly and maybe even deadly in Jesse Thomas Cook & Matt Wiele’s The Hoard (trailer here), which screens as part of this year’s Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival.

There is actually a somewhat intriguing horror premise buried under all of Evans’ clutter. As a compulsive hoarder, he has amassed a vast amount of stuff acquired from dead people at estate sales, thrift stores, and what have you. The mountains of junk also create veritable labyrinths that could entrap Smythe’s cast, once the entity attacks.

Right from the start, they assume some kind of haunting is going on. That is why YouTube channel paranormal investigators Chloe and Caleb Black are part of the team. They will have primary responsibility for one of Evans’ three clutter filled houses with eviction notices pending. Meathead contractor Derek “Duke” Jago and “The Falcon,” his reluctant Maltese assistant take point for the second house, while Smythe and the ridiculously pompous Dr. Lance Ebe quarterback the third property and also do their best to ride herd on Evans. Alas, they immediately fall behind, due to very human reasons, as well as possible supernatural factors.

Frankly, Hoard would be a funny film even if it were only an earthly spoof of reality shows. Barry More might just serve up the comedic performance of the year as the mordantly funny, yet still fundamentally decent Evans. In contrast, Tony Burgess is completely loathsome but still wickedly amusing, in a face-palming kind of way, as Dr. Ebe. Lisa Solberg and Justin Darmanin help round the film as the relatively normal Smythe and the Falcon.

There are probably some people who will object to exploiting a very real compulsive disorder for the sake of some laughs and all kinds of mayhem. Boo-hoo, get over it. Sly and unhinged, The Hoard is one of the best horror comedies in years. Very highly recommended for genre fans, it screens this Sunday (11/25) during BiTS 2018, in Toronto.