Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest Glasgow review – The Hoard

My notes on The Hoard

This found footage/reality TV pastiche horror comedy mashes up two surprisingly popular exploitative docusoap formulae that share a tendency to creep around cluttered old houses tut-tutting.  It’s supposedly an episode of ‘Extremely Haunted Hoarders’, a show that works on the premise that all those folk who never throw out newspapers or broken furniture are subject to supernatural influence.  Sheila Smyth (Lisa Solberg), a bright Australian declutter expert, bosses a team that includes pompous ass quack shrink Dr Lance Ebe (Tony Burgess), divorced ghost hunters Caleb and Chloe Black (Ry Barrett, Elma Begovic) and complete tool building contractor Duke Jago (Marcus Ludlow) and his savvier assistant ‘the Falcon’ (Justin Darmanin) who gets a lot of racist abuse for being presumably hispanic (per the name, he’s actually a proud Maltese).  They stride into the decaying, economic disaster zone town of Rockford, Ill, to tackle the case of estate auction addict Murph Evans (Barry More), a rare hoarder with multiple properties in which to stash his loot.  The gang hire a local layabout, Charles Ivey (Himself?), to fetch and carry, while a coding enforcement cop (Jesse Thomas Cook) gloats Dick Dastardly-style about the fast-approaching deadline after which he can evict Murph and condemn his properties.

Written by Burgess and Cook with Matt Wiele, and directed by Cook and Wiele, it takes a while to get past the scattershot joke phase – Duke getting a faceful of liquid shit while inspecting the plumbing is a grossout highlight – to tease out something approximating a story, as we learn more about Murph’s complicated situation and realise that there’s another entity behind his pack rat untidiness.  Everyone gets an arc, though most involve going from arrogant asshole to scared asshole to corpse – with Solberg, Burgess, Darmanin and Ivey especially teasing moments of poignance, loathesomeness or surprising heroism from the knockabout.  Ed Gataveckas is memorably repellant as Uncle Jurgis, who adds another tabloid TV hot topic (morbid obesity) into the mix, but man of the match is the enigmatic More – he’s billed as playing himself in the credits, though very definitely has a character name in the film – who is slyly sympathetic but also intriguingly creepy.

FrightFest listing.


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