Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – The Weird Kidz

FrightFest review – The Weird Kidz

A kind of sweet, kind of gruesome slackerish animated horror movie with a rough-edged nostalgic feel.  Circa 1985, three kids – Dug (Tess Passaro), Mel (Glenn Bolton) and Fatt (Brian Ceely) – tag along with Dug’s older brother Wyatt (Ellar Coltrane), Wyatt’s girlfriend Mary (Sydney Wharton) and Mel’s dog Grumbles on a camping trip to Jerusalem National Park … after a set-up which feels somewhere between Meatballs and early Richard Linklater, involving stolen beer, peeping tomism and kid hijinx burning down the tent, the film shifts into psychedelia-tinged monster mode as the gang run into ‘the Night Child’, a mound-dwelling giant ant queen who is sort of worshipped by locals who get up in ant-suits and have an elaborate ritual to appease the monster which won’t be good for the kids.  The gas station proprietress (Angela Bettis) and the Sheriff (Sean Bridgers) are in on it, but one of the strengths of director Zach Passero’s script is that these apparent stereotypes aren’t that simple – the kids (or kidz) also change in ways more complicated than just losing limbs, and the constant needling and joking evolves into a warm, surprisingly affecting depiction of kid friendship.  It also has hallucinogenic green goo, grubs, and a nicely-designed main monster, realised in a handmade, cutout, South Park-ish style which still allows for quite a bit of nuance.

Here’s the FrightFest listing.



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