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Carlos Prime [Celluloid 09.25.15] horror cult thriller fantasy avant-garde

[Editor's Note: Review written by Carlos O'Leary, one of our guys-on-the-ground at this year's Fantastic Fest in Austin. Watch for more coverage as the days go on!]

We’ve all felt somewhat discarded at some point in our lives, I’m sure. Refused by peers and fates alike. But nobody’s had it as rough as Liza. Despite her pristine appearance, striking beauty, and oddly collected demeanor she can’t seem to land the love of her life. It doesn’t help when you want to believe your life is an adaptation of Cinderella when it’s really Rumpelstiltskin. Because that’s how things get dark. And people start dying. And you rip your own legs off.

Okay that last part was actually just Rumpelstiltskin, not Liza, but it totally could have happened in this movie and it would have seemed completely acceptable.

Liza’s obsessed with a Murakami-style writer, dreaming and daydreaming about her one true love. Despite her attempts at courtship and interest in bizarre recipes designed to win hearts, nobody lasts that long in her life. The crooning ghost of a Japanese singer doesn’t seem to want to help her, either. Sure, he’ll dance with her and seem to be interested in her consolation when guys exit her life- but he keeps being responsible for trickery, misery, and even death!

Imagine watching Amelie and then halfway through, Casper the Friendly Ghost takes far too many mushrooms and starts wrecking your house. And he only communicates by singing in Japanese. And everybody else is speaking Hungarian.

Crisp staging and stark coloration make so much of this wonderful movie vibrantly resonate. There’s an art in making so much brutal violence strictly comical. Never once does the film have a death scene you can’t help but laugh along with. It’s clear the darkly-depicted but still lighthearted message encapsulated in a fairy tale knew what it was doing the whole time.

Touching, dreamy, and oddly full of butt-grabbing, Liza the Fox Fairy is an absolute winner. Just demented enough to give you a slow creep the whole time, but not so crazy you’d never go out with it.

Recommended Release: Amelie

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