04th Apr2019

Glasgow Frightfest 2019: ‘The Hoard’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lisa Solberg, Tony Burgess, Barry More, Ry Barrett, Elma Begovic, Marcus Ludlow, Justin Darmanin, Jesse Thomas Cook | Written by Tony Burgess, Jesse Thomas Cook, Matt Wiele | Directed by Jesse Thomas Cook, Matt Wiele

the-hoard-poster

The ultimate reality show turns into a deadly nightmare, as a crew of TV personalities, including Sheila Smyth (Lisa Solberg), a professional organizer; Dr. Lance Ebe (Tony Burgess), a psychotherapist with an alarming patient relapse rate of 94%; ghost hunters Caleb and Chloe Black (Ry Barrett and Elma Begovic); and renovators Derek ‘Duke’ Jago (Marcus Ludlow) and The Falcon (Justin Darmanin), attempt to reform a legendary hoarder who owns four condemned and haunted properties. It’s the pilot episode for their comeback series ‘Extremely Haunted Hoarders.’ What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out a lot!

OK, confession time. When I’m sat in front of my laptop, planning out posts for this very site, I often put trashy TV on for background noise. Which means I’ve seen my fair share of reality TV, including the hoarding shows The Hoard aims to spoof and its safe to say the filmmakers behind this film have got it spot on; almost as if they had first-hand experience with the genre! Yet whilst they may not have experience making the kinds of TV shows this film parodies, the filmmakers behind The Hoard do have one hell of a pedigree. Between them they have been responsible for the likes of the gloomy Septic Man, the fun Monster Brawl, and the creepy The Hexecutioners...

But who knew from that resume of horror that the duo of Cook and Wiele could pull off the perfect pastiche-come-parody of reality TV?

For that’s what The Hoard is for the most part, playing out for the majority of its runtime as one of those terrible, and terribly faked, reality TV shows that clog up the airwaves (Zombie House Flipping I’m looking at you) – and as the situation(s) play out you never really know whether there is something weird going on or if the cast of misfits are just that stupid that they’re mistaking everyday happenings as spooky goings-on.

Yet even when the horror of The Hoard opens up your still not quite sure if the terror is real or faked for the Extremely Haunted Hoarders cameras. That is until the proverbial sh*t hits the fan! And when things do get real, well Cook and Wiele unleash the kind of gory, splat-stick horror that made Monster Brawl such fun; complete with a terrifically putrid looking “monster” and practical effects that harken back to the over-the-top goriness of films like Re-Animator and Brain Dead.

With a cast that throw themselves into their characters with aplomb – including Tony Burgess who acts in this film alongside co-writing it with Cook and Wiele (and who also penned the superb Pontypool) – as the film generates superb sense of pathos for this motley crew DESPITE the characters own stupidity and unlikeability in some cases. Meaning that the audience becomes completely invested in the entire proceedings, in many ways the complete antithesis of traditional reality TV tropes (a lot of times we’re positioned to hate reality TV “stars” rather than love them). Which meant that, for me, The Hoard was easily my favourite film of this years Glasgow Frightfest, appealing to both the comedy fan AND the horror fan in me, in much the same way as a LOT of genre movies did in the 80s – the kinds of genre movies I grew up feverishly renting from the local video store. And, honestly, there’s no easier way to make me love a film than to remind me of how (and to some extent why) I fell in love with horror in the first place!

***** 5/5

The Hoard screened at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Saturday 2nd March, as part of Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019.

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