Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Birthday (2004)

I think it was in 2005, me and Markus Widegren was at the Fantastic Film Festival in Lund showing our latest masterpiece, Kraftverk 3714, for a small audience (I mean, who pays for watching a DV-shot indie-movie? Very few I can tell you…). That was of course the worst thing with the festival, because there’s nothing more terrible that watch your movie with some unknown folks who won’t understand everything. The best thing was that we had the opportunity to watch a lot of movies for free! Yay! One of them was The Birthday, a Spanish movie with Corey Feldman and Jack Taylor!

Mr Feldman is Norman Forrester, a VERY geeky and nervy pizzeria-employee who’s gonna meet his girlfriends parents for the first time. Everything would probably be alright if it wasn’t for her father’s birthday, where everything must be perfect. It’s held in an old house, a skyscraper, that he built 37 years ago and now will be demolished in one week. Something is wrong already from the beginning, Norman’s girlfriend seems very nervous and almost hostile against his presence – which is crap for him, he’s just bought her an engagement ring for every penny he saved. But that’s a problem that can be solved compared for the next big thing during the party: every waiter is members of a dangerous sect, waiting for their god to be born again any minute! Now it’s up to Norman and some unexpected friends to stop the sect, get the girl and save the guests…

Badly distributed since its release, I’ve been trying to find a DVD release ever since. Finally it was released in Germany and thanks heavens, it was even better than the first time. This is a very quirky comedy, a black comedy with hints of horror and sci-fi. Everything is set inside a cool art deco hotel and with long dialogue scenes, extremely stylish takes and weird slapstick this is surely something very unique. Corey Feldman (in his best performance ever!) channels Jerry Lewis as Norman and is a perfect opposite to Jack Taylor’s robot-voiced, always angry father and the emotionally disastrous girlfriend, played by Erica Prior. Even if some of the supporting actors borders to overacting, it fits perfect in the mood of the movie. Wonderful faces can save even an uneven performance.

The story has an amazing build-up, from something that just could be a fun little comedy to something totally over-the-top. The finale is fantastic with a great use of sound (something that more or less made us deaf during the cinema, so it was nice to be able to control the volume in the safety of my home) and without any real special effects, just cool ideas and stylish camera work.

The Birthday is a very underrated movie that deserves a good, wide release on DVD and Blu-Ray. Come one distributors, pick it up – it’s worth it!

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