The movies of GIFF: select reviews

A look at select Horror films and Young Adult shorts.

Editor's Note: CL Intern Daniel Feingold and contributing writer Anthony "Sal" Salveggi took a look at some of the movies playing the Gasparilla International Film Festival this weekend, with Daniel focusing on Horror and Sal focusing on Young Adult shorts. Their reviews follow, starting with one for a flick that screened last night …]

I felt as uncomfortable watching Incubator as its main (and only) character did living through it. He wakes up in a motel bathtub full of ice with bloody operating tools in the sink and a poorly sewn up surgical wound in his side. The motel room door and window are boarded up. Sounds like a usual Friday night to me. Incubator, which screened Friday night at 10 p.m. at Muvico Centro Ybor, was listed as a B-movie horror, and that’s exactly what it was. (Take that as a compliment.) It’s a genuinely squeamish watch, and certainly high quality for this kind of flick. —DF

Director Josh Crute’s bright Knights of the Playground (screens at CinéBistro Hyde Park on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., 5 min) is a fun, honest look at the power of play to bring kids together, even during that tween age when girls are, as Kyle tells Billy, “boring.” One spunky girl comes along to prove Kyle very wrong. —AS

In The Parallax, directed by April Moore(screens CinéBistro Hyde Park on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., 5 min), rich cinematography is undermined by a prosaic, uninvolving consideration the journey from the safety of adolescence into the unknown. —AS

Director Justin Reager’s Sunshower (screens CinéBistro Hyde Park on Saturday at 12:45 p.m., 13 min) recalls quirky teen rom-coms of the ’80s, complete with stereotypically brilliant Asian who helps his friend put together a contraption that will hopefully set just the right mood for romance. —AS

In Bullet (screens at Muvico Centro Theater 10 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., 7 min), directed by Rebecca Drummond, Callie, one of the pretty, popular girls, knows there’s more to life than just being good looking, and longs to hang with the Bullets, the rough and tough girls’ softball team. Drummond shows confidence behind the camera, and gets good performances for a simple story reminiscent of after-school specials. —AS

Stylish storytelling and fine acting highlight director Rafael Salazar Moreno’s Camilo (screens at Muvico Centro Theater 10 on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., 16 min), an interesting look at dramas big and small, and what we choose to see and not see in our daily lives, told through the story of a NYC journalist hoping to cover the earthquake in Haiti. —AS

Fractured Minds (screens at CinéBistro Hyde Park on Saturday at 9:40 p.m.), makes me appreciate past horror films that I once deemed truly awful. This 30-minute production adheres to the genre’s most tiring tropes, following an unhappily married couple as they drive through the middle of nowhere on their way to a weekend vacation. They crash and wake up to find themselves tormented by some half-human, half-creature serial killer. The mindless dialogue and acting is far more terrifying than anything else found in Fractured Minds. And a clusterfuck of an ending, a failed attempt at giving the story a more profound meaning, feels completely unearned and pointless. —DF

Grounded (screens at CinéBistro Hyde Park on Sunday at noon) may be too short and vague to get its point across, but it at least makes you think. The nine-minute short centers on the last minutes of an astronaut’s life after he crashes on an exosolar planet. The impressive visuals help make this a captivating viewing experience, one that leaves viewers considering the meaning of the astronaut’s final moments. —DF

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