Vampires on the Gardiner, Red Spring kicks off fun-fueled Blood In The Snow indie fest

By Jim Slotek

Rating: B-plus

First, they took Toronto. Then they took Barrie. Now the last stand against the eradication of mankind by vampires is in… Kincardine, Ontario.

That’s the set-up for Red Spring, the opening night feature of the 6th annual Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival, which takes place at the Royal Cinema November 23-26.

An impressive debut directorial effort by star Jeff Sinasac (Late Night Double Feature), Red Spring is the kind of indie effort where every dollar spent is on the screen and looks like more. For a presumed budget of Canadian Tire money, Red Spring starts strong with a run-for-your-life car-chase escape from Toronto, that begins on the Gardiner Expressway and includes the flipping of a vehicle.

Blood In The Snow's Red Spring: Partly cloudy today with 100% chance of vampires tonight

Blood In The Snow's Red Spring: Partly cloudy today with 100% chance of vampires tonight

There are gun battles, fun with squibs, and finally, effective use of the horror movie trope of holding out in an enclosed space – in this case, a makeshift bomb shelter on the aforementioned shores of Lake Huron.

In Red Spring, Sinasac plays Ray, a dazed survivor of the vampire plague, who’s joined a well-armed van-full of fellow fleers and is trying to locate his missing wife and daughter. Bad news follows.

The putative leader of the northbound refugees is Mitchell (Reece Presley), a barking Canadian soldier who is basically against other people’s ideas. His plan is to keep going north until it gets too cold for vampires (has nobody seen 30 Days Of Night?). Said plan gets derailed, however, when the van people rescue a young woman motorcyclist named Vicky (Elysia White), who’s heading to her dad’s home which conveniently has a fully-stocked concrete shelter.

Shelter is a relative term, of course, and soon the gang is fighting the Kincardine Chapter of Vampires, and addressing related concerns like treating a gunshot wound.

The vampire scenes are minimal but effective, with Andre Guantanamo giving great grimace as the vamp leader. Much of what we know about them is expositional (again, budget), and there are some lost opportunities. We learn, for example, that the invaders had taken over radio and TV. So when the gang does get a TV going, you’d think instead of snow, they’d have offered us some vampire programming. It’s the kind of perverse touch a Paul Verhoeven wouldn’t have passed up.

Still, Red Spring has professional flair, and is a fine opener for a festival that makes you appreciate the power of indie vision and resourcefulness.

Also recommended at Blood In The Snow:

-Buckout Road, a slasher-in-the-woods feature by Matthew Currie Holmes, featuring Danny Glover and Colm Feore.

-The sci-fi/martial arts movie Kill Order, directed by veteran stunt coordinator James Mark (Jumper, Scott Pilgrim vs. the WorldPacific Rim).

-And the festival closer, the premiere of Darken, a fantasy-horror feature by Audrey Cummings featuring Christine Horne (Hyena Road) and Ari Millen (Orphan Black), and starring Natasha Negovanlis (Haunted Or Hoax?).