Three women awake, separately, in the remote wilderness. All have something in common, which is that they are searching for someone who has mysteriously disappeared. As they get their bearings, finding odd clues to where they might find those they seek, speakers on the trees announce that they’re involved in a sort of game with the simple rules of kill or be killed. If they survive, they’ll find their missing loved ones. If they don’t… well, if you’re dead, not too many concerns after that point on.
As you can guess, the women aren’t alone in the woods, and the clues they’ve been given may not be in their best interest. Pink (Courtney Moore) runs afoul of a tea party of masked men, the Gentlemen (Zyan Panagopoulos, Chris Froese, Tommy Livsey), who seem as polite as they are murderous. White (Jen Kirkbride-Dobbin) finds herself at the mercies of a trio of violent women, the Public Servants (Jenn Marshall, Samala Kayzer, Amy Muc), and Black (Dorothy Dalba) winds up battling a gruesome man known as Cuddles the Bear (Andy Holmes), likely named such for the stuffed toy bear’s head he wears over his own. And just as the speakers announced, our unsuspecting heroines have a decision to make: kill or be killed.
Geoff Bunting’s short-ish film The Jamboree is as disturbingly mean-spirited as it is fun to look at. The narrative gets about as bleak as one can get, as our trio of women are victimized by violent ghouls who are, strangely enough, just as much the victim as anyone else.
Visually, the film has definitely undergone quite a bit of digital enhancement. For the most part, the backgrounds appear to be affected by what I can best describe as an effect akin to the “Poster Edges” filter in PhotoShop (if we’ve got any PS aficionados out there); everything in the background just has an almost comic book ink line look to it. The film looks good, but it also looks, on the digital effects side, pretty labor intensive at times. I could entirely be wrong, and maybe there’s some do-it-all plugin that I’m unaware of for ink lines, poster edges and/or blurring, but methinks this film got some serious frame-by-frame massaging in spots.
The Jamboree is unfortunately in that short film no man’s land as far as running time is concerned (too long for a short, too short for a feature), but the pacing is quite good and I really got into the mystery of it all. Plus, if you like a little violence and gore, the film doesn’t disappoint. The kills are good, gruesome and appropriately gory.
If one wanted to get truly meta with it, and try to figure out who the voice behind the speakers in the trees truly is, perhaps it’s just the filmmaker trying to put something good together for me, the audience, to enjoy. In which case, as much as the film deals with the questions of whether killing is acceptable as self-defense or just always unacceptable period, it also dabbles in death as entertainment. While I personally didn’t drop anyone off in the woods to kill or be killed, it doesn’t mean I don’t share the karmic guilt somewhere just by watching and enjoying the show.
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