Firstly, I’d just like to start off by saying thanks to the trio of French Candian film makers in, Camille Monette, Roxane De Koninck and Keenan Poloncsak for allowing me access to an online screener of their 14 minute, Horror/Splatter short “Termitator”. Termitator sees four young adults head to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of heavy drinking and partying. What they’re not prepared for is a recently transformed logger whose become an infected humanoid-termite mutant. The film stars Luce Cossette, Nadim Mahi-Bahi, Stéphane Dumais, Sara Piché-Sénécal, Keenan Poloncsak and Rico Beaudouin.
I didn’t know what to expect going into Termitator (which sounds a lot like Terminator), but it quickly became apparent what type of horror film this was going to be. Co-Director, De Koninck also served as the director of photography and she displays some solid technical know-how. Whilst everything is pretty simple shot setup-wise, the framing is consistent and there’s some really slick shots, such as the one of the loggers boots. Termitator’s photography is aided by a lovely forest backdrop with its very own lake. The film looks as if it were shot in 5K and I certainly wasn’t expecting that sort of quality from a micro-budget independent film. The foley or sound design appeared to be all natural and plenty loud enough in the mix. The acting is serviceable despite the clear lack of experience from the cast. Gore Addict FX, but more appropriately fellow Co-Director, Camille Monette was responsible for the practical blood and gore effects. The film boasts some extremely ambitious but well conceived splatter effects that see plenty of faces melted over the course of the 14 minutes. This team made impressive prosthetic pieces with flaps that they could fill with all types of goo and gunk, making for a colorful but disgusting ooze fest. The kills aren’t necessarily the best but I did like the practical ankle chop. There’s also a half-naked girl with a chainsaw in the movie that plays on the TV in the beginning. She proceeds to castrate a man, its bloody and effective but I don’t think it would’ve taken so long to get through said appendage with an instrument such as that. The termite creature himself (played by the third Co-Director, Poloncsak) looked great. We witness the metamorphosis process that sees him infected by the termites, and eventually it leads to a full head-piece mask for the remaining action sequences.
There’s a couple of technical issues in Termitator, but that’s to be expected in this brand of independent film making. There’s a number of brief lapses where the camera loses focus and the dialogue audio appears a little low at the start of the film. The volume accompanying the horror movie that’s playing on the TV is a little too loud too and it drowns out the dialogue track. A handful of people were credited for the music, which unfortunately never really settles on just one style. There’s thrash metal and synth, as well as some off beat stuff, resulting in a less than stellar score. The only noticeably weak moment in Keenan’s performance was the awkward scream he lets out during the mutation scene. The dialogue and unsympathetic characters are quite obviously the worst parts of Termitator. The latter isn’t so much of an issue though, because let’s face it, the film is 14 minutes long and audiences are mostly just interested in the action and the effects. However, the dialogue isn’t so easy to excuse. It’s your standard throw away crap that simply aims to only further reinforce what we already know about how much these young adults want to get wasted and do drugs. That’d be somewhat understandable if they were actually attempting to escape something in their lives, but they have no lives. In the beginning they’re shown at home already drinking and doing drugs, so it begs the question, Why the little camping excursion if you’re only going to continue to do what you were already doing? There’s other head scratching details like one of the girls dropping a laxative in her girlfriends beer… uh why? Why would you do that to a supposed friend? The women characters in Termitator acted more like men and it was weird.
Termitator reminds me of Peter Jackson’s early work like “Bad Taste” by way of the stuff that Italian company Necrostorm put out e.g “Adam Chaplin” and “Taeter City”. The cinematography is pretty polished, the sound design is sharp and most of the acting is serviceable. Gore Addict’s FX are certainly the key selling point, the film almost serving solely as a show reel for their talents. I can’t praise the use of practical fx enough and the creature design is sure to thrill fans of a good fashion splatter film with a monster at the centre of it. Not all of the technical facets are perfect and the score fails to generate any real sense of atmosphere. Big chunks of the dialogue are weak and trashy, and all of the characters are built around the same framework which makes them quite ordinary to watch. In addition, the one girl doesn’t seem to like her supposed friend all that much (otherwise why drop a lax tab in her beer) and the whole reasoning behind the camping trip remains a mystery. Despite it’s shortcomings, Termitator should please the horror crowd due to the copious amount of goo and melting bodies just don’t expect much in the way of character or story. I look forward to seeing what this trio does next! Keep an eye out for this one soon!
My rating for “Termitator” is 6.5/10