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TIFF 2015 Movie Review: February

When I say the word “horror” there’s an automatic connection to bad B-movie cinema. That’s not a snub, it’s just a perception of the genre as a whole. Whether it’s fair or not is an entirely different story, but there’s no denying that no one will think of the genre and wonder if it will rivalThe Exorcist, or films in other genres, like The Godfather or Casablanca.

But a few films have transcended that bias with The Shining and Psycho coming to mind. February is a film which reaches for those lofty films and directed by Norman Bates actor Anthony Perkins’ son, Osgood Perkins (Oz)

The film centers around three young girls, two of which are stranded at a private school over the break at the end of February. Rose, played by Lucy Boynton, is a senior who lies to the administration about her parents coming to pick her up so she can spend a few days with her boyfriend.

Kat, played by Kiernan Shipka, plays a quiet girl who has some creepy visions. Her parents also don’t show up to pick her up from the school, and aren’t available by phone.

The third girl is Joan, played by Emma Roberts, who is making her way towards the school, after being given a ride by an older couple on their way to lay flowers where their daughter passed away years before.

February is eerily shot from a screenplay that tries to elevate itself from a generic slasher pic with very talented actors. With the exception of a few scares and several eerie scenes, the film is ultimately a bore.

Director Osgood Perkins seems to try to drain as much drama from each scene and get as flat a performance from the actors as he possibly can. The film seems to drag very slowly through much of it’s 93 minute runtime and I couldn’t help wonder if the film would have been far better as a short.

In the end, the three points of view intersect but after the film ends I couldn’t help but think to myself, “so what?” Perkins can invoke a tense mood but seems to lack a narrative punch to get the audience to care.

2 out of 5 stars.

Image: Paris Film

Here's the trailer: