Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival 2019
Alexandre Bourgeois, Munro Chambers, Ajay Friese, Madison Iseman, Paloma Kwiatkowski, Evan Marsh, Jenny Raven
Get ready for a bittersweet cocktail of DEGRASSI, punk rock and S. E Hinton. Scratch (BATES MOTEL’s Paloma Kwiatkowski) and her girlfriend Nat (JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE’s Madison Iseman) fend for themselves with a band of friends and family in an alternative, mid-’90s, post-apocalyptic world in which the adult population has been decimated by a deadly plague. When Nat’s brother Jack (Alexandre Bourgeois) is captured by a rival gang led by the devious jock Jeremy (played by Canadian genre favourite Munro Chambers of DEGRASSI, TURBO KID and KNUCKLEBALL), Nat, Scratch and the lovable new member of the community Sony (Ajay Friese of Netflix’s THE ORDER) set out to save him. The three young punks now must brave enemy territory and face off against an armed-to-the-teeth squadron of fascist jocks sporting letterman jackets and a whole lot of squarehead hatred.
Jovanka Vuckovic is no stranger to the genre universe, having most recently lit up the world stage with her segment of XX (2017), while her debut short, THE CAPTURED BIRD (2012), co-executive produced by none other than Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro, was an international festival favourite in its day. The iconoclastic, long-running former editor of Rue Morgue Magazine, Vuckovic’s horror background is apparent throughout RIOT GIRLS in her use of gory practical effects, yet for her long-awaited feature debut (scripted by LOST IN SPACE’s Katherine Collins), she’s chosen a project that intentionally flies against expectations. At its core, RIOT GIRLS is a punchy, poppy tribute to girlhood that raises a studded middle finger against classism and conformist culture. Packed with punk rock anthems and comic-book undertones, this film is a love letter to teenaged misfits everywhere. – Justin Langlois