"My life really is turning into a horror movie. And you know how they end." Coming-of-age movies are especially resonant today, since so many people hold the entertainment from their childhoods sacred in this treacherous land of remakes and reboots... but every now and then, we will get something like today's hardcore double feature. These are both coming of age movies, but they are not washed with nostalgia, rose-tinted glasses, or good old days rhetoric. These movies are unwholesome descents into depravity, through the lens of young boys confronting adulthood.
FOUND. Marty is a horror obsessed fifth grader, and he's dealing with a lot. Despite being a good kid, he's bullied unfairly, and lacks friends... and he has just discovered that his older brother, Steve, is a serial killer who keeps an assortment of heads in a bowling ball bag. This is a really grim movie. It takes it's time, building on drama over frights and never giving in to typical slasher scares. Really, if it weren't for the last ten minutes, I would hesitate to call this a horror movie. Until then, it's more of a mystery. But when this film gets going, it's a horrifying and disturbing experience with a conclusion that will leave you shaking. I adore Found. It's an incredibly low budget film that crafts a realistic experience with very little. The performances are solid, the shocks are tangible, and the narrative is haunting and poetic.
PIG PEN: Written and directed by Jason Koch, Pig Pen is a gritty revenge story. 13 year old Zach has to grown up fast when his mother's sadistic boyfriend, Wayne, boots him out of the house. Living on the streets isn't easy, and one violent act after another sets Zach on a confrontational path back home. This one is insanely gory and harsh, with sequences that have to be seen to be believed. It pushes itself into territory you never expect it too, but never sacrifices its down-to-earth vibe to do so. It's a very masculine movie, focusing on the conflict between two very different men and the blurred lines between aggression and vengeance. Pig Pen was a complete surprise and has gone unrecognized for too long.