[Atlanta Film Festival] New Horror Releases: Fat Tuesday (2018) - Reviewed

Fat Tuesday screened at ATLFF

Screened at the Atlanta Film Festival is the horror film Fat Tuesday, written and directed by Louisiana native Jorge Torres-Torres. Filmed on location during the final days of Mardi Gras, a hitchhiker infiltrates a group of friends with the intent of murdering her unsuspecting victims during the event. It’s a gritty slow-burn flick that is reminiscent of the realistic portrayals of serial killers in films such as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Be My Cat: A Film for Anne. While it doesn’t quite live up to the greatness of those films, it has enough raw and violent moments to make it worthy of at least one viewing.

The story is as bare bones as you can get, so don’t expect strong character development or an overly compelling story. Equal parts documentary and narrative feature, Fat Tuesday is as much about the event of Mardi Gras and the interesting group of attendees and the unique host of performers as it is about the killer and her victims. Basically consisting of one night of partying, the audience follows around this group of friends as they are methodically picked off by this woman who we know nothing about.

It is a low budget feature that relies on a raw documentary style, you could even compare it to a found footage movie. So there is a large amount of shaky camera movements that are common within the found footage subgenre, or what you might see in guerrilla style documentary film-making. If you’re not a fan of these, then you should probably stay away from this. There isn’t any particularly strong camera techniques used, which is most likely a creative decision in order to achieve the most realistic shots possible. But, there are still several cinematic sequences, mostly tied into the kill scenes.

The acting is decent and is pretty much what you would typically expect from a low budget guerrilla style production like this, with all of the actors coming off as believable and real people. There’s nothing in their performances that would make you think they are anything more than a group of friends out partying. The only exception is the mysterious serial killer played by Hannah Gross (Netflix’s Mindhunter). While we don’t really learn anything about her character, it’s the air of mystery surrounding her that makes her a compelling villain. Gross’s character shows a remarkable ability of assimilating into groups and using her feminist charm and attractiveness to make people feel at ease. Then like a cat toys with a mouse, she plays with her prey until she’s finally ready to devour them.

The gore and violence should please most horror fans expecting a great deal of bloodshed, as the blood flows despite the low body count. These are by far the best and most impressive scenes of the film, with an effective combination of score and editing to create some haunting moments.

Overall, Fat Tuesday has an interesting villain and enough bloodshed to merit at least one viewing, but it is unlikely to be as memorable as other great realistic serial killer films. 

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-Raul Vantassle