Fantastic Fest: “February” succeeds with stellar performances, terrifying plot

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

Everything about “February” — it’s setting, performances and story — is absolutely spine-chilling. Writer and director Oz Perkins takes the simple premise of two girls stuck together at a boarding school during a week-long break and makes it complex and horrifying. Using a narrative that skips forward and backward in time, Perkins takes viewers on a tense rollercoaster ride that they’ll desperately want to jump off.

Knockout performances by Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka and Lauren Holly elevate the film to greatness. Roberts is quiet and subdued throughout, until she crescendos into an explosive finale. Holly delivers a performance as the popular girl who quickly morphs into a frightened child. The true star of the movie is Shipka, who portrays a mousy, insecure girl who is taken over by a demonic force, causing her to transform into a chilling monster.

“February” uses clever storytelling to craft a creepy tale. Using expert performances and stunning cinematography, the film manages to reinvent both the “exorcist” and “killer kids” subgenres.

“February”

  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: 8/10 Boarding Schools