Fantaspoa 2023 Review: MINORE
A Greek seaside port is slowly being invaded by mysterious creatures from the ocean floor. It is up to a small gang made up of musicians, a sailor, a bodybuilder, and one grannie to save the city from this Lovecraftian terror from the deep.
Greek director Konstantinos Koutsoliotas along with his co-writer and frequent collaborator Elizabeth E. Schuch (director of The Book of Birdie) presents a healthy dose of urban Greek culture in his third feature film, Minore.
Any display of seaside Greek bar culture is, of course, welcome. If our cinema diet is only partaking in feasts from the fantastic realm we can count the number of genre films from Greece on our hands. The safe conclusion is that our exposure to Greek culture is somewhat limited to jaunts through our local Greektown
Local residents gather at the neighborhood bar every night it seems.Everyone who works at the local sings in the band or dances for the crowd. They are led by the bar’s owner, Pantelis, (played by one-time Eurovision contestant Christos Callow. I know!!!) but they wait for a man they call Teacher. His real name is Nikodimos, and he is a master of the bouzouki. Every night a table is set for his late wife. Teacher is highly revered amongst the locals.
William is a visitor to this port. They are a sailor on shore leave but there is purpose to their visit, they are looking for the father they never knew. It might be Nikodimos. They begin their own romantic fling with Aliki, a waitress at a restaurant not far from the hotel. The stories of Nikdimos and William are supposed to play a part of the emotional investment you’re asked to make in this film. They are what makes you care about anyone in Minore.
Meanwhile, tremors shake through the night and contorted spikes rise out of the ocean. Some residents fall under the spell of a siren song and walk into the sea. It also takes some time before skinned corpses begin to show up on shore. Quite some time. More on that in a moment.
A lot of time was spent in the opening act guessing what type of genre Minore is supposed to be, only to come back later and find that it has been billed as a horror comedy. Comedy is subjective so saying that we did not find Minore funny will be taken with a grain of salt. But we know funny and for something to be touted as such and not make us laugh a whole lot? Um…
We understand that there can be little idiosyncrasies in each culture that may be missed by our foreign eyes and ears but the bigger picture must always be the aim to reach out to a global audience. There was not much broad humor to be found here.
The horror is good. Whatever is rising out of the ocean is coming to shore and stripping locals of their flesh, leaving sticky corpses in their wake. Those are done pratically who does not love a corpse stripped of its flesh?
Otherwise Minore builds on its goofy premise by giving goofy special effects that come across ten years too late. This has to be on purpose because Koutsoliotas’ primary job in film has been in special effects and he has been on many award winning teams over the years. There is joy to be found in those moments of on-par computer effects, watching our heroes battle imaginary creatures in the sky above.
When the creatures finally show themselves they are Lovecraftian in nature - tentacles tentacles tentacles - with big clusters of eyes. Think calamari raise in the wastewater of a nuclear power plant. Ah, and they can fly as well. It is a silliness that we had to wait a very long time for.
Is the destination worth the journey? The main issue with Minore is a balance of character and horror action. It simply takes way too long time for things to start ramping up. Minore is nearly two hours long and a lot of the characte setting elements - nights out with Aliki, singing and dancing at the bar - repeat themselves needlessly.
While it is always cool to have the air of Lovecraftian mystery floating in the air, and in this case on the water, Minore ponders the mystery of the invasive species for way too long before anything really horrific begins to happen. Sure, everything escalates quickly from the sight of the first tentacles but Minore treads water for such a long time it risks losing casual viewers who wouldn’t have the same commitment to watching it through to the end like this reviewer has.
For those who make it through to the end, Minore’s ridiculous climactic act - the banding together of the comical cadre - may just save your viewing experience.
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