GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Stag (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Stag (2022): Directed and written by Alexandra Spieth, Stag is about Jenny (Mary Glen Fredrick) and her attempts to reconnect with her former best friend Mandy (Elizabeth Ramos) during a bachelorette party at a seemingly haunted campground.

What drove these friends apart? Why does Jenny have such difficulty connecting with anyone? Why are the religious beliefs of sisters Constance (Katie Wieland) and Casey (Stephanie Hogan) just so strange? Is this what it’s really like when women get together?

We can all feel for Jenny. Her only anchor in this unfamiliar territory is Mandy. There’s something unspoken that drove them in two directions yet there’s still some love between them. Yet as everyone else’s motivations are so unclear at best and malevolent at worst, it makes me glad that I skipped that bachelor party weekend I was supposed to go to last month.

What the film misses in proper lighting and color balance — the outside footage nearly washes out the movie at times — it makes up for it in writing and acting. A better budget would have done wonders, but let’s just forget that. Let’s concentrate on a movie that takes a great elevator speech — “What if Bridesmaids and Midsommer had mimosas?” — and delivers something special.

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