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.

Checkpoint (2022): Man, what a ride! I loved this and it made me consider all of the many, many video game characters that I’ve led to grisly deaths over the years.

A man — that’s his name and he’s played by Brett Brooks — must navigate a hostile alien world, learning with each death — which moves him back to the beginning and later to the titular checkpoint — what he needs to do to get to the next level. And then the next. At the end, he realizes that it’s all for Victoria (Erin Ownbey), who he pushed away with his greed. Yet perhaps he’s not the only person — or sin — that has done so.

Directed by Jason Sheedy, who also did the sound, editing, effects and wrote and produced the film with director of photography Matthew Noonan, Checkpoint is filled with tons of gory deaths, as well as a message and heart within. I had an absolute blast watching it — the production design is also incredible — and you should check it out too!

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