GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Artists in Agony: Hitmen at the Coda Teahouse (2021)

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.

Artists In Agony: Hitmen at the Coda Teahouse (2021): This mockumentary follows four hitpeople who all died in the infamous Coda Teahouse Massacre: Frosty (Jason Frost), a new father balancing killing with child-rearing; stay-at-home mother Lucien Mercy (Ariadne Shaffer); Red Rick (Pall McQueen, but there’s also a musical version played by Paul Byrne) and his apprentice Lady Faith (Kate Huffman, but again, there’s a musical version of this character played by Liz Fenning).

A documentary crew has been following each of them to this final moment and shows how things got here and just how everything got so out of hand. The entire doc is narrated by ex-CIA Agent Jonathan Sully (Chance Hand) and explains how the greatest artist — as this movie refers to killers for money — Rockstar (Frank Kitchin) just may have killed them all.

Director Kenneth Lui has an interesting concept here and excels at the action scenes in this. It just feels like so many ideas and the mockumentary format keeps getting broken so that we’re in the loop on every thought of every character instead of letting the action play itself out. It also feels way longer than its runtime, as every time it feels like it’s nearing a moment of clarity or resolution, there’s still so much longer to go.

You can learn more at the official web site.

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