Monday 28 August 2023

REVIEW: Minore (2023) from acclaimed director and visual effects maestro Konstantinos Koutsoliotas

Review By Jon Donnis
"Minore," from acclaimed director and visual effects maestro Konstantinos Koutsoliotas, is a true marvel in the realm of horror cinema. Drawing on his expertise from collaborations on iconic films like "Cabinet of Curiosities," "1917," and "Guardians of The Galaxy," Koutsoliotas delivers an authentically Greek masterpiece that seamlessly weaves terror, folklore, and spectacular effects into a nightmarish tapestry. I say authentic, as I am Greek, so you can trust me on that.

The film introduces us to sailor William, portrayed by the talented Davide Tucci, who sets foot on the shores of Greece with a mysterious purpose. Amidst the vibrant tavernas and lively locals, he forms a connection with Aliki (Daphne Alexander), a trained dancer who is reluctantly working as a waitress in the bustling town. Their pursuit of Teacher whose real name is Nikodimos (Meletis Georgiadis), a master of the bouzouki, becomes intertwined with an eerie mist that heralds the invasion of otherworldly monsters.

As the town plunges into chaos, the film transitions from romantic intrigue, a man searching for the father he never knew, could it be Teacher?, to a fight for survival. William and Aliki, joined by an eclectic group of locals, including the charismatic bar owner Pantelis (Christos Callow), must stand against the horrific creatures that emerge from the depths. What follows is an epic battle, encompassing everyone from musicians to tourists, as they unite to preserve their way of life.

The Good:
At the forefront of "Minore" lies its undeniable strengths. The horror special effects are nothing short of "magnificent fun", capturing the Lovecraftian essence of monstrous beings that creep out of the abyss. The tentacles, a recurring motif, are a testament to Koutsoliotas' prowess in creating eerie visuals that both awe and terrify. The creatures, with their weird eyes and multiple tentacles, evoke a deep-seated unease, adding an unforgettable layer to the film's atmosphere. Might also make you think twice the next time you sit down for calamari.

Each character that appears gets chance to tell a story, Teacher who sets an empty table for his late wife, a grandmother who dreams of her past, an so on.

Furthermore, "Minore" embraces its Greek roots with unparalleled authenticity. The movie perfectly captures the essence of a small coastal town, its people, music, and traditions. The bouzouki melodies and rebetiko soundtrack imbue the film with an unmistakable local flavour, creating an immersive experience that transports the audience to the heart of Greece, and personally takes me back to many a night sat in such places.

In many ways a lot of this film is more about the local Greeks, and if you stopped watching before the monsters turn up, the film would be decent in its own right.

A special shout out to the grandmother character, she is epic, and the scene with a therapist had me laughing out loud, I wont spoil it, but it was horror comedy at its best!

The Bad:
While "Minore" excels in its visual storytelling, some instances of dodgy CGI do surface. However, these minor shortcomings are easily overshadowed by the film's grandeur and narrative prowess.

"Minore" is a cinematic marvel that effortlessly combines Greek authenticity, some really fun visual effects, and a haunting musical score. Koutsoliotas' deft direction transports viewers into a realm where the ordinary collides with the extraordinary, resulting in a blood-soaked tapestry of fantasy, folklore, and dark humour. Despite minor CGI hiccups, "Minore" stands tall as a unique and mesmerizing monster movie that pays homage to its heritage while carving its own niche in the horror genre. With its nightmarish creatures, gallant battles, and echoes of Greek tradition, "Minore" is an experience that should not be missed by fans of horror and cinematic artistry alike, and although you might think I would be biased being Greek, trust me I will always be the biggest critic of any film that uses Greek culture, and I loved it.

I score Minore a very strong 9/10.

Keep an eye on the site for release information, coming soon!