Khumba is a young zebra who was born missing half of his stripes. Following his birth, there came a deadly drought threatening the survival of the herd and killing his mother. To his superstitious peers and his father, Khumba's unusual appearance is an extremely bad omen and he is eventually driven to run away from the herd to find water and acceptance elsewhere, leaving his only friend in Great Karoo, Tombi. On his travels, he meets a motherly wildebeest named Mama V and her wacky friend Bradley the Ostrich who are willing to travel with him and protect him from the ills of the wild, namely Phango the Leopard whose presence is a threat to every other creature in Great Karoo. He also meets Mantis, who reveals a map that could lead them to a waterhole - or will it instead lead Khumba to find his stripes?
'Khumba' is a heart-warming animated flick about that timeless message of accepting people's differences. It has been directed by Anthony Silverston in first direction, who co-wrote the screenplay alongside previous writing partner Raffaella Delle Donne ('Zambezia'). It was nominated for a Cristal award for best feature at the 2013 Annecy International Animated Film Festival and has already been released in the US.
Filmmaker Leberecht takes an intriguingly askance approach to the vampire genre with this dark, romantic horror film, but after after a promising set-up seems unsure where to go from there. By shifting the focus from the insinuating, offbeat love story, the film becomes vacuously blood-soaked. And the initial sense of menace is much more interesting than the actual violence.
The film centres on Jacob (Kilberg), a night security guard who has a skin condition that makes him unusually sensitive to sunlight. After a strange encounter with a janitor (Walter), something changes in him and he starts craving meat, then raw meat, then blood. And when he inadvertently gets a taste of human blood, he can't control his hunger for it. In desperation, he turns to a nurse (Jonz) to get an illicit supply from a hospital. But after having a few blackouts, he worries that he's also hunting victims. Meanwhile, he hides all of this from his quirky new girlfriend Maya (Parish), who begins to suspect that something's up.
Everything about the film's opening act suggests intrigue and emotional confusion, from the darkly atmospheric camerawork to Kilberg's raw, engaging performance, which is tinged with grim wit. As he starts to suspect that he's a vampire, the film plays knowingly with cliches, injecting both comedy and freak-out moments along the way. Meanwhile, Kilberg and Parish develop a strong sense of chemistry that's far more believable than the way the script plots their relationship through a series of choppy romantic encounters.
Continue reading: Midnight Son Review
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