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Sundance Review: Andrew Bowser’s ‘Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls’

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Genre comedies are a mixed bag, and for every cult gem like 2010’s Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, the Sundance Midnight strand has been known to throw in a bomb.

In its opening moments, Andrew Bowser’s fourth feature threatens to be such a write-off, with achingly broad comic strokes and jokes that don’t really land as Bowser introduces his leading man: himself.

The awkward slapstick tone is reminiscent of very early Peter Jackson—notably his wonky debut, Bad Taste—but once the story gets underway, and other characters join the frame, things become demonstrably better.

To such a degree that the style and production values mature faster than Jackson’s did, blossoming into a likable romp reminiscent of the director’s first real studio movie, The Frighteners (1996).

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