Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Warm-hearted, atmospheric and joyously, ridiculously gory when occasion calls for it." | Photo: courtesy of Frightfest

With its laid back attitude to life, its old men who sit outside all day playing games, its bustling taverna and its deep love of bouzouki music, Minore, one of the real treasures of 2023’s Frightfest, invites viewers to relax in a small coastal community which just oozes with Greek charm. This is a place where everybody knows everybody and where life has continued in much the same fashion for generations – despite military incursions which the local women handled with aplomb – but when a sailor walks into town, dressed in a classic blue and white uniform with a cap which bears the legend ‘Miskatonia’, horror fans will realise that something a little more out of the ordinary is about to go down.

A lively ensemble piece made with great affection for its characters, Minore packs in existential terror, lively comedy, action, romance, musical numbers and religious satire, all in under two hours. Its ostensible hero, William (Davide Tucci), has taken shore leave to go looking for the father who abandoned him long ago without a word about the greater duty which directed his destiny. Along the way, he hooks up with waitress Aliki (Daphne Alexander) and falls in with a ragtag group of locals who are striving to make sense of the strange events overtaking the town. There is something sinister out in the bay, but as he watches the lonely bouzouki player in the window of the Hotel Orpheus, he cannot yet guess the vital role that he will have to play in forthcoming efforts to save this place – and perhaps the world.

Copy picture

Warm-hearted, atmospheric and joyously, ridiculously gory when occasion calls for it, the film is far from polished, with some dodgy CGI, but it deserves to be commended for how much it has achieved on a low budget. The practical effects work is fantastic, and clever structuring means that it always gets plenty of bang for its buck. The costume budget seems to have run out early, leaving many of the male cast members without shirts, but many viewers will doubtless consider that a plus. With its collection of bodybuilders, oiled-up dancers and actual gods, it’s cheerily unsubtle. Alongside them, the local Ellinikí mafía button down their sharp cut black suits, anxious not to lose face.

It is difficult to say more without giving away important plot points, but at the same time, one might discuss this film for hours without touching on everything. Director Konstantinos Koutsoliotas and his co-writer (and wife) Elizabeth E Schuch do a fantastic job of weaving it all together and bringing us to a point where, when the final showdown takes place, we have some emotional investment in each of the 13 characters walking into the fray, as well as those busy elsewhere. The wealth of colour and detail will make you feel that you don’t want to leave, and not all of them will have the opportunity to do so.

There are any number of films out there which can outclass this on a technical level, but a film with real personality is a much rarer beast. Minore offers an experience which you won’t forget. Catch it if you can.

Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2023
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When mysterious creatures invade a Greek seaside port, a misfit band of musicians, tourists, bodybuilders and grandmothers unite to save the city.

Director: Konstantinos Koutsoliotas

Writer: Konstantinos Koutsoliotas, Elizabeth E Schuch

Starring: Davide Tucci, Daphne Alexander, Apollon Bollas, Eleftheria Komi

Year: 2023

Runtime: 111 minutes

Country: Greece

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