The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival coverage continues!

The unholy bastard mash-up child of an extreme hoarders show, a house-flipping series, and a paranormal investigation program, The Hoard (directed by Jesse Thomas Cooke and Matt Wiele) peppers its reality television tropes with sly humour and some jarringly gross practical effects. The premise is simple — the cast of a new reality TV show, Extremely Haunted Hoarders, descends upon a rural Ohio town to investigate and de-clutter a trio of houses owned by a gruff but loveable hoarder named Murph (perfectly portrayed by Barry More).

The production team consists of Sheila (Lisa Solberg), an organizational expert and interior designer; Dr. Ebe (Tony Burgess, who also co-wrote the script), a psychologist; Duke (Marcus Ludlow), The Falcon (Justin Darmanin), and Charles Ivey (as himself), the house-flippers; and the ghost hunters, Chloe (Elma Begovic) and Caleb (Ry Barrett and his eyebrows).

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If it sounds like a lot, don’t worry — much like the reality TV shows being spoofed, the film breaks the action down into manageable segments focused on the work of each team as they strive to organize, exorcise, and psychoanalyze the clutter and chaos before the overzealous county by-law officer (Jesse Thomas Cook) condemns the properties. The Hoard gleefully revels in its gross-out humour, but it also offers a smartly-executed parody of banal reality television. As someone who has been forced to watch entirely too many episodes of Fixer Upper while visiting the family home, I found The Hoard to be a refreshing (and personally cathartic) viewing experience.

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The Hoard was preceded by the Canadian premiere of A Fistful of Molars (2018). This engaging short tale by writer-director Ryan Couldrey follows the exploits of an enterprising young girl (Darby Butcher) whose imagination (and avarice) are sparked when she learns about the tooth fairy and the possibility of trading teeth for cash. What could possibly go wrong?

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