TCFF 2020 Reviews: ‘Normie’ | ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us’ Mockumentary


The documentary Normie stars Annemarie Carrigan, who is a girl…no, rather, she is a young woman who is starting to come to terms with her Down Syndrome. Director Kurt Neale takes us behind the scenes in Annamerie’s life, as we learn that she is a big coffee lover and admires the Warner Bros. Television hit Gilmore Girls. But Annamerie also expresses her feelings of loneliness, and shares with us that she wants to be in love and have children. We see her talking with a magician, a pastor and a physician, who all share with her their own stories and help her understand that she’s not alone in feeling lonely or doesn’t belong because they’ve all felt it at some point in their lives.

We also meet other families with children (of various ages) who have Down Syndrome and learn about their hopes and fears for them. There are also interviews with random strangers in the park about what it means to be “normal” and if they think they fit that category. We’re also shown the solar eclipse back in 2017, and Annamarie watching it and wishing that the light fights the darkness to overcome the eclipse, foreshadowing her evolving view of her place in life.

This is a very heartwarming and poignant film that anyone can relate to. The struggles that Annamarie faces are real human emotions that almost everyone I know, including myself, have experienced. It also makes those who live their lives with Down Syndrome seem much more “normal” than even those who don’t have that genetic disorder.

I would highly recommend everyone stream this documentary from the Twin Cities Film Fest website!


If you’re looking for something fun to watch this Halloween season but are a huge chicken when it comes to horror, What Doesn’t Kill Us is perfect for you. It’s definitely more on the comedy side of horror comedy, but there’s still some fun and unique zombie makeup to keep you in the spooky mood. The mockumentary follows a few rehabilitated zombies (or necro sapiens-the more politically correct term) in their daily struggles to succeed professionally and personally in a world where they are not yet seen as equal to non-zombies.

What Doesn’t Kill Us is an incredibly fun movie. It has plenty of laugh-out-loud funny dialogue while still illiciting genuine sympathy for its characters and does a good job paralleling real life prejudice without being too heavy-handed. The script is handled excellently by a great cast; all of the acting is solid, with a couple stand-out performances from Tevia Loeser as necro sapien activist Bridget Cooper and Richard Scott as up-and-coming necro sapien baseball pro Jeremy Holland.

My only critique is that the zombie makeup looks a little underwhelming in some places. You can do plenty with just grease paint and liquid latex, and there are several creative and gross-looking wound effects throughout the movie, but there are also a lot of instances where it looks like the makeup was hastily applied and seems more like a cheap Halloween costume.

Overall, though, What Doesn’t Kill Us is an immensely enjoyable comedy and an awesome addition to the TCFF lineup. I would absolutely recommend checking it out.


(Only Available to Sponsors, Donors and Members – Reservation Required)

Thursday Oct 22nd
Black Boys,
Sonia Lowman – 6pm and 8pm

Friday Oct 23rd
Sound of Metal,
Darius Marder – 6pm and 8:45pm

Saturday Oct 24th
Sylvie’s Love,
Eugene Ashe – 6pm and 8:45pm

Friday Oct 30th
Phyllida Lloyd – 6:30pm
Uncle Frank, Alan Ball – 8:30pm

Saturday Oct 31st
, Chloé Zhao – 6pm and 8:30pm

To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit

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