FrightFest

A title like Sadistic Intentions comes with a certain expectation/bracing oneself, but writer-director Eric Pennycoff’s tightly wound debut is more interested in exactly what the title describes, and whether or not said intentions will come to fruition, than a violent payoff. After a shocking prologue, we watch as Chloe (Taylor Zaudtke) receives a phone call
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Stirring mental illness into supernatural horror is a tricky thing to get right. The allure of the “is this really happening?” element is understandable but it can be so dispiritingly manipulative and exploitative when done carelessly, so: hats off to director Brian Hanson and his co-writer Richard Handley for working hard to maintain ambiguity and
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The Soska Sisters return with their pointed and bloody remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid By Katherine McLaughlin 27-08-19 133 There was a moment in fashion back in 2001 when Alexander McQueen confronted the hypocrisies of the industry with his Asylum show. He literally held up a mirror to those in charge with a final reveal
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Andrew Desmond’s feature debut The Sonata, co-written with Arthur Morin, opens with composer Richard Marlow (the late Rutger Hauer) putting the finishing touches on a musical score. He then walks downstairs, heads outside into the dark night with a petrol canister and candle in hand, douses his body in the fuel and sets fire to
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The beginning of Henry Jacobson’s feature debut Bloodline seems comfortable (at least to the horror viewer) because it is so steeped in cliché. A nurse (Christie Herring) wanders an empty hospital corridor at night, thinks she hears something behind her, enters the shower room, undresses, and has a shower, while a POV shot makes it
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The oxymoronic title of Dark Light involves a paradox. Like a Buddhist koan, it announces the film as a contradictory challenge that the viewer, sitting in the dark cinema looking at the flickering light projected onto the screen, must try to resolve, even if resolution is ultimately impossible. This is an impression reinforced by the
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“They say when you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes,” says James (Adrian Glynn McMorran) in voice-over at the beginning of Volition. “I wish it were that simple.” James is practically announcing that this film, directed by Tony Dean Smith and co-written with his brother Ryan Smith, is a chronicle of a death
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“Are we safe?”, asks the voice on the radio promo. “Could we commit a crime and get away with it?” The feature debut of Pedro C. Alonso, which he co-wrote with Alberto Marini (Summer Camp, 2015), Feedback observes a near Aristotelian unity of time and place, unfolding almost entirely over the course of one evening
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Siblings Jesús (Pablo Sigal) and Maria José (Valeria Giorcelli) work symbiotically. The siblings live together in their late father’s apartment. They have their own routine. They don’t particularly want to be disturbed. So, when their half-sister Magdalena (Augustina Cerviño) arrives from Spain suggesting that dad’s death means it’s time to sell the place and split
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“The following presentation is derived from footage captured by the catastrophic reality TV pilot Extremely Haunted Hoarders,” reads text at the beginning of The Hoard, over a rapid – indeed, so rapid as to be near inscrutable – montage of monstrosity, mayhem and murder. It is not just a precise prelude of what is to
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Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein’s film opens to the distorted strains of ice cream truck music, as seven-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker) peeks out at Mr Snowcone’s blue-and-pink vehicle parked in the suburban street below. Ice cream is such a simple, tantalising pleasure, yet Chloe’s dad Henry (Emile Hirsch) pulls Chloe back from the window
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Taking place (mostly) in an isolated petrol station on the night that the Danish football team is playing in the finals of the European Championship, Finale sets itself up as a familiar – indeed timeless – tale of predatory victimisation. The station owner’s daughter Agnes (Anne Bergfeld) and disgruntled employee Belinda (Karin Michelsen) are working
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This fourth feature from Ron Carlson (All American Christmas Carol, Tom Cool, Midgets Vs. Mascots) opens with a before-and-after sequence: a young woman buys peyote from Native American Bigfoot (Michael Horse) and his diminutive sidekick Firecracker (Danny Woodburn), with a warning of ‘grave consequences’ should their client disrupt the local fauna; and then the same
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All the Colours of the Dark: Arrow Video FrightFest 2018 Horror comes in many colours and flavours. There’s Universal horror, classical horror, drive-in horror, fleapit horror, mainstream horror, alt horror, trash horror, elevated horror, ‘real horror’ and ‘not really horror’. Horror takes up residence in the castle, the woods, the laboratory, the graveyard, the hospital,
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While there was a conspicuous dearth of female filmmakers represented in FrightFest’s feature programme (of the 65 films that screened, only Natasha Kermani’s Imitation Girl, Tini Tüllmann’s Freddy/Eddy and Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard’s Radius could boast female directors), the short films showcase went a considerable way to redressing this imbalance. Programmed by Shelagh Rowan-Legg,
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