Ah yes, it’s almost the most wonderful time of the year again, and no we aren’t talking about Christmas. @2FlashGordon7 takes us through his picks of the litter...
It’s time filled with happiness, love and the laughter of children (preferably demonic children). Yes, it’s non-other than Film4 FrightFest 2014. After much waiting in anticipation, they FINALLY released the line-up for this year, and it is horrifically fan(g)tastic! (Sorry). Day/Weekend passes go on sale tomorrow (28th June), so you better have the webpage book marked or the Vue cinema box office on speed dial. I completely understand if you’re stuck on what to see, because there is so much great stuff showing! I’ve already had a number of mental breakdowns and hissy fits over deciding which day to go on whilst writing this paragraph. So here we go…
1) The Guest – Main Screen, Thursday 21st Aug, 6:20PM
Hold on tight for a slick, fast, fun, killer thriller. A brilliant homage to 1980s action flicks and slasher horror given a sharp twist by YOU’RE NEXT director Adam Wingard, it showcases ex-‘Downtown Abbey’ actor Dan Stevens in an inspired star-making turn. He plays David, a soldier arriving on the bereaved Peterson family’s doorstep, claiming to be the best friend of their son who died in action. Inviting him to stay, at first the charming veteran seems the perfect guest, always happy to help out. But then the random killing starts and when suspicious daughter Anna investigates army records she learns that no one called David even existed. What's going on and can the family stop the cold-blooded lethal weapon in their home committing even worse atrocities? Giddily violent, superbly directed. Join THE GUEST list for an absolute nerve-shredding blast.
Why Should You See It? Adam Wingard has proven himself to be an extremely talented director over the last few years, with the dark and gloomy ‘A Horrible Way to Die’, the gripping and humorous ‘You’re Next’ and some nice contributions as well to ‘V/H/S’ 1 and 2. If Wingard has proven anything… he can pull off some excellent twists. The teaser for ‘The Guest’ (released yesterday) really doesn’t show us much, yet you can’t help but feel intrigued and pulled in by Adam Wingard’s unusual charm.
2) Zombeavers – Main Screen, Thursday 21st Aug, 11:30PM, 11:40PM & 11:50PM
CABIN FEVER goes AMERICAN PIE on a NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD as college kids stay at a riverside cabin in the woods for a weekend of debauchery. Little do they know they are right next door to a lodge of beavers mutated by toxic waste into rabid zombie critters. Let the fur fly and the blood flow as sexual shenanigans get hampered by the rampaging rodents on a flesh-eating frenzy. A massive Tribeca hit, this fast, funny and smart high-concept B-movie revels in its horror parody styling, hilarious gore, cute practical creature special effects and self-aware performances. Especially when those humanoid zombeavers arise… Delivering deliciously deadpan humour, copious amounts of gleeful joy and a ton of racy beaver jokes, this is the guilty pleasure of the year. Don’t forget to stay through the end credits for the blooper reel and street crooner Nick Amado’s fabulous easy listening theme tune.·
Why Should You See It? Two words: Zombie. Beavers.
3) The Green Inferno – Main Screen, Friday 22nd Aug, 10:45AM, 1:30PM & 3:15PM
From genre guru Eli Roth comes a post-modern celebration of the notoriously lurid and savage Italian cannibal genre as popularised by director Ruggero Deodato, his HOSTEL 2 star. Roth’s long-awaited return to the director’s chair after this six-year absence finds politically attuned, if naïve, NYC university student Justine roped into a campus activist group’s idealistic plan to travel to Peru to halt the annihilation of an endangered tribe by a corrupt construction company. But after a horrific plane crash that leaves half the radicals dead, the survivors are drugged, taken hostage and caged by the very tribe they were trying to help. Worse the mountain clan are cannibals and they are ravenous. Tapping into dark fears of man’s inhumanity to man with grisly humour and brutally matter-of-fact style violence, this jungle holocaust delves into bleak and thought-provoking horror with the disturbing aplomb Roth fans have come to recognise and appreciate.
Why Should You See It? What would it be like if Eli Roth directed ‘Cannibal Holocaust’? Well, I guess we’re about to find out. Eli Roth is a fan favourite amongst many horror fans, is it his scary eyes? His bushy eyebrows? Or is it his method of making your cinema experience extremely bloody and violent? Either way, if you have Eli behind the camera you’re bound to have some fun, and let’s face it… The trailer was Batsh*t crazy.
4) WolfCop – Discovery Screen 1, Friday 22nd Aug, 11:15PM
First there was THE WOLFMAN. Then came I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF. Next came AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THE HOWLING and TEEN WOLF. Now there’s a new lycanthropic hero in town and he’s determined to become a better policeman…one full moon transformation at a time. So here comes the Fuzz, just don’t call him Dirty Hairy! Destined for midnight movie cult status, this high-end blend of black comedy, sexy horror and practical special effects was so successful sales-wise at this year’s Cannes market a sequel had already been green-lit. Lou Garou is a lazy small-town cop by day, a violent rage-fuelled crime-fighting werewolf by night. Good cop and bad cop in one fur-filled beastly package, and addicted to women and booze, it's not unusual for him to black out and wake up in the middle of oddly familiar crime scenes with his senses heightened and his claws out.
Why Should You See It? What if Dirty Harry got bitten by a certain hairy creature that appears on a full moon? WOLFCOP. THAT’S WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. DO I REALLY NEED TO GO ON ANY FURTHER? IT’S A BLOODY WOLF COP. WHY AREN’T YOU QUEUEING UP ALREADY TO BUY YOURSELF A TICKET TO THIS?
5) Wolf Creek 2 – Discovery Screen 2, Friday 22nd Aug, 10:45AM
The Australian outback is a favoured tourist attraction, especially for young backpackers from Europe. But is can also be a place of extreme danger as some young travellers discover to their abject horror in this highly anticipated sequel unveiled earlier this year at FrightFest Glasgow. For that gravel-voiced, sneering maniac Mick Taylor is back with a few more days to kill! Bolder, gorier and placed on a far bigger canvas than the original Ozploitation classic, star John Jarratt and director Greg McLean return with an even more twisted shocker that maintains the original’s savagery and nerve-jangling tension, while dazzling further with a spectacular and surprising use of Down Under landscapes and creatures. Two arrogant cops, two unwitting German backpackers and a Good Samaritan British tourist become the prey for the crazed pig-shooting psycho as the outback is drenched in rivers of blood and his underground lair reveals even sicker secrets.
Why Should You See It? ‘Wolf Creek’ was viscous… Nasty… Violent… and it was actually quite good. Mick Taylor is slowly becoming the next big horror icon, representing the horrors of the Australian outback. This time around director Greg McLean seems to be taking a bit more of a tongue-in-cheek route, hopefully that means they won’t be re-treading too much ground from the first film, taking a bigger approach. I’m excited to see more of Mick… and I’m also in no rush to visit the Australian outback.
6) Exists – Discovery Screen 2, Friday 22nd Aug, 6:10PM
Eduardo Sánchez, one of the key architects of the ‘found footage’ format he popularised with THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, makes an astonishingly bravura returns to the genre. Five friends head to a relative’s remote cabin in the woods with their Go-Pros, dashboard cams and handhelds ready to record a fun weekend. But they find their party plans going up in smoke when they realise the area houses the lair of the legendary Bigfoot. Soon the mythical fearsome beast has destroyed their car, sabotaged their generator and trapped them in the dark forest. Running rampant and causing all manner of life-or-death predicaments – especially because the creature is female - their supposedly relaxing break quickly turns into an emotionally draining test of survival. With suspenseful chases, shrieking noises from deep in the woods and some surprisingly gory kills, Sánchez’ Sasquatch shocker is a fun, fast-paced, and admirably creepy affair.
Why Should You See It? Last FrightFest saw Bobcat Goldthwait’s equally funny and terrifying found-footage Bigfoot horror ‘Willow Creek’. As a big fan of the legend of Bigfoot I will happily welcome another Bigfoot horror. The fact that one of the minds behind ‘The Blair Witch Project’ is also behind ‘Exists’, you can’t help but feel a bit more comfortable with the idea of the film being found-footage. Hopefully Eduardo can breathe new life into the sub-genre. Be right back… I’m just going Squatchin’… (slang for Bigfoot hunting).
7) Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – Main Screen, Saturday 23rd Aug, 6:15PM, 9:00PM & 11:15PM
Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring the latter’s visually stunning graphic novels back to the screen with a stellar cast. Weaving together classic stories with some new tales, the town's most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with its more notorious inhabitants. Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) is summoned by his ex-lover Ava Lord (Eva Green) for help to escape her abusive husband, but soon learns her true intentions are far more sinister than they appear. Meanwhile Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a desolate highway surrounded by several dead men unable to remember how he got there. Just as cocky gambler Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) disguises a darker mission to destroy the city’s biggest villain at his own dirty game. While Nancy (Jessica Alba) struggles to cope with John Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) suicide and plots to avenge him. It’s booze, broads and bullets business as usual in smoky SIN CITY!
Why Should You See It? Why this is showing at FrightFest I do not know, but that doesn’t take away the fact that you should see it! ‘Sin City’ has to be one of the most faithful comic book adaptions ever made and let’s not take away the fact that it is breath taking to look at. So if you like your movies with a comic book feel, R-rated violence, Noir storytelling, sexy femme fatales and gorgeous visuals then ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ is the film for you. P.S. how excellent is Mickey Rourke as Marv?!
REPULSION meets ‘The Gruffalo’ in writer/director Jennifer Kent’s Sundance acclaimed debut feature as the unresolved traumas of a conflicted mother and disturbed son manifest as a malevolent entity threatening to consume them both. Amelia (Essie Davis in a stunning performance) and her son, Sam, have had a raw deal in life. Her husband Oskar died six years prior while driving her to the hospital pregnant with Sam, and his birthday is a particularly painful reminder. But this year things worsen dramatically. Samuel’s been having nightmares, and when a mysterious pop-up children’s book appears on his shelf titled ‘Mister Babadook’, he is finally able to put a name to the terror. Amelia tries to handle Sam with patience, understanding and sedatives, but his increasing feral aggression and her growing lack of sleep lead them inexorably towards the darkness. Prepare for horrific chills fuelled by grief, madness and monsters in the closet.
Why Should You See It? Another Australian entry, this year, however it could not be more different. ‘The Babadook’ is sure to make you scared of any children’s bedtime story. I think I’ll put off my Mum reading me stories before bed for a while. Not that my Mum does read me stories before bed… because that would be weird right?
Well that’s it. Those are my personal recommendations. Honourable mentions go to ‘Bad Milo’, ‘All Cheerleaders Die’ and ‘Life After Beth’ if you’re in the mood for a few laughs with your gore. If you can’t decide… buy yourself a weekend ticket and watch it all! Get your computers, phones and Wallets ready for tomorrow and we will see you in August!