Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Frightfest 2016 - Day Four

Sorry guys.. I was still suffering from fatigue. Five more films for you.

Patricio Valladares’s last film to screen at Frightfest wasn’t a popular one, Kim Newman claimed it to be one of the three or four worst films ever screened at Frightfest. History seemed to have repeated itself with Downhill where a joke about the film’s title would be far too easy

A retired biker comes out of retirement (he retired because of the death of his friend in a biking accident, a strange reason to retire for something that was always going to be possibility) to race in Chile where a great sponsorship deal beckons. Before the race Joe (Byrce Dapper) and his girlfriend (Natalie Burn) go up for a bike ride in the mountain’s where they stumble across a man who seems to be infected by something. Upon finding this man they are soon attacked by a gang of thugs desperate to keep their secret hidden.

In the Q and A one of the film’s writers claimed that they just had a load of ideas that were shoved into the blender, which comes to no surprise at Downhill is a mess of film, albeit one that’s enjoyable in places. There are a number of things wrong with the film, firstly the opening scene, where the friend has the accident, is pointless as is the sex scene between Joe and his friend’s girlfriend (which was never mentioned or even built upon) and there’s various parts of the story unexplained – what was the infection? who was the cult? We’re also left with the lasting impression that Natalie Burn has a nice arse and great body as director Patricio Valladares seemed to be obsessed with filming her in an objective way (something he’s had a history of doing).


Martyrs star Morjana Alaoui stars in another bleak and dark film where, following a troubled childhood, Evie escapes to England and looks after a short tempered ex-rockstar tetraplegic patient named John (Mel Raido) who would test her  resolve and mental strength to the max. Shaun Robert Smith’s Broken is about his own personal experiences, and the experiences of others, caring for those who are unable to care for themselves.

Broken is a harrowing film that is powered by two exceptional performances by Morjana Alaoui and Mel Raido (Craig Conway is also great in the supporting role as one of John’s repulsive friends) and the interactions between the two main characters heightens the psychological drama on show. The film was on the route to greatness until the final scenes which just felt rather tonally misjudged (especially as it uses slow motion) in comparison to the rest of the film which was dark in nature.


When Marc is diagnosed with cancer, instead of slowly dying from the cancer, he decides to take his own life before his body starts to fail so that he can be reanimated in the future. 100 years later Marc is bought back to life, but he struggles to live as a lab rat in this futuristic society.

Mateo Gil’s beautifully shot film is a heart rending take on the emotional, psychological and moral ramifications of the bringing the dead back to life and into a world that’s completely alien to them. Gil's screenplay wonderfully looks at all the things that define what is means to be human, love, friendship, companionship, the desire to succeed and achieve and the ability to cherish and relive one’s memories. It may not be typical Frightfest material but it’s an exceptionally beautiful film.


I can’t claim to like Rob Zombie as a filmmaker, I loathed his remake of Halloween and his latest gorefest 31 has done little to change my opinion of his filmmaking credentials There some pretty cool ideas in his latest film 31 where extravagantly dressed wealthy individuals kidnap people and throw them into an arena with killers with names like Psycho-Head, Sick-Head, Death-Head and Sex-Head. It’s a spectacularly gory, and mostly fun film, but there’s so much shaky cam that’s it’s almost impossible to see the axe being embedded into someone’s head. That said, whenever Richard Brake is on the screen the film is terrific as his deranged villain makes The Joker look sane.


Johnny Frank Garret’s Last Word
Somewhat based on a true story Simon Rumley’s film is about convicted murderer Johnny Frank Garrett, who is believed by many to be innocent, who swore revenge on all those responsible for his execution. In the real world, many of those involved with the case did die, but not perhaps due to a demonic spirit. The film is a good one and it tells an interesting story as well as bringing the supposed injustice of Johnny Frank Garrett into public attention. Simon Rumley does a superb job helming the action by elevating the film’s dialogue heavy script with some smart and inventive editing techniques.  



  1. Did you get a chance to see Night of Something Strange?

    1. Sadly, I did not. I pretty much stuck to the main screens throughout the festival

  2. Did you get a chance to see Night of Something Strange?