Sunday, 30 August 2020

Frightfest 2020 Day Three - Saturday

The Columnist



Newspaper columnist Femke Boot (Westworld's Katja Herbers) decides she's had enough of the online trolling she's been repeatedly receiving on Twitter and Facebook and starts tracking down the perpetrators and killing them. This Dutch production treats its subject matter with broad strokes but does so in a way that allows it to be entertaining as well as providing social commentary. To be honest it's surprising there aren't more films dealing with the subject. And it's a shame they couldn't have called it TROLL HUNTER. 

The Horror Crowd



A feature-length documentary featuring a number of well-known (and some not so well-known) creative artists currently involved in the horror scene answering questions about how they got into horror, where they get their ideas from and how their love for the genre affects both them and those around them. Interviewees include Darren Lynn Bousman (after his excellent REPO THE GENETIC OPERA it's no surprise his big influences include THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE and - yes - THE APPLE!); Jeffrey Reddick and Craig Perry, creator and producer of the FINAL DESTINATION franchise (and Perry suggests he's like to do another one); PARANORMAL ACTIVITY's Oren Peli; Adam Robitel (INSIDIOUS 4 and the ESCAPE ROOM movies); Chelsea Stardust (SATANIC PANIC) and Ernest Dickerson (TALES FROM THE CRYPT DEMON KNIGHT). Good use of clips breaks up the talking heads and while this isn't especially groundbreaking it's a decent enough genre documentary that's a reasonable timewaster for both those new to horror and those who feel they have lived the genre since birth.

Playhouse



The second of the day's films to feature a famous horror author as a major character. Playwright Jack Travis moves into a remote Scottish castle with the intention of writing a new work based on the building's murky past, but he reckons without whatever's walled up in the cellar taking advantage of him instead. Made with no money but a fabulous location, this first-time directorial effort by Toby and Fionn Watts feels like an attempt at a modern-day riff on Roger Corman's Poe pictures, and while they score points for atmosphere a bit more attention to the screenplay would have greatly improved things. Still, definitely two directors to watch.

Blind



From Marcel Walz, director of 2016's BLOOD FEAST remake, comes BLIND, a film so appallingly bad that the live chat running concurrently on the Frightfest Facebook Group was far more entertaining and a testament to both how little this one holds the attention and how terrible its many onscreen mistakes are. A blind woman who lives in a house filled with sharp edges and easily breakable objects? Who doesn't know if the lights work but has filled her house with lit candles? Who is in a support group run by a cut-price Jason Momoa who can't speak and has a machine that makes him sound like Ned from South Park? All so, so terrible. And I haven't even mentioned the panty-sniffing sushi delivery man, the speech by the threatened heroine at the end that goes on for longer than the running time of the film, the numerous full glasses of wine she drinks during the climax from a thin-stemmed easily knocked over and broken glass, how her makeup is suddenly immaculately restored after her shower, or the ending where everyone just gives up and sticks the credits on. This year's TULPA. In fact every year's TULPA. Except for the year TULPA was on. 

Don't Click



Don't watch torture porn or you'll end up in...er...torture porn appears to be the message of this heavy-handed, poorly thought out, overly naive tale of two university students who click on a website and find themselves in a torture dungeon. There's a very Japanese feel to the worrying zealousness of the torture scenes, emulating the style of movies like Koji Shiraishi's 2009 GUROTESUKU, the justification for all this being a story of ghostly revenge. I think. To be honest it's all a bit of a mess, stretched out from director G-Hey Kim's original short but needing rather more depth than we get here to make it at all effective. 


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