Saturday, 29 August 2020

Frightfest 2020 Day Two - Friday

I Am Lisa

Lisa (Kristen Vaganos) returns to her home town to an almost I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE-style greeting from the evil Sheriff Huckins (Manon Halliburton oozing sleaze along with the best / worst of them) and her family & friends. Beaten & left for dead in the forest Lisa's bitten by a werewolf and her subsequent transformation allows her to get revenge.
Director Patrick Rea was last at Frightfest in 2016 with ENCLOSURE / ARBOR DEMON which I called 'a Machenesque keeper'. I AM LISA is a werewolf picture where, despite the cripplingly low budget, Rea's recurring themes of the weirdness in landscape and the blurring by the supernatural of the line between civilisation and the wild still manage to shine through. The werewolf transformation is minimal, using fangs, contacts and fingernails, but Rea makes this work in the film's favour, crafting a film that suggests the supernatural 'out there' may not be so different from what we believe to be normal. Even saddled with no money, Rea gives the forest a deliciously eerie, other-worldly feel and on the basis of both this and ENCLOSURE a Patrick Rea movie of Arthur Machen's The White People or Ramsey Campbell's The Wise Friend would be a welcome thing indeed. On the basis of these two films Mr Rea is definitely developing a unique and worthwhile oeuvre and we should all encourage him. 


A group of ghastly twenty-somethings go on a camping holiday and wake up to find themselves strapped into bombs with countdown clocks. As we get to learn more about them so we feel more sympathetic to the Jigsaw-like mastermind who has engineered the whole thing. Director Alastair Orr manages to wring maximum tension, suspense and (thanks to some truly funny culturally aware dialogue) laughs out of this plotline, ably assisted by actors who provide colour and character to what was doubtless just sketched out on paper. TRIGGERED feels like BATTLE ROYALE crossed with a FRIDAY THE 13TH film and that's no bad thing. 

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