FrightFest Glasgow 2015

All the chat for FrightFest Glasgow in February 2015
Alex J
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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by Alex J » Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:55 pm

Top 4:
1. The Treatment
2. 88
3. Wyrmwood
4. There Are Monsters
No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering.

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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by UKKid35 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:33 pm

Great thumbnail reviews Alex, agreed with almost all of what you said.

However,

Missing the stunning restoration of the Mario Bava pic in favour of It Follows seems a little perverse. I know nothing about Mario Bava, but I'm glad I saw it at FF, and saw It Follows at Cineworld for free (Unlimited) today.

I'm not sure why you gave the DP on There Are Monsters a free pass, I was ready to feed him to the doppelgängers within the first ten minutes. I spent far too long hating him, and far too little time appreciating the story, the acting, and the concept, even though so many people have been there before.

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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by ChrisReynolds » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:38 pm

There were a really good selection of films this year. Nothing that I hated and even the ones I disliked had a lot of redeeming aspects to them.

Eliza Graves / StoneHearst Asylum
The direction just doesn't seem interested in the story and it ends up as an uninspired and overlong psychological thriller. The Poe story only provides the basic premise for the first twenty minutes, and most of the gothic insanity and weirdness of Poe's tale has been sucked out: there's no tarring and feathering, just seen-it-all-before ECT treatment.
Also, I feel that a successful twist should somehow upend a story and cast it in a whole new light. Here a big final twist changes little and in fact just allows a very traditional sentimental ending.
That's not to say that this is an especiallly bad film. The film looks nice, with a lot of character actors put in some decent performances and a few entertaining moments. It's just rather insipid.

The Atticus Institute
This provided some decent shocks and atmosphere but even at the time it felt very similar to a lot of other films. Even two days later much of it has faded into a blur. There were a lot of creepy moments and implications that were brought up and I would have liked it to go a bit further in exploring these. Instead it settles for a rather abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

The Paper Round
Despite the low budget and brief running time this was one of the highlights of the festival for me. Good direction, acting and music combine to produce a haunting and sad ghost story with the haunting acting as an allegory for guilt. Only a couple of things let it down for me, both presumably brought about by the low budget: the poor eyeball makeup and the fact that the crash itself didn't look like it could possibly be fatal to the person in the passenger seat.

The Hoarder
At the beginning this really seemed to be going in a surprising direction, and there was actually a bit of atmosphere, but as more and more things got revealed, it turned out to be less and less interesting and stops being scary very quickly. In essence it's a slasher film, except with a storage facility instead of a cabin in the woods and instead of the standard teen stereotypes we get a different set of stereotypes. I felt it was OK for the first half but about halfway through everybody's IQ seemed to drop through the floor to allow the plot to continue and resulted in a manufactured argument between the cop and the divorcee so that everyone could split up to get picked off. The eventual reveal of the killer and the final standard chase was disappointing.

Wyrmwood
I really liked this. Lots of humour, lots of gore, kinetic camerawork, constant inventiveness and surprising twists. There's some excellent characterisation, and it's the way in which characters are constantly coming up with clever solutions to the situations they find themselves in that provides a host of memorable scenes and drives the plot. Leon Burchill's performance is a real highlight. I have a few issues with plot holes but the movie overcame them with its relentless forward momentum. This is the film I'm most interested in seeing again to see if it stands up to a second viewing.

88
I strongly disliked this. Self-consciously imitating Rodriguez and Tarantino imitating Grindhouse films, the plot is an uninteresting mystery that flips back and forth in an effort to make things seem more complicated than they are. A lot of plot is driven with contrivances, even twice using the contrivance of Gwennie shooting somebody by accident. The bizarre character action and badly staged gunfights (during which dozens of cop and criminal extras are slaughtered while people important to the plot stumble through a hail of gunfire coming from a few feet away) add to a feeling of a plot that is not driven by characters but by the obvious hand of the scriptwriters. Despite all this there were a few highlights, particularly Katharine Isabelle who yet again does sterling work essentially playing two characters, and a good soundtrack.

The Asylum (Backmask)
Despite warnings from Paul and Ian, this turned out to be hilariously bad and entertaining. It's pointless to list the things this film did badly since it was pretty much all of them. It's saved by the hilariously absurd dialogue and plot and ridiculously gory and over-the-top slaughter. The only thing that prevents it from being a truly enjoyable bad movie is that it sags quite badly in the before it hits the big finale, and has a lot of difficulty coherently conveying the resolution of the plot.

Clown
A pleasant surprise: a solid take on the classic concept of a curse transforming a man into a monster. I liked that despite the bizarre premise and events the comedy is all played straight-faced. There are some inspired moments of clown-centric lunacy, with the rainbow blood splatter being a particular highlight, though the film could have done with more of these moments. Characters act are decently characterised and act relatively realistically. There are times when things drag but it builds to an effective though predictable climax. Nothing impressive, groundbreaking or surprising here, just a decent horror that acquits itself well.

The Stomach
Intriguing idea, a gastric twist on Agatha Christie's The Last Seance, but the execution was quite lacking and the ending wasn't very interesting.

Blood and Black Lace
I'm sure this film doesn't need another appraisal. Beautiful lighting and art design, though the characters are relatively anonymous and I had trouble remembering all their different motivations. In terms of Bava films IMO it's far from his best (I would select Black Sunday, Rabid Dogs, Kill Baby Kill and Bay of Blood as being superior).

The Woods Movie
I'm not a fan of Blair Witch so I skipped this to go to a restaurant. I heard it was quite interesting though.

The Treatment
A strong thriller both in terms of quality and subject matter. There's some excellent cinematography in this one - very reminiscent of David Fincher in its assured and objective observal of the subject matter and use of camera placement and blocking to convey relationships between characters and tell the story visually. The deep characterisation of many of the characters was a strong suit. Some elements of the plot were a bit shaky, and in particular the sub-plot revolving around his brother seemed strange and unrealistic in contrast to the rest of the film. The grim downbeat horrors worked very well as a contrast to the other films over the weekend.

[REC] 4: Apocalypse
Despite the high quality of the [REC] films, this film marks the point where the franchise becomes tiresome. It's bogged down by its own continuity to the extent that it has to retell parts of the first two and then spend a good chunk of the beginning filling in the plot. Yet for some reason it expects us not to remember the end of [REC]2, so I knew about the parasite and the identity of the host was obvious once it became apparent that it couldn't be Angela. Lots of stupidity from the characters and bad movie cliches like the self-destruct countdown hurt the film badly, but the most egregious aspect has to be the addition of Nick, an obvious Mary Stu who constantly saves the day and performs remarkable physical feats towards the end that he certainly doesn't look capable of. Depite being subtitled "Apocalypse" and touted as the final film in the franchise, there's no apocalypse and the film ends with a clear setup for [REC]5.

There Are Monsters
A hard one to know what to make of. The main thing in this film's favour is that the scares (mostly the same scare presented in lots of different ways) are effective. Despite the distorted smiles looking very familiar from an iPhone photo app, it's a genuinely disconcerting and frightening effect. Also, the story, despite being Invasion of the Bodysnatchers moves along at a fast pace and has a particularly nasty and unpleasant edge to it. The first huge drawback was the way it was shot. It goes beyond normal shakey-cam to the point that it's often very difficult to watch or make out what's going on. I've never seen anything like it and this probably represents shakey-cam at its ultimate extreme. To an extent it does create a woozy disorientating feeling, but to a much greater extent, having shots of random bits of floor or long periods of incomprensible blur is frustrating and unpleasant. The second drawback is that the script makes no sense - the characters refusing to believe in the monsters despite repeatedly seeing the monsters for themselves in earlier scenes, and towards the end the film got into a repetitive cycle of the characters escaping to a location, being frightened by a monster and then escaping to another location. I was wondering at the time why they were able to escape but it seems like the monsters were just playing with them at that point. Despite these problems, which were insurmountable for me, this had some of the most memorable scenes of the whole festival.

Best to worst:
VERY GOOD
Wyrmwood

GOOD
Blood and Black Lace
The Treatment
The Paper Round

DECENT
Clown
The Asylum (Backmask)

MEDIOCRE OR DISAPPOINTING
Stonehearst Asylum
There Are Monsters
The Stomach
The Hoarder
The Atticus Institute
[REC] 4: Apocalypse

VERY POOR
88

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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by sherbetbizarre » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:48 pm

Cheers for the write-ups, guys!

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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by Alex J » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:21 pm

Thanks for the feedback UKKid35. In terms of your questions - I have seen Blood and Black Lace before and whilst I appreciate its significance and rate it as a good film it is not a film I would say I love (sorry!) - if Deep Red for instance had been showing then it would have been a different matter! It Follows has had a lot of good buzz and as it's highly unlikely I'll get chance to see it in the week (nor is it likely to be on a second week at my local cinema) I thought I'd take the opportunity to catch it without having to wait for the DVD. No doubt I'll end up buying both films on DVD anyway!

In terms of the DP of the final movie, I agree - where I mentioned about the film going awry I was thinking about the sequence that felt like about 2 minutes where you couldn't see anything other than a blurred mess, although there were other times that I, as someone affected by motion sickness at times, found it difficult to watch, but then that's a common problem I have with found footage movies.
No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering.

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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by TheDukeAbides » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:56 pm

The Atticus Institute - A good set-piece movie, I agree that perhaps the docu-styple wasn't the best way to go about it, but I suppose it adds to not knowing what happened to the main doctor. Not too heavy on the dread though which could have been made more of...

The Paper Round - Nice little short

The Hoarder - Was impressed with Atak's yank accent and I like the atypical villain
Spoiler:
him lumping his over-weight frame around
what was standard slasher fare made it a bit better than it should have been. Killed off the more interesting characters too soon - and Misha Barton can not act.

Wyrmwood - Great ideas in an overly saturated zombie genre. Didn't know what they were going for at the start, pathos or comedy and sometimes the pathos was at odds with the general feel of the film, but it was a rip-roaring good adventure and paid-off well.

88 - All round I thought this was OK. Some standout performances, just a bit routine and possibly not convoluted enough.

The Asylum (Backmask) - This could have been scary given the location and the 'history' - it could have been funny given better setups, instead it just had unlikable characters being hunted during what looked like Jason Mewes going cold turkey.

Clown - The mythology could have been interesting and explored more, what we got was something slightly less worse than Green Inferno.

The Stomach - I liked this. Interesting concept, though I still find OAP cockney gangsters to be laughable. A short that could have done with being a bit longer.

Blood and Black Lace - Visually and musically this was stunning (as per) - really liked the cast introductions oddly. I suppose looking back it looks hammy and I feel it drags a bit too much, but something I'm glad I watched.

Electric Boogaloo (The Woods Movie) - A very entertaining documentary, on the scale of Eurocrime and Lost Souls - featured the Apple, previously seen at the Duke Mitchell Party. I didn't watch The Woods and from the sounds of it I didn't miss much.

The Treatment - It played like a Scandinavian crime thriller to me. Very much like the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it just happened. Didn't find any of it tense or suspenseful, thought the villain was a bit unbelievable
Spoiler:
who was presented sympathetically at the start and then couldn't suspended disbelief to believe what physical things he was capable of
. As it was, a fine ensemble piece, but I felt people were trying to desperately to like something given the general underwhelming nature of all the films over the weekend.

[REC] 4: Apocalypse
Meh - I preferred REC3 - and yes I liked REC3 when I first saw that. Not as entertaining, not scary, had the premise and made something quite boring.

There Are Monsters - Go fuck yourselves. A very promising opening and then it managed to alienate its audience very quickly - which, much like Tulpa, when and audience drives the film it makes a more entertaining experience. About 5 endings, all pointless and non-gripping because all the characters are unlikeable. No Donald Sutherland pointing and screaming at the end which was a let down. Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun video effects used for the non-humans. But worst of all, shaky shaky shaky is one thing - but to film fucking walls for minutes at a time when things aren't a blur and moving from found-footage to third-person it just shite film making behaviour of the cunt kind.

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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by Alex J » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:57 am

Having been inspired to watch Blair Witch again by Mr Gomm and only having an old VHS tape of it, does anyone know which is the best version of it as it's clearly time to upgrade?
No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering.

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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by zappa fan » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:02 pm

Blu-ray B United Kingdom - Lions Gate Home Entertainment
LAST FILM- Wyrmwood ** fun
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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by grindhouse83 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:29 am

Reviews of the seven features I caught at this year's Frightfest in order of preference:

1. WYRMWOOD - Head and shoulders and guts above every other lame zombie film of late. Great characters perfectly played, hilarious one-liners and sight gags, and with great visual verve, WYRMWOOD was a treat. A perfect Frightfest film, and further proof after THE BABADOOK, THE LOVED ONES and WOLF CREEK 2, that Australia's currently producing some bad-ass horror. 9/10

2. THE TREATMENT - A deeply harrowing, suspenseful thriller that will forever haunt me. Masterfully measured direction and faultless performances made the film a gut-wrenching watch. A few plot holes considering physical logistics (discussed in the Q&A afterwards), keep this from being the classic it could have been, but as it is, it's a terrific piece of cinema. 8.5/10

3. 88 - Katharine Isabelle gives a blistering performance and Christopher Lloyd revels in playing against-type, in this gutsy film. Full of wacky WTF humour, it was a pleasure to watch. The script and direction are original and ballsy, and Tim Doiron is a hoot in a supporting role. Potentially a cult classic. 8/10

4. CLOWN - This wasn't the out and out comedy I expected. Sure there was inspired hilarity, particularly in the early scenes of body-horror. But the film was not afraid to delve into darker territory. The leads keep the ridiculous concept grounded, whilst Peter Stormare chews up the scenery, delivering all of the movie's best lines with his usual gusto. I particularly loved the 'Rare Exports' - esque history of the Clown, and the make-up was terrific. 7.5/10

5. [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE - When the original [REC] hit Glasgow Frightfest in 2008, I was blown away. Terrifying. Raw. A true horror masterpiece for the ages. [REC] 2 upped the action, 'ALIENS' to the first films' 'ALIEN' being the obvious comparison. It was a worthy sequel, but disappointingly low on the visceral scares of the original. [REC] 3: GENESIS, had it's naysayers, but I enjoyed the introduction of some comedy, the gutsy decision to lose the hand-held 'found footage' at the mid-point of the movie, and the classic scene of the heroine in her wedding dress tooling up with a chainsaw. APOCALYPSE is neither terrifying, or particularly funny, but a solid horror film with well-staged scenes of carnage. Like the last two films, it's not a patch on [REC], but an enjoyable thrill-ride non the less. 7/10

6. THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE - I was torn between this and APOCALYPSE for 5th place. I for one love found-footage and mock-doc films when they are executed successfully. I adored THE SACRAMENT and thoroughly enjoyed AFFLICTED and THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN. Where this film succeeded, was its realistic depiction of documentary footage. Sure, there were a few giggle-inducing bad lines, but at least the setting and plot were somewhat original, and the film wisely chose not to ape the 'slow-burn' approach of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, instead showing plenty of action from the beginning, building to a fitting crescendo. A solid, interesting film. 7/10

7. THE HOARDER - Some iffy dialogue, and Mischa Barton once-again proving to be a bland lead (unfortunate for director Matt Winn, who had to contend with the "challenging" actress), this was comfortably the weakest film I saw at the festival. Still, I found it to be a reasonably watchable horror, if not particularly unique. The visuals, setting and some of the supporting performances were commendable, and Winn could potentially go onto bigger and better projects. 6/10
Last edited by grindhouse83 on Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Alex J
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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by Alex J » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:34 pm

Thanks zappa fan, looks like the best option. Sadly the 132 minute cut that was mentioned in the doc doesn't appear to be in (mainstream) circulation :(
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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by zappa fan » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:22 pm

Maybe if there is a demand for the longer version....one day.
LAST FILM- Wyrmwood ** fun
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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by stewartguitar » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:55 pm

http://gingernutsofhorror.com/13/post/2 ... -horn.html

Here's my take. I should probably have posted it earlier but I forgot.

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Re: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Post by UKKid35 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:28 pm

stewartguitar wrote:http://gingernutsofhorror.com/13/post/2 ... -horn.html

Here's my take. I should probably have posted it earlier but I forgot.
Agreed with 90% of what you said, a bit harsh on The Woods Movie though. I would have preferred that the two paedophilia movies had been programmed on different days, but like you I thought both were excellent.

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