Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

News and discussion about FrightFest's annual trip north of the border
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Stephen with ph
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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:59 pm

Alex J wrote:Baskin
I had been looking forward to this one ever since I saw the short at Frightfest a few years ago, so perhaps I had unrealistically high hopes going into this, while the film went off on different tangents to what I had been expecting. I normally like weird films and there's plenty here to enjoy, but I left feeling a little unsatisfied, albeit this was probably due to my own expectations. One to watch again and reassess. 7.5 / 10
Three words: patience-testing wank.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:04 pm

Alex J wrote:The Mind's Eye
An entertaining throwback to the 1980's, even if it was set between 1990-91. On the negative side the plot was pretty basic and didn't add a lot to what
Spoiler:
Scanners
did all those years ago. On the positive side the story and characters were interesting enough, with a suitably villainous nemesis in a 1980's kind of way, as well as some well-executed setpieces. One I'll watch again. 8 / 10
Juvenile characterisation, poorly paced, laughable plotting and way too much gurning: I quickly ran out of patience and was thoroughly irritated by the end of this sub-Cronenbergian nonsense.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:05 pm

Alex J wrote:Patchwork
Funny, engaging and with some suitably schlocky and gory scenes.
Spoiler:
I mentally groaned when the 3 characters patched together had an internal debate for the first time, but this mechanism actually worked quite effectively and helped establish both the characters and the character of the film itself. Also, Owlcat was an inspired creation and maybe will get her own film one day?


8 /10
It's so hard to get the tone right with a horror-comedy: this was spot-on and I loved every moment! Best movie of the weekend.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:08 pm

Alex J wrote:The Hexecutioners
I liked the offbeat quirkiness of this one, even if it didn't always make sense. I also liked some of the imagery and humour, but ultimately I felt it didn't hang together that well and more could have been made of the opportunities available. 6.5 / 10
An unsettling plot which made no concession towards narrative clarity and, for me, was all the better for it. Some lovely stylistic touches and an engrossing watch.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:08 pm

Alex J wrote:Southbound
An anthology in the vein of the V/H/S franchise. I really liked this one and I thought the stories worked well together. My favourite segment was probably The Accident, but I also liked the creatures from the opening tale and hopefully we'll see more of these again. 8.5 / 10
Ditto in every way.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:17 pm

Alex J wrote:I skipped SPL2, so no review for this one sorry, as I needed time for a break, leg stretch, food etc. Maybe I'm getting old, but would have preferred to have moved one of the films to the Friday, with Friday starting around 11.30am, meaning that Saturday could have had a later start, earlier finish and more of a break for food etc. Did anyone see SPL2 who is happy to share their thoughts?
Hyperstylised oriental shenangians:

- Well-choreographed extended fight scenes? Check.
- Indestructible protagonists? Check.
- Absurdly complex plot that doesn't bear close scrutiny? Check.
- Cheery reliance upon coincidence to drive the narrative forward? Check.

It's like Bollywood for fisticuffs: just accept the genre conventions, check your brain it at reception and watch people run around hitting each other for a couple of hours, until good prevails - hurrah!

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:19 pm

Alex J wrote:The Wave
A Norwegian disaster movie is possibly an odd choice for Frightfest, but this was a solid enough inclusion, with a human story anchoring the action sequences. Only quibble was that the wave took a long time in coming and swiftly receded, but this was possibly due to budget constraints. Nevertheless, has more depth and hence is better than the average Hollywood disaster flick. 7.5 / 10
Excellent point re the favourable comparison to its Hollywood peers: good, solid movie.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:21 pm

Alex J wrote:Pandemic
I nearly skipped this one as I suffer from motion sickness and I can't play FPS video games as a result, but I'm glad I didn't as it is a pretty good viral outbreak action film and I just about coped with the first-person sequences.

The edgy interplay between the main characters helped keep things ticking along between the action scenes, although it was sometimes difficult to tell what was going on, but perhaps that was partly the point to reflect the confusion of combat. 7.5 / 10
I'm not a gamer, so the structure of this movie left me a little cold. Nothing ground-breaking here, but executed well and fairlt entertaining.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:23 pm

Alex J wrote:The Devil's Candy
This starts off with a pretty absurd tone, but don't let that put you off as it gets progressively darker as the film goes on. Despite being the late showing this maintained my interest, with likeable characters (and some deliberately not so likeable!) and humour offsetting some of the more disturbing elements of the plot.

I would like to see more of this film's universe - a sequel anyone?

Also, did anyone else find that Zooey seemed to look younger as the film went on? Not sure if this was due to the sequence of filming or whether that's what looking scared does?

8/ 10
I really didn't think at the outset that I was going to enjoy this one, but it crept up on me: one of the successes of the weekend.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Stephen with ph » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:26 pm

Alex J wrote:Anguish
A tough one to score as it is a hard film to love in some ways due to the weighty themes and the slow-burning pace of the first two-thirds of the movie, but personally I enjoyed the depth and serious tone.
Spoiler:
For a moment I thought it was going to go down the route of a full-on Linda Blair-style exorcism, but given the proliferation of such films at the moment I'm glad it eschewed that direction - indeed I liked the ending where there was no easy, happy solution.
Supposedly based on a true story - if there is such a case it would be good to learn more about it. 8 / 10
If you're able to come to terms with the slow pacing, this is a thoughful and atmospheric character piece: I much prefer this kind of movie to the gorier stuff that gets shown at Frightfest and I enjoyed this one immensely.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by ChrisReynolds » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:26 pm

I wrote some reviews for another film forum, so I might as well repost them here, from best to worst. (Martyrs I skipped to go and have dinner)

Patchwork
Really the only standout film of the festival. A funny and inventive horror-comedy that flies by despite some narrative missteps where the tone doesn't work or where the plot twist of the killer's identity was spoiled early on. Although some of the jokes didn't work, they were outweighed by the number that do. It's got gore and genuine humour and it does something new with the Frankenstein genre, even if a lot of the plot is heavily referencing Reanimator. Tory Stolper was brilliant as the lead actress and I hope to see her in other films; she really did carry the film in places.
6/10

Baskin
A lot more artistic than I was expecting, with strange scenes and a discombobulating mixture of reality and dream-states, which effectively add to the weird and disturbing atmosphere that's being created. I was also expecting it to be nastier: it's still very nasty by mainstream standards, but it never achieves the maximum level of intensity and terror that the best horror manages. The languid pace works against the horror to some degree, and never quite delivers on its promise. It's also a shame that with so much originality elsewhere, the ending falls back on a standard time-loop twist. It remains an interesting work with some powerful imagery, the best attempt of the weekend to create something entirely original, even if it didn't completely come off.
5/10

The Devil's Candy
This was probably the film that was most consistently strong in technical aspects of production, with good cinematography, strong acting and some great-looking creepy paintings for the artist father to paint. It doesn't manage to find a cohesive story direction, with aspects of ghostly possession, demonic impulsion, serial killers and a subplot with cartoonish art-gallery snobs. These things don't work together and end up undermining some aspects of the film, which otherwise has a lot of powerful tension as a thriller, although belief has to be suspended at some aspects.
5/10

Southbound
A solid horror anthology. Unlike many anthology films which have different directors, this feels consistent and none of the segments were bad. There's only one stand-out segment that begins with a car accident, but all of them had their charms and did a good job of keeping a good mix of tone between creepiness and tongue-in-cheek humour, while not letting up with the tension.
5/10

SPL2: A Time for Consequences
An epic action film with top Hong Kong and Thai martial artists. The problem that keeps me from fully recommending it is that the plot is an astounding mess with too many plot threads, crazy coincidences and stupid plot twists. Those aspects can be treated with bemusement because it has some truly amazing scenes of martial arts and shoot-out action. Not as much as I would have liked, but when there's a final fight as good as this it makes up for a lot. Not as good as The Raid 2 which had equally good action and more of it while still having an overcooked plot, and several levels below the original The Raid which was filled with excellent action and didn't drop the ball on the plot.
5/10

The Other Side of the Door
A semi-solid but unimpressive mainstream horror. The jump-scares are handled more effectively than The Forest and it has a bit of atmosphere that The Forest never manages, despite having a similar Orientalist outlook. It did feel like it shook me up a bit, but having said that, there's too much CGI and unoriginality for it to ever be properly scary. It feels like it's been compromised somewhat.
4/10

The Hexecutioners
I liked it more than a lot of people and I do think it has an underlying logic which makes sense of things while also leaving a lot of things open to interpretation. Having said that it suffers from being too much sizzle and not enough steak, with a lot of scenes of wandering about in a dark house that feel like filler.
4/10

The Wave
A Norwegian take on the Hollywood disaster film, where a wave is set to devestate a fjord. Unfortunately they also take a lot of the bad things from Hollywood disaster films and it ends up being predictable and derivative. They also have the problem that the wave disaster itself only takes up a small part of the film, so they need a lot of build-up that gets repetitive.
4/10

The Mind's Eye
Self-concious throwback to 80s exploitation films which is filled with far too much shouting and screaming with not enough gory exploitation goodness. However, when the gore does arrive, it arrives in an impressively welter of bloody practical effects, but it's the sort of thing where people scream for 10 minutes then somebody's head explodes, where I would have preferred one minute of screaming and then 10 people's heads exploding to have felt like I got value for money. It does have a nice stylistic vision that captures the feel of 80s horror; all red-and-blue lighting and electronic pulsing music.
4/10

The Forest
Perfunctory mainstream horror where Natalie Dormer goes to a Japanese forest to experience a bunch of horror scenes ripped off from other films. Predictable and perfunctory scares although the scares are occasionally competently handled. There is also the ethics of exploiting real-life tragedies of a foreign country as a backdrop for a cheesy exploitation film, although I didn't mind this as much as some people.
3/10

Pandemic
Uninteresting found footage zombie outbreak thriller. Its conceit is that it's shot by the helmet cameras of the clean-up crew who have to find some supplies in a zombie-infested LA, but this isn't anything original as I've seen it done before and done a lot better. A listless journey around LA running into various zombie attacks which degenerate into shaky-cam and screaming without being involving.
3/10

Anguish
This was like watching paint dry for me. It's attempting a more melancholy and thoughtful angle on a possession story. However, what the direction and writing produces is an endless sequence of anti-cinematic and dull scenes with some occasional incongruous scares.
2/10

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Alex J » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:25 pm

Interesting point about The Forest - if it is of any comfort to anyone feeling that the West is exploiting the Japanese about their "suicide forest", then there have already been a number of films set there, including at least two Japanese films (not that I can recall their titles at the moment), so there isn't an issue about the Japanese being taken advantage of per se - but it does remain open about whether the victims / victims' families are being exploited, although you could say that about any film that has any connection to real-life events (Titanic, war films, holocaust films, disaster movies based on actual events etc), so it depends on where you draw the line....
No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by grindhouse83 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:49 pm

THE HEXECUTIONERS 6.5/10 - Interesting concept, great performances from the two leads, excellent setting (spectacular maze!)....just left me wanting more of the cult (cool skull mask design). The ending felt a little rushed and the grey cinematography (although appropriate to the lead's mental state) drained the film of any visual beauty.

ANGUISH 2/10 - The pace was just so languid. I didn't get emotionally involved. It bored me silly to be honest.

PANDEMIC 5/10 - I'm not a gamer, and having seen the film adaptation of Doom, I wasn't a fan of the first person perspective. This didn't change my mind. I'm a fan of found footage and mock-docs, but shaky can is too disorientating to make a cohesive action film. The characters were underwritten & the film was simply underwhelming. Plus at times I couldn't help thinking they'd cheated with outside cameras.

THE MIND'S EYE 8/10 - Now this was a FRIGHTFEST MOVIE! Joe Begos really captures the spirit of 80s horror in the way that Ti West does in his films. The performances were pitch perfect (with special mention to deranged doctor John Speredakos & Graham Skipper's bulging eyes & veiny forehead...method to the Max!). The colour palette was stunning, the fx & sound were awesome & the score was simply outstanding. A few more gruesome deaths would have been welcome though, but that's a lot to ask for when the director achieved so much with so little. Props for getting the film made independently so as not to compromise his vision.

PATCHWORK 9/10 - Loved it. Hilarious from start to finish and another terrific homage to 80s cinema. The three leading women shared great chemistry, and the supporting actors shone (including James ' Fred Weasley' Phelps). The performance & inspired physicality of lead actress Tory Stolpher was outstandingly brilliant. The script, music & fx work were on point and the sound design was incredible - by god did those body parts creak. Everything I want from a comedy horror. And all shot in 12 days? Remarkable. Tyler MacIntyre is a director to watch.

THE WAVE 7/10 - A solid disaster film that didn't lean too heavily on Hollywood tropes (no audience-cheering survival from a dog in peril). I was annoyed though when
Spoiler:
the leading man allowed his family to split up, despite his strong instincts that doom was impending.
An engagingly tense thriller, but in my opinion, not necessarily a Frightfest film.

SOUTHBOUND 5/10 - I was really looking forward to this. I'm a big fan of the first two V/H/S films. Maybe I was just too tired after the late night and early start. But Southbound disappointed me. The only memorable moment for me was
Spoiler:
The Accident and the unfortunate amateur surgery
I was impressed by the floating tentacled creatures though.

SPL A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES - No score....Tiredness caught up with me and I fell asleep, only to be elbowed by my sister because I was snoring... Oops. Missed too much to understand what was going on. Looked visually impressive though with furious choreography.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR 6.5/10 -Setting the film in India really gave the film atmosphere & an interesting slant to the genre. Sarah Wayne Callies was, as always, a sympathetic lead. She exudes humanity and intelligence. The scene with
Spoiler:
the car accident, when the mother has to leave her drowning son to save her daughter
was heartbreaking and brilliantly staged. Director Johannes Roberts has a great eye and like his past two films, his love of the genre is palpable. Unfortunately the studio interference has somewhat diluted the film. I would have liked to see more of the multiple-limbed, Indian-God inspired creature.

BASKIN 5/10 - I was expecting gruesome visceral sickening scenes of bloody carnage. And I got some of that....eventually. The film was hyped so much and it left me non-plussed. When it ended my sister and I turned to each other and said- 'is that it?' We did however agree on the brilliantly shot and perfectly timed eye-gouging.

MARTYRS 6.5/10 - Attitudes to remakes piss me off. Are they always necessary? No. Are some lazy cash-ins on a recognised title? Yes. But for god's sake, either give the film a fighting chance or don't bother watching it at all. The members of the audience that booed at the end (which were in the minority by the way, not as widespread as some reviews suggest), had obviously made up their minds that the film would suck before it had even started. The original French film is a stone-cold modern classic. I agree 100% Did it warrant a remake? Probably not. Was the American film as emotionally or visually disturbing? No. But what we did get was a beautifully shot film, respectful of its origins and a real effort to cement the love between the two girls. Unfairly maligned.

THE DEVIL'S CANDY 9/10 -Much anticipated follow-up to Sean Byrne's masterful 'The Loved Ones'. I wasn't disappointed. My favourite film of the festival. It's excellent to watch the talented Ethan Embry in a rare leading role, and I'm glad to have seen him pop up in a fair few genre films of late. The relationship between Father and Daughter was beautifully portrayed' with Embry matched by an outstanding Kiara Glasco. Pruitt Taylor Vince plays creepy lonely psychopath like no other. The end scene is visually and musically stunning. In fact the whole film is simply awesome. After it finished I could have very easily watched it all over again.

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Re: Frightfest Glasgow 2016 Reviews

Post by Alex J » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:52 pm

Totally agree with you grindhouse83 on Martyrs on every one of your points, one of the most emotionally affecting films of the festival for me and I was a bit dismayed about the boos at the end (my guess maybe 10-20 people tops). Given we have had far worse films over the years that haven't been subject to the same treatment then it felt wrong in my view but I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinions and if you pay your money then you have just as much right to boo at the end as you have to cheer and applaud. Just hope no-one involved in making the film was there to feel disheartened by the boos.
No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering.

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