Film reviews

All the news and discussion for Frightfest Glasgow 2018 - Dates this year are 2nd & 3rd March.
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ChrisReynolds
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Film reviews

Post by ChrisReynolds » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:48 pm

Rather than start a separate thread for each film, I thought it might be easier just to post all my reviews together. My overall thoughts were that we got an especially strong Glasgow line-up this year, maybe the best since 2011, with a couple of stand-outs and a higher standard than usual. A pity that not everybody was able to make it.

OK, the films from best to worst:

Tigers are Not Afraid
Easily the best of the weekend. Has a lot of similarities to Pan's Labyrinth, with its mix of magical realism and fantasy/horror, but the setting in contemporary Mexico City makes it feel different. Has a deceptively simple storyline that's well-told, and then a brilliant last few minutes that knocks it out of the park.

Ghost Stories
A good fun mix of jump scares and homages to classic British horror. It was never going to have the same power as it did on stage, but benefits from being well-directed and having some great performances.

Attack of the Bat Monsters
Obviously amateur but that adds a lot to the charm of the film which is clearly a labour of love in its tribute to the low-budget monster films of the 50s and 60s. Genuinely funny and nostalgic.

Cold Skin
Nicely Lovecraftian creature horror that is like Matheson's "I am Legend" on an island. It doesn't quite finesse the story with the power it was aiming for (maybe too many plot holes) but beautiful cinematography and good performances make this a decently entertaining tale.

Friendly Beast
With its style and gory violence punctuating a slow brooding atmosphere, this is reminiscent of Winding Refn's films, though there's more focus on dialogue and character dynamics. The characters' actions don't always make sense - opinions will differ on whether this makes it a piece of absurdist drama (as I maintain) or just badly written.

Secret Santa
Gory slaughter and low-brow humour on a shoestring budget. Went down well with the Frightfest crowd who loved the violence and gross-out but whether it will work outside a room filled with horror fans is another matter. Reminded me a lot of Cabin Fever 2.

The Blacksmith and the Devil
Another one that owes a lot to Pan's Labyrinth. It tries for a mix of children's fairy tale and spooky horror, but unlike Pan's Labyrinth I don't think this pulled it off successfully. I kept expecting the plot to have some sort of clever twist, but it never did. Some very good cinematography in this.

Les affamees / Ravenous
Meat-and-potatoes zombie apocalypse film. Has some good scenes, including some tense zombie attacks and particularly a laugh-out-loud death towards the end, but ultimately doesn't bring much to the crowded genre. The characters keep putting themselves in danger, e.g. hearing a noise and then slowly walking towards it to investigate, which got a bit annoying. This was another film this year with good cinematography - pleasing to see so many directors paying attention to technical qualities.

Primal Rage
Bigfoot films are rarely good and I don't think this was an exception. The film has good makeup for the Bigfoot and the gory kills, but it loses its way with Native American mysticism and frustrating scenes where characters suddenly lose the ability to aim and fire guns when Bigfoot is attacking.

Pyewacket
This one has an interesting idea of daughter-mother conflict at its heart, but was low on horror, with the scary moments mostly going nowhere.

Wanderers: Quest of the Demon Hunter
Romanian nonsense that seems to be a mix of vampire film, haunted house film and exorcism film starring Armand Assante putting on a silly accent. It does succeed when it's trying to be funny, with an entertaining performance from Assante, it's just that it fails to have a comprehensible plot, leaving the viewers perpetually confused.

Sixty Minutes to Midnight
A deliberate throwback to nineties action films, with another remake of "The Most Dangerous Game". They did what they were aiming for by recreating the feel and quality of a low-grade Chuck Norris/Charles Bronson film without Norris/Bronson. But why?

Alex J
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Re: Film reviews

Post by Alex J » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:29 pm

Thanks Chris. Unfortunately I was one of the casualties of the weather, so it is good to get some feedback. I thought last year was the best Glasgow event I had been to, with three stand-out films, plus some other good ones too, so it is interesting to hear the positive reviews and a view on the overall strength of the festival.

Hopefully I'll have more luck in August!
No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering.

MalJutley
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Re: Film reviews

Post by MalJutley » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:38 pm

Thanks for this Chris... as you know I didn't make it so good to get a feel of what to seek out. See you in august if not before

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