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FrightFest Day 2 August 28, 2007

Posted by Ian W in : Film Reviews, Horror, Rants & Raves , trackback

Having skipped the Hatchet DVD commentary (not having seen the film before I didn’t fancy having someone talk all the way through the film) the day started with The Sword Bearer. It wasn’t the greatest start. A love story with characters you don’t like and don’t care about and a score so overblown you’d think it was an opera. You can get away without explaining a lot in genre films (The Signal that followed this is a case in point) but a guy with a fucking sword that shoots out of his arm isn’t one of them. Worst film of the festival so far.

Things picked up big time with The Signal, a film that owes more than a little to Romero’s Crazies but had enough originality to keep it fresh. I’m assuming the three directors each did one of the segments (or Transmissions as the film refers to them) and whichever one handled the middle section is the pick of the bunch. There’s a lovely streak of black humour running through it that’s mostly absent from the other parts. In fact one of the films main problems is its a little pretentious and has a climax that’s far too drawn out.

Next up 1408 based on a Stephen King short story. It’s well made, well acted but a little to over the top. It feels like they’ve thrown every possible scare tactic into the film, including that perennial favourite, bleeding walls. Still, Cusack is on good form and Sam Jackson steals the film (and delivers the best line) in what amounts to an extended cameo. This may have made more money than any other King adaptation but it’s far from the best. This was followed by a short Q&A with the director, Mikael Hafstrom.

I decided to skip Teeth (the last minute replacement for P2) because my bum needed a break (even with the cushion). I was back in time for All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. This was one of my most eagerly anticipated films of the festival and it didn’t disappoint. Reinventing the slasher sub-genre for an age that produces college spree killers this was Friday the 13th with brains. Well realised characters, incisive dialogue and visually impressive direction aren’t things you normally read in conjunction with a slasher film but they all apply to this must see movie. Amber Heard, who plays Mandy is destined for big things. Film of the day definitely and maybe film of the festival.

Giving Shrooms a miss in favour of sleep I headed home after Mandy Lane.

We also got our goodie bags today. I don’t know if they’re all the same but here’s a rundown of what was in mine –

Film 4 FrightFest Collectors Edition Program

A copy of GoreZone horror magazine

A copy of DVD World Magazine

A promo brochure for Neil Marshall’s Doomsday

A Horrorcide comic by Steve Niles

A small plastic sheep (with Black Sheep written on its back and blood round its mouth

A tub of 28 Weeks Later virus slime

A 28 Weeks Later lighter

A can of Kirin Japanese Beer

A Third Light – Iodine E.P CD

A Rasputin the Mad Monk DVD

A Samurai Commando Mission 1549 DVD

And another copy of the special FrightFest Edition of Bizarre magazine (we ll had one on our seats on day one)

Very nice indeed, particularly the Doomsday brochure (originally done for ComiCon) and the Samurai Commando DVD.

Day 3 stuff to look forward to - Cold Prey, Joshua, Storm Warning and Wrong Turn 2 plus the Short Film Showcase. I’ll be skipping Disturbia (already seen it) and The Devil Dared Me Too (looks a bit crap) in favour of an early night.

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