Frightfest Allnighter 2012: review

The weekend after Halloween 2012 saw the second annual Film4 Frightfest allnighter at Watershed in Bristol. I was in attendance with some friends, in my newly acquired Freddy Krueger outfit. Here is a rundown of the movies shown (synopses from Watershed web site):

Excision (2012) dir: Richard Bates Jr
“Alienated teen Paulette (Annalynne McCord) fantasises about performing surgery, dead people, menstrual blood and dissecting roadkill (her dream sequences are viscerally stunning) – suffice to say, she is not your usual high school outcast.”

The evening kicked off with bizarre gory dream sequences coupled with teen awkwardness and great dysfunctional family humour. I really enjoyed this film, and squirmed equally with laughter and discomfort.

Bait 3D (2012) dir: Kimble Rendall
“After a monster freak tsunami hits a sleepy Australian beach town, their underground supermarket is submerged under water, trapping shoppers and staff. The water and a psycho robber on the loose are threatening enough, but the waves unleashed a pack of massive great white sharks hungry for blood.”

This movie succeeded where Shark Night 3D failed. It doesn’t take itself seriously, but unlike the goofy Piranha 3D, this is played with a straight face, adding to the absurdity and making it ‘work’. The body count isn’t as high as you might expect from a film like this, but some of the kills are very inventive. While I am still not sold on 3D itself (just a personal preference), this movie is a fun experience if you watch it with friends.

The Tall Man (2012) dir: Pascal Laugier
“In the depressed Canadian town of Cold Rock, children are disappearing, never to be found again. When the spectral figure of The Tall Man kidnaps her son, widowed nurse Julia finds herself at the centre of the unravelling local legend.”

This is not what I expected from the director of the challenging Martyrs. It culminates in a twist that I’m not sure I liked, but I can’t say why without giving it away. Up to that point however, this is very atmospheric and has a chilling tone and effective scares throughout, augmented by great performances from the cast. Definitely worth a watch, but I’m not sure it’s for everyone.

Zombie Flesh Eaters (aka Zombi 2) (1979) dir: Lucio Fulci
“This classic zombie horror from Italian godfather of gore Lucio Fulci is one of the best ever made. A relentless crescendo of horror erupts when a decomposing corpse attack in New York leaders reporting a couple to a West Indian island, where they discover a disturbed doctor conducting experiments on the dead.”

Poor dubbing, superfluous nudity, crash zooms and explosive gore – what a film! Great to see this on the big screen.

The Helpers (2012) dir: Chris Stokes
“In this found footage slasher movie, seven friends on a road trip to Las Vegas break down near a rest stop motel, where they encounter what seems like the best group of good Samaritans ever. However, when they wake up in their rooms the next day, a nightmare of gruesome and bloody terror begins.”

The evening unfortunately ended on this anticlimax. Switching between hand-held and ‘regular’ footage seemed to be a device to distract the viewer from the poorly thought-out story and unoriginal kills. SPOILER: the torturers were brought up in an orphanage, where they were beaten if they asked for help, so they now kill anyone they come across who dares ask for assistance when in need.

As with last year, there were some short movies thrown into the mix as well. One of which was a zombie movie filmed in my home town. It was pretty cool to see the familiar streets littered with zombies.


At the formal:

There’s a dead crow outside:

Be sure to check out “Five things for Halloween”:

All in all, a great evening, if completely exhausting. Looking forward to next year already!



2 Responses

  1. Excision may be my favorite horror film of the year. I also had very low expectations for Bait and ended up liking it, too. The Tall Man, as you state, was nothing like I was expecting, but it was worth a watch just for the expert manipulation it performs on the audience for the first half of the film.

  2. I agree re: The Tall Man. I didn’t know what was coming, and enjoyed figuring it out. But I’d need to see it again to decide how I feel about the reveal. I think it had a great atmosphere, and some really good performances – a cautious recommendation, as I don’t think everyone will like it.

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