Sunday 25 August 2013

Film 4 Fright Fest 2013 - Day 2 Friday 23rd August

The first day presented a heady mix of excitement and exhilaration even though Fright Fest for me did not get started until 9.00 at night. It was certainly an eventful and entertaining evening resulting in me crawling into my hotel room at an ungodly hour hoping I would survive the first full day of the event. The goal for that day was to cram in as many films as possible and report back to you all but this was a task that would prove to be easier said than done.

Day two started in the main screen with the latest addition to what is an over saturated market - the found footage sub genre. Amongst the high volume of these type of productions, the majority of which I can honestly say are poor, The Dyatlov Pass Incident (aka Devil's Pass) was one of the few that was of reasonable quality with a genuinely tense and unnerving atmosphere as well as an engaging story. It was also great to see Renny Harlin helming a solid picture again. This was followed later on with an early evening screening of Haunter, a solid ghost story with elements of The Others and Lovely bones with a spooky and twisted take on Groundhog Day. By any stretch not the best film premiering but it was refreshing to see a fairly creative and decent ghost story, This segmented into the main event which I had intended to miss and was pleased to have been swayed by an unexpected change of mind.

The star of the night had to be v/h/s 2, a collection of short "found footage" stories merged into a fantastic modern take on the horror anthology that used to grace the silver screen right up until the 80s and then disappeared into the ether (pun referencing Haunter intended). A sadly missed format which is now making a brutal and bloody return and with this latest offering, featuring a bevy of cult and horror directors who unleash mayhem on the senses of the audience. We laughed, cringed, and applauded furiously and came away feeling more cleansed and refreshed than a colonic. However the best was yet to come, and this epitomises Fright Fest perfectly. 

Gareth Evans, director of The Raid; Redemption, talked about the filming of his segment on v/h/s 2 with great passion and humour before unveiling a real film lover's treat; a world exclusive peak at a new film still in production. The scene from The Raid 2; Berandal due for release next year, excitedly teased actions fans with devastatingly bone crunching yet balletic display of "hari mau" martial arts as the assassin known only as Hammer Girl unleashed a carnage of punches, kicks, locks, and throws whilst armed with a pair of household hammers. D.I.Y will just never seem the same again after you see these put to deadly use.

A short film, the gripping and tense Turncoat, as well as conversing with like minded horror fans, writers and filmmakers added to what can only be described as a full on and engaging first full day of Fright Fest. If there is one thing I learned from today however is to queue early for the Discovery screens as sales for those go faster than tubs of ice cream from Empire Cinema's Ben and Jerry's stall. 

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