FrightFest 2013 Day 3


Day three was full of energy and surprises. Yes there were plenty more “Turn Off Your Phone” shorts before each film. Alan Jones reminded everyone that despite the effort of the videos, that not everyone was behaving themselves. We would have got offended by the fact that he singled out the Press, but to be honest after many years of press screenings we have to admit that the press really are some of the world’s worst (and dumbest) offenders. But to be fair, some of the onsite guests can be a bit clueless too – and sadly both groups sit right next to each other.

The rain came down on the third day – but that is obviously not going to be much of an issue for those of us sitting in the cinema watching another full on day of films – Starting with Lasse Hallstrom’s the Hypnotist, and ending with the deviant delight Cheap Thrills.


The masses gather!


Good morning Mr Jones!


And good morning Mr McEvoy!


Ian Rattray attends to the merch!


Terry Gilliam – who was on site to see Bobcat Goldwaithe’s Willow Creek (Which incidentally has it’s second screening bumped up to the Empire’s larger screen 2 after demand!) takes time to have his photo taken by about 100 fans!  We counted!  There was a lot of happy fans!


He doesn’t look cheerful, but he was on good form. Representing guilty pleasure – No One Lives!


There were many a red shirt like thus on site. Fetch were representing several films this day – Frankenstein’s Army, Hammer of the Gods, No One Lives and Cheap Thrills!


More make-up at the bar!074

The bar staff have like to present themselves with various designs each day.084

The Cheap Thrills intro with the director.


Bogi works the front desk – and is also not afraid to do her make up!

The Main Screen Films

The Hypnotist

Lasse Hallstrom directs this rather relaxed thriller. After a family massacre, a Hypnotist (with a few family issues of his own) is called in by the police to help awaken the thoughts of one of the onsite victims in order to unravel the mystery.

One can’t help but feel cynical towards the casting of Leno Olin, only because she is given so much screen time in the first half of the film that any other generic thriller would have chopped in half for the sake of giving the film a stronger and more vibrant pace.  It looks good, it’s well acted, but is it all necessary?


Frankenstein’s Army

A sort of found footage movie set in war time era – there is a bit of the steampunk influence here as well as some nice locations but sadly wasted on a dodgy script, some poor acting and some even more naff creature practical effects. Design is one thing – shooting the right angles and having the right puppetry is another.  A it of a chucklefest – but it is direct to DVD, so we won’t moan to much about it. At least it was better than the Outpost movies!


Hammer of the Gods

This Nordic tale set on UK land sees a small group of men on a mission to appease a father. throw in some back stabbing siblings, a convoluted twist or two, some very ropey dialogue and a lead with all the charisma of a common cold and you have an expedition geared towards sheer boredom marked out as plainly as the x on any treasure map.


No One Lives (3)

Rising star Luke Evans takes the lead in this revenge-psycho thriller. To explain too much about the story would perhaps give away too much of the plot.  Suffice to say Evans plays Driver, who is traveling on the road with his beau. The couple are dealing with a few issues along the way, but things take a turn for the worse when they are assaulted and captured on the road by a rag tag gang of local criminals. A few drops of blood spilled later and things turn a bit nasty for them.

Almost like a dark revenge comic tale, Evans becomes the avenger and one by one starts to pick off the crew. This is deliciously dark and whilst having some ludicrous moments (Evan’s initial hiding place being the most apparent), this is a fun time all the way through. The screenplay adds a different spin to the revenge tale by having their “protagonist” be not all they seem.


R.I.P.D. – 3D

The big Hollywood movie of the festival sees Ryan Reynolds dead copper joining the R.I.P.D. and gets teamed up with Jeff Bridges old dead sheriff.  Yes it’s very MIB, but we love the idea of James Hong playing Ryan Reynolds in some very funny scenes.

The film is no where near as bad as the US made it out to be, but this is hardly clever writing, and often feels like a missed opportunity with a lot of the action and gags. Still, with a crowd it’s a gas!


Cheap Thrills

Anyone who saw Ti West’s terrific The Innkeepers will be pleased to see his two leading actors Pat Healy and Sara Paxton back together for this darkly comedic thriller, albeit this time in very different roles.  Paxton steps back into the background, although makes her presence clear in every scene she is in.  Healy though steps up to the forefront to act as the lead in this otherwise ensemble drama.

Craig (Healy) is married with child, out of a job and out of luck.  A depressing visit to the bar finds him in a small reunion with a former close friend Vince (Ethan Embry), a down and out who works with his fists in order to make his bread. But then fates steps up when they are joined for drinks by the very loud Colin (David Koechner) and his wife Violet (Paxton). It seems these two have been handed every lucky hand you could wish for in life and are so bored with life in the fast lane that they do their drugs and pay off their mistreatment of others with their cash.

And it is cash that both Craig and Vince need, so both are drawn into a game that involves them accomplishing fairly simple yet sadistic tasks at the behest of Colin and Violet. The game though, and the urge for more cash, leads both men into darker territory and into competition with each other.

This is a superb premise that promises and deliver both the yuks as well as the blackest of comedic moments one could wish for. Likely to be not only the comedy highlight of the festival, it is also devilishly dark and just as strong contender for one of the best films of the festival. This one is not to be missed!



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