Feature: The highs (and lows) of Frightfest 14 Simon Fitzjohn August 28, 2013 Editor's Choice, Features, Film4 Frightfest 1980 Having given our bloodthirsty writers a couple of days off after the horror marathon that is London’s Film4 Frightfest, we thought it only right that we should get them to offer up their best (and worst) of the five-day scare shindig. While there were a few films that certainly disappointed, the majority proved to be enjoyable – with some highly so. So here’s what our writers had to say: EMILY’S PICKS: The Good: My favourite film was The Conspiracy- it was something different- even though the found-footage style has been done to death it felt completely refreshed. Director MacBride captured it in a really realistic and unique way- it felt real [you could have mistaken it as a non-fiction documentary about conspiracy theorists/theories for the most part] and therefore had a genuine element of fear. Plus, the subject matter of world events and disasters created a constant overtone of dread that is way more frightening and close to home than any boogie man. The Bad: Worst film was The Dark Tourist [formerly the grief tourist! haha] it was long winded, boring and lacked any true fear factor/gore/excitement or suspense. Instead it seemed like a really self-conscious, pretentious attempt to be profound and intense addressing the ideas surrounding how crimes could be stopped with the correct psychological care prior to the events. The sex scene with the transsexual woman was awkward, the motives were shrouded in secrecy and the protagonist narrated the whole film more less, so much of the time we were watching him go about his day in silence. MATT’S PICKS: The Good: The closing film, Big Bad Wolves – With the atmosphere electric and melancholic after a weekend of thrills and chills, the auditorium was backed to see the anticipated finale, Israeli horror/black comedy Big Bad Wolves…and it didn’t disappoint. A tour de force filled with relentless horror, humour and humanity. Being there for its debut, with an audience lapping up every amazing second, laughing, wooping and gasping, was the epitome of what makes Frightfest such a unique and special event. No other festival quite has the same sense of community, enthusiasm and, ultimately, love for the dark art of the horror genre. A perfect moment with a truly exceptional film. The Bad: Honestly…there were no problems. Each film was particularly interesting in its own way, and the sense of community was intoxicating. So I guess the worst thing about Frightfest 2013 is…it doesn’t run all year long! LONG LIVE FRIGHTFEST! DAVE’S PICKS: The Good: This year’s programme was something of a disappointing mixed bag; there was no film that was truly shocking or boundary pushing, nothing taboo, nothing transgressive, perhaps the most disturbing film on offer being Ted Kotcheff’s 1971 classic Wake In Fright while the less said about the public fellating of Ben Wheatley the better. Which isn’t to say there weren’t good films. Despite sitting on a shelf for the last two years, mumblecore home invasion flick You’re Next justified its considerable buzz delivering a fantastic, playful genre film with a kick-ass heroine, Cheap Thrills was a sly, darkly comic little satire and dubstep Viking movie Hammer Of The Gods was more fun than any low-budget Norse remake of Apocalypse Now really deserved to be but the stand-out film of the weekend, hands down, was Ryuhei Kitamura’s gorgeous, nasty, rollercoaster thrill-ride No One Lives. With star-making turns from Derek Magyar, Adelaide Clemens and the fantastic Luke Evans, it’s a cheeky, gleefully violent B-movie that’s destined for cult status. The Bad: The worst film was harder to narrow down and while Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnaz nearly took the crown, the worst film had to be the inept The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill which felt like a really tedious, uneventful episode of Most Haunted directed by a Ben Dover wannabee. I’ve seen better film on teeth. SIMON’S PICKS: The Good: I’m going to go for the obvious I’m afraid and plump for You’re Next. Adam Wingaard’s stunning home invasion horror, infused with a cynical streak of jet-black humour, proved just as enjoyable second time round. Packed full of crowd-pleasing gore, showcasing a tough-as-nails heroine in the shape of Sharni Vinson and with enough twists and turns to both play up to and subvert genre conventions, this is one of my favourite films of the year – let alone Frightfest. The Bad: Sadly, the festival got off on a bit of a downer thanks to the disappointment of The Dead 2: India. Having lapped up the original this was probably the film I most anticipated over the five days, and certainly did not expect the sluggish retread that the Ford Brothers offered up. Stuffed with a suffocating sense of sentimentality and a host of poor performances, this proved a sequel to forget.