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Friday's first offering was Renny Harlin's mysterious true-story adaptation The Dyatlov Pass Incident. As has become customary for me at Frightfest, cramming in a full day of films, plus the interviews we do for Horror DNA TV, eating, sleeping and writing up on a daily basis means that the first film of the day is usually a casualty and I never get to see it. Fortunately, Becky Roberts has this one covered.



[BR]: Having been documented and fictionalized in TV and books since the legal inquest was declared inconclusive, the popular found footage subgenre may have instinctively appeared to be the next format for theorizing this Russian mystery. Maybe it is. But here, the priorities are muddled and the occasion wasted; the narrative dominance of sweeping facts, theories and context adds nothing to the complexity of existing literature, thus leaving the plausible, imaginative scope to be half-heartedly executed as a mere after-thought.

Read the full review HERE



Kit Ryan's Dementamania is a film I'd been looking forward to, only by virtue of the fact there had been so little information available on it pre-festival. It tells the story of Ed, stung by a wasp on his way to work, who starts to experience strange visions. Part American Psycho, part Fight Club it had the potential to be a great 'descent into madness' film, but suffers from not really knowing which direction it wants to head. Some slightly dodgy acting and less than great CGI add to the problems, and when the final act comes (eventually, there are several points at which you feel it should end) you're left with a less than satisfactory wrap up.


Mid-afternoon saw the Variety Spotlight interview with Ben Wheatley. My queue to leave; not a fan of his work and the break is most welcome. The time was put to good use interviewing director Richard Raaphosrt and actor Alexander Mercury about Frankenstein's Army, which is showing Friday. I headed back to the hotel to do some work to kill the time until Hatchet III. But like Victor Crowley I went a touch overboard with the killing and ended up realising that the film had started - 30 minutes ago. Chalk one up to poor clock watching. Again though, my Horror DNA buddies have my back because Joel Harley has already gone into detail on this one.


[JH]: As with the other films in the series, it's imperfect – the effects look slightly shonkier this time around, and it really could do with escaping the swamp at this point – but there's too much to love for any of its faults to be an issue. Williams and Galligan rock their roles as a journalist and her Sheriff ex-husband, and Hodder is clearly enjoying himself in the Crowley dungarees and makeup. First time director BJ McDonnell does a great job handling this sequel which, as with its predecessors, seems to end far too soon. Hopefully that means they're saving even more for a Hatchet 4 and 5. Long may the Crowley curse continue.

Read the full review HERE



Early evening kicked of with Vincenzo Natali's Haunter. Having previously helmed Cube and Splice, Natali's track record for away from the norm horror should have delivered something special in ghost movies. Sadly not, Haunter is a little convoluted and a very safe PG-13 horror about a young girl making contact with a ghost of another girl who was killed in the house years earlier. A strong performance from Abigail Breslin in the lead, but no real substance to the proceedings. Beautifully shot, with some interesting ideas, but the overall feeling that it was all a bit too safe.



V/H/S/2 in the mid-evening slot had been high on many people's list of priorities, including mine. There has bee much talk, maybe a little too much, about Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto's segment Safe Haven about an Indonesian religious cult. It is a strong chapter in the anthology, but when it comes to sheer terror, Adam Wingard's Phase 1 Clinical Trials is where it's at. I found this one terrifying, telling the story of a man with an electronic eye implant, fitted after an accident, that starts manifesting hideous visions. Talk about jump scares... Elsewhere, Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale's A Ride in the Park is a fun zombie outing and Jason Eisener's Slumber Party Alien Abduction probably the weakest of the shorts (excluding the wraparound). Greater than the sum of its parts, V/H/S/2 was a roaring success, and a worthy succession in the anthology series. Can they make it three for three now?

You can read Simon Bland's full review of V/H/S/2 HERE, or Ted McCarthy's HERE


100-bloody-acres-poster The night was rounded out with Australian horror comedy 100 Bloody Acres. I had been hoping for a really good time with this one, expecting an Antipodean Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil. Sadly, it was not to be the case. While the trailer and poster might make it look like a gory horror romp, the reality is, you're unlikely to enjoy it unless you find Australians funny (I don't) or want to watch a bunch of people tied to a chair while some incompetent farmers mess about (I don't). The film follows a group of kids heading to a music festival in the outback of Austraila who come across a local farmer who picks up roadkill to re-use as fertiliser, but finds that human prey makes the veggies grow better. Such a good premise for an all-out splatter fest like Bad Taste or Braindead, but the opportunity goes wasted.


So that was it for day two. Back to bed wishing I'd taken the extra couple of hours sleep over kidnapping Aussie farmers, but you live and learn.




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Daniel Benson

About The Author
Daniel Benson
UK Editor / Webmaster
Fuelled mostly by coffee and a pathological desire to rid the world of bad grammar, Daniel has found his calling by picking holes in other people's work. In the rare instances he's not editing, he's usually breaking things in the site's back end.
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