Having finally recovered from the antics of last Saturday's FrightFest Halloween all-nighter, i've had time to reflect on the bits of the line-up that really were hard to stay awake for (almost ditching my pro-plus efforts and calling for matchsticks), as well as reminding myself of some of the summer programmes gems (which i'd largely, and undeservdly, ignored in my previous post about the festival.)
When a freak tsunami hits a coastal city, the surviving shoppers of a supermarket must swim their way out- but first, they must tackle a 12-foot shark that lurks amidst the aisles. It’s ludicrously laugh-out-loud clichés, hammy 3D moments, and handful of witty one-liners make for an entertainingly dumb and frumpy fun character drama. But for a shark movie, its demise lies in the lack of teeth-wrenched guts and bloody endings. Nevertheless, there have been bigger fishy flops, and at least Bait’s shark doesn’t roar like a lion (Jaws 4) or have characters jet ski their way straight into the predators mouth at 40mph (Shark Attack 3). We sit and sigh as we wait for Bait 3DD.
What happens when you get two freak punctured tyres on your road trip to Vegas? Whatever you do, do not receive a free repair, unlimited free booze, food and accommodation from a bunch of fun-loving teens- self-dubbed ‘The Helpers’- at their motel. Why? Because you could awaken tied up in a death trap faced with your last few minutes to live. Very unhelpful you’d think. Though this No Vacancy/Saw spin-off boasts some non-imaginative-but-pretty-cool deaths, there are few surprises and even fewer (actually, no) characters that we give a crap about. Curiously labelled a “found-footage” horror (the handheld camera technique gives up after the first fifteen minutes), its final revelation plunges the revenge scheme into a confusing contradiction when the helpers torture-terror is hinted to continue after their intended victims are (literally) ripped apart.
It seems that Elijah Wood’s ‘One Ring’ has had a lasting effect on the LOTR star as he bloodies up to lead in Franck Khalfoun’s remake of 80’s genre classic, Maniac. A psychologically deranged owner of a Mannequin store, who has fetish for scalps, develops a stalkerish obsession with a local female photographer. Though Wood’s typical on-screen appearance has the scare capacity of a custard cream, his deliverance of infamous serial-killer Frank couldn’t have been more convincing. His fluctuating withdrawn-awkwardness-turned-to-brutal-madness offers both a spectacular character study as well as an eye-fixating visceral display of gore and violence. Who knew, a remake worth watching!
You’d back the horror debut entry from the daughter of one of