Frightfest’s Halloween All-nighter, the third and final event of its annual calendar, returned to VUE West End last Saturday (26th) to screen six movies over fourteen hours through the night. This year, co-organisers Alan Jones, Paul McEvoy and Ian Rattray introduced four
premieres and two previews to a
(very nearly) packed screen, hosting a number of special guests and flinging out a number of cool merchandise. UK
premiere of SOULMATE was the first movie on the bill and the first of the
night’s many directorial feature debuts. Axelle Carolyn flew in from LA to
introduce her supernatural drama alongside executive producer Neil Marshall (The Descent) and leading cast members
Anna Walton (Hellboy 2) and Tanya
Myers (Casualty). UK
Synopsis: After a failed suicide attempt, Audrey (Walton) moves to a cottage in a remote rural Welsh village to escape her miserable life and come to terms with the tragic death of her husband. But when she starts to feel a haunting presence in the cottage, its tragic history begins to surface as she learns that she is not alone in her grieving.
“It’s an old fashioned, atmospheric, dramatic film… inspired by classic ghost stories”, explains Carolyn. “It’s a little bit different.”
Its amalgamation of classic literature and themes of romanticism are certainly refreshing amidst the long runs of supernatural horrors driven by evil paranormal presences and countless jump scares. It’s a simple tale concentrated in fantastical elements, and the gloomy disposition of the Welsh countryside conveys a chilling atmosphere. Walton delivers a fine performance oozing with melancholy, saying of the screenplay: “I thought it was a very sensitive and honest betrayal of someone dealing with grief.”
Though it may tug at fear and sadness, it never really commits to a deeper emotional substance with regards to Audrey and ghost Douglas (Tom Wisdom), and we beg for a more meaningful outcome than what the uninspiring ending offers.
A Q&A about life and death (cheerier than it sounds) ended with Marshall discussing his next project after Games of Thrones, the remake of Norwegian film-footage film Troll Hunter, in which he anticipated the audience’s grunts with an “I know, boo hiss.” Yes, boo hiss indeed.
The much-anticipated PATRICK remake was up next for its
premiere and third screening worldwide. Another feature debut in the line-up sees
Doc-God Mark Hartley (Not Quite UK , Machete Maidens
Unleashed!) re-envisage Richard Franklin’s 1978 beloved Hitchcockian homage.
For those unfamiliar with the story…
Synopsis: Nurse Kathy Jacquard (Sharni Vinson) takes a job at a private psychiatric clinic in the secluded outback and soon develops an interest with the patient behind door 15. Handsome Patrick (Jackson Gallagher) is a comatose, following a bathtub incident with his mother and her lover, and is the goldenboy of Doctor Roget (Charles Dance) unethical experiments. But his unhealthy fondness for Jackie becomes dangerous when his telekinetic powers start ruling her life.
For what seems to be a pointless remake, Hartley’s rendering was pretty much as expected. The structure was annoyingly formulaic; the gory effects unjust and out of place with its gothic tone; and the intriguing elements of the original’s mystery were instead replaced with outright shock. Not to mention that it crescendos at thirty minutes and defiantly plods through the motions until it comes to an underwhelming hault. Thankfully, an unrelentingly raucous, electrifying score by Pino Donnagio (known mostly for his sound work on the likes of Carrie and The Howling) strikes an appropriate pulsating energy into every scene and rightfully deserves all the attention it demands throughout.
Vinson plays perhaps her most convincing role yet and fellow nurse Williams (Peta Sergeant) provokes a few welcome gags. It’s clear that Hartley made this picture through his love and respect of Ozploitation classics. But
’s original was
undeniably flawed. And this is disastrously so. Franklin
Star and (as Alan dubbed) “exploitation scream queen” Sharni Vinson (Bait 3D, You’re Next) blessed us with her presence and answered questions about being an actress before talking about her recent heavy involvement in horror and if she’d stick to the genre.
“It’s not intentional, I just take what lands in my lap at the right time. It just so happened that the last three were horror… I went through all the horror movies at a young age. I love horror and I love action… I wouldn’t not do a horror but I wouldn’t not not do a horror,” she said.
What we do know is that Vinson is not against the idea of doing sequels to her two 2013 horros. But the Final Girl raised a very valid point – “All my co-stars die, so who would I work with?”
Patrick is set to be released theatrically in the
US next spring but has not yet secured a distributor.