Back from FrightFest!


I’m back and decidedly weary after a great weekend at FrightFest Glasgow. It was a mixed bag of films, some of which you’ll be hearing a little more about on the site in the coming days, but as always, the best part was the people. Thanks to the friends old and new who made this trip what it was.

It was a busier lineup than ever, with twelve films and a host of shorts across the two days (not to mention The Forest on the Thursday evening. The less said the better about that one, but if you’re curious about what I made of it, I contributed to a group review of it over at Real Reel ScaresSPOILER: It’s atrocious.)

While the lineup was, if anything, a little overstuffed (general fatigue ruled me out of SPL2, and I’d admit to be getting a little on the burned out side by the time The Devil’s Candy wrapped things up), I’m not about to criticise it on those grounds. FrightFest continues to offer a really remarkable variety of films from a range of subgenres, and while you can’t please all the people all the time, there’s no denying that they give it a better go than most.

I’ll be taking a closer look at some of the films as the week goes on, but in the meantime, the bullet points look like this.

  • Best Film of the Festival: Southbound. This is, simply put, one of the best anthologies there’s been in years. Five independent stories link seamlessly and smartly, there’s not a weak segment in there. Richly metaphorical and in possession of the single scariest scene of any film of the weekend, this was a real smash. It also bears mentioning that Friday’s midnight movie, Tyler MacIntyre’s Patchwork was also an absolute stunner. More on both of these later.
  • Worst Film of the Festival: The Forest. See above. This film is an unmitigated disaster. Although, read on to find out what ran a close second.
  • Shorts Shorts Shorts. Katie Bonham’s Mindless, Vivieno Caldinelli’s Portal to Hell, Cat Davies’ Keen-Wah and Jon Mikel Caballero’s Ashen all ran this weekend, and not only were they a great collective example of precisely the diversity that FrightFest is known for, but were also all great in their own distinct ways.
  • Best Line of the Festival: “FLY, ARCHIMEDES, FLYYY!” You really have to see Patchwork.
  • It doesn’t matter how low your expectations were – the Martyrs remake is worse than you expect it to be. There’s no two ways about it. Lazy, tepid, bringing nothing to the table and never even beginning to justify its own existence, even the most open of open minds will struggle with this one. Regardless of your affection or otherwise for Pascal Laugier’s original, this simply does not work.
  • This advice should apply to all cinema-going everwhere.

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