Film Event: Horror Channel FrightFest 2016 - Part II

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It's hard to believe that Horror Channel FrightFest was already a week ago. Having still got the buzz and since Part I of my time at the festival proved so popular, I thought I might as well crack on with my second and final installment. Here's Part II of the rundown of my time at FrightFest 2016...

Luna Wolf at FrightFest 2016
James Button FrightFest 2016
If you read Part I of my FrightFest 2016 coverage, you'll probably have spotted a few great and not so great titles from the festival. Well, Part II is no expection with some really stand out productions but also some which I wasn't so keen on. Without further ado then, here are my final set of reviews from the festival...

The Similars Film Review
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Set in at a remote bus station outside Mexico City, eight strangers gather as they wait for bus service to resume on a rainy October night. However, as the evening goes on, we learn more about the characters as they collectively experience a strange phenomenon. 

In all honestly, the less you know about the plot of The Similars, the better so to fully experience every plot twist and turn. Shot beautifully and drawing inspiration from american film noir and the Twilight Zone, Isaac Ezban's second feature proves to be a uniquely stunning and totally enthralling production. Much like so many successful Spanish/Mexican horrors which have proceeded it, such as The Devils Backbone (Guillermo del Toro, 2001), The Similars is fantastically eerie narrative which demands the attention of its viewers. It's chilling tale gets well and truly under your skin in a Hitchcock-esque way. Another favourite from the festival this year, The Similars gets a Sophie star rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

Broken film review
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Escaping a dark past, Evie (Morjana Alaoui) takes a job as a live-in carer for an ex-rockstar and tetraplegic, Jon (Mel Raido - Legend, 2015). Having suffered weeks of verbal and mental abuse from her intolerance patient, Evie’s frustrations begin to trigger traumatic memories which push her to the limit. 

Though there are some scenes which fall under horror conventions, Broken is ultimately a psychological thriller. With consistent topics of suicide and depression, the film shines a harsh light on the lurid and often unseen side of care work. With a limited budget and setting, Broken relies heavily on the success of it’s cast. Despite a few cliche lines of dialogue, both Raido and Alaoui offer believable and powerful performances within this immersive drama. With an engaging cast and well-written narrative, Broken offers a unique yet beautifully bleak drama with a guns blazing conclusion. Though not entirely without it’s faults, Broken is a unique and engaging film which earns itself a Sophie star rating of 3 out of 5 stars.  You can read my full review of Broken here. 

Here Alone film review
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Set in a campsite within the upstate New York forest, Ann (Lucy Walters) is forced to survive on her own in the wake of an apocalypse caused by a mysterious epidemic. The devastation has decimated society and forced her deep into the unforgiving wild where it is not the undead which are to be feared, but the living in this tale of the human condition. 

You may have noticed that I avoided the 'Z' word when describing the plot and that's because Here Alone, although set within such a world, sits slightly outside of it's genre. Similar to The Walking Dead, whilst Lucy is quite literally surrounded by zombies - the film is not about the horrors of the zombies themselves but of the feeling of loneliness and being utterly alone. Here Alone is very much a stripped-down drama about a woman who is forced to carrying on after losing her loved ones. Whilst there is, of course, some conventional horror in there for the FrightFest fan, the film focusses less on the zombie setting, a more on Ann in this beautiful shot and stylised narrative. Here Alone gets a Sophie star rating of 3 out of 5 stars.

Jessica Lowndes in Abattoir
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Following the brutal murder of her sister and nephew, Julie (Jessica Lowndes) goes in search of answers and justice. However, having returned to a town from her past and learned of its horrific history, Julie uncovers way more than she bargained for in this crime/horror.

Filled with twists and turns, Abattoir is very much a horror for crime lovers created by Saw II director, Darren Lynn Bousman. Unlike previous titles by the director, Abattoir isn't packed with violence and bloody entrails but there are still hints towards Bousman's previous works. Ultimately, Abattoir is well shot and has an engaging story though it is not without it's fault. Julia's ex lover who just so happens to be a police officer is an irrirating character and poorly acted. Furthermore, there are times when it just feels too long as it makes a slow, somewhat predictable drag towards the end. Whilst the climax pays off, some dodgey CGI does make it feel a little cringey in some places. Overall, Abattoir gets a Sophie star rating of 3 of out of 5.

Downhill film 2016 review
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Following the death of his best friend in a tragic racing accident, professional downhill biker, Joe (Bryce Draper), agrees to get back on the saddle for an all expenses paid trip to Chile with girlfriend Stephanie (Natalie Burn - The Expendables 3). Whilst out on a test run, however, the couple find a badly injured man in a crashed car. Noticing a strange rash on the stranger's face, they soon discover that it is the result of a flesh eating virus - making them a target of a relentless gang of killers who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets from leaving the mountain.

Combining witchcraft/satanism with a murderous gang, at times Downhill seems a little confused with it's own identity. The 'witchcraft' scenes seem to add absolutely nothing to the story and actually ends up exposing it's lack of budget. The special effects makeup make for cringe-worthy viewing which is a shame as it's not a bad movie overall. Despite some cliches and some cheesy dialogue, Downhill is a watchable narrative that lets itself down at the last hurdle. Downhill gets a Sophie star rating is 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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Well, that it for another year - thanks so much to everyone at FrightFest for allowing me to attend another year and provide so much coverage of the event. I really enjoyed the new venue at Shepherd's Bush although I must admit it felt so different to previous years. For me, my favourite films from the festival had to be Beyond the Gates and The Master Cleanse (which you can read about here) - I hope to see them get distributed for others to enjoy very soon. What do you make of the films above? Which film festivals have you attended? As always, I love reading your thoughts so please do leave me lots of lovely comments down below. 

Until next time horror fans,



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6 comments:

  1. I hope that I'll be able to eventually see some of these films eventually. I watched Housebound last night since you mentioned it and I enjoyed it a lot :) I went on IMDb and saw a post regarding a possible American remake. I guess this helps the filmmakers as they get money from selling the rights but I kind of cringe at the general idea of remakes. Anyway, I'm glad the original is available on Netflix. I hope you have a great weekend, Sophie :)

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    1. Ah no! Why do they remake films that are perfectly good as they are? I hope they don't do it cos it's such a good film as it is. I absolutely love NZ film - Taika Waititi is my favourite director for sure :)

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  2. This is great, Sophie! I really like the look of The Similars as it looks very stylized and unique. Thanks so much for sharing your coverage of this year's festival, have a wonderful week xx

    Ashley C
    http://www.imamovienerd.wordpress.com

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    1. I think you'd really enjoy it - it's shot really nicely and it's got a great story. You're most welcome m'dear :) x

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  3. Here alone sounds pretty good! I'm a fan of apocalyptic movies I have to say. :) - Becky

    www.wanderergirl.com

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    1. Yeah it's really beautifully shot. I think the director has big things coming up :) xx

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