FrightFest 2017: Tragedy Girls review

★★★☆☆ You know the slasher-movie drill. Two high-school students are parked on a country lane at night. The windows have steamed up. Busy necking, the boy and girl suddenly hear a noise outside. The boy gets out of the car, goaded by the girl, who questions his masculinity.Soon enough, his young face meets a masked…

FrightFest 2017: Jackals review

★★☆☆☆ Kevin Greutert’s latest thriller sees a family up against a deranged cult. Set over the course of a few hours on a dark night, Jackals is an atmospheric horror movie from the director of the best Saw series (XI) and the criminally underrated Jessabelle.Set in the 1980s and supposedly based on a true story,…

FrightFest 2017: Attack of the Adult Babies review

★★★☆☆ Dominic Brunt’s third directorial feature is a political satire intent on causing a stink. A tale of human greed and demented obsession with money, Attack of the Adult Babies has a lot to get off its chest and it’s abundantly clear which political parties it’s targeting.Somewhere in Yorkshire, a cabal of white middle-aged, porcine…

FrightFest 2017: Victor Crowley review

★★★★☆ Kept under wraps for two years as a top-secret production, Adam Green’s Hatchet series redux Victor Crowley is a splatter movie joy. Both reboot and sequel directly connected to events in Hatchet III, Victor Crowley hits the horror movie sweet spot like an axe to the face. There’s something beautiful in the simplicity of…

FrightFest 2017: Mayhem review

★★★☆☆ Joe Lynch’s grisly corporate satire Mayhem follows a young lawyer’s mission to confront the company CEO that screwed him over. The lawyer (Steven Yuen) and everyone in the building has been infected with a virus known as ID7, which increases rage levels to deadly effect.Mayhem is a populist tale of striking back against corrupt…

FrightFest 2017: Imitation Girl review

★★★★☆ It would be unfair to dismiss Imitation Girl as an Under the Skin knockoff. Both are art films featuring an alien landing on Earth and assuming the form of a young woman, the theme of identity crisis is strong and there’s black gunk. That’s where similarities end.Julianna (Lauren Ashley Carter) is a porn actress living in…

FrightFest 2017: 68 Kill review

★★★★☆ Misogynistic exploitation cinema or a study of misogyny? Premiering at this year’s Horror Channel-sponsored FrightFest, director Trent Haaga’s 68 Kill is a violent, button-pushing caper with excellent performances from AnnaLynne McCord and Sheila Vand.68 Kill opens with the image of a fly trapped in honey. Given that the plot concerns a weak-willed young man…

FrightFest 2017: Cult of Chucky review

★★★☆☆ As the adage goes “Don’t fuck with the Chuck”, and the rule still applies. The maniacal doll is up to no good (for a change) in Don Mancini’s Cult of Chucky, a series revitalised from the remains of the Child’s Play series and showing no signs of slowing down.Following directly on from events in…

FrightFest 2017: Our programme highlights

FrightFest is a genre fan’s Christmas – a Black Christmas, naturally. 2017 marks its 18th edition and the UK’s premier horror cinema festival has returned to what was always its best venue: The Empire Theatre in Leicester Square, now run by the Cineworld chain. Attendees will remember well the experience of sitting in that giant…

FrightFest 2016: The Similars review

★★★★☆ Like an episode of The Twilight Zone guest-directed by Luis Buñuel, The Similars is richly absurd in premise but also founded on a bedrock of social and political issues. One vital historical reference is the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968, the same year in which the film is set, where the army killed protesters in…

FrightFest 2016: Shelley review

★★★★☆ Ali Abbasi’s striking debut Shelley is a Gothic horror that uses degeneration of the body to explore the exploitation of migrant workers and the individualist ideology that accompanies society’s growing obsession with ‘organic’ living. A young Romanian woman, Elena (Cosmina Stratan), arrives in the Danish countryside to work as a housekeeper for Louise (Ellen…

FrightFest 2016: Red Christmas review

★★★☆☆ On the colour wheel, Craig Anderson’s Red Christmas is more Bob Clark’s Black Christmas than Michael Curtiz’s White Christmas. While it’s tempting to bring them together as a Yuletide triptych, a ‘Three Colours Christmas’ triple-bill (Krzysztof Kieślowski missed a trick with that one), Anderson’s comic slasher doesn’t quite earn its wings as a potential…