Geek To Geek Chic – Film4 FrightFest the 13th Day 1

29 Aug

This bank holiday weekend gone saw the wonderful Film4 FrightFest return to London for its thirteenth event, taking over the Empire cinema in Leicester Square. If you’ve never been to FF before, I wholeheartedly recommend going. Not only do they show some brilliant films and have a great atmosphere, but the crowd are one of the best you will ever find at any festival. This is a crowd full of fans who all love the genre and every year I can guarantee you’ll make new friends that you’ll see again and again. Last year was my first time, after wanting to go for years, and as soon as it finished I’ve been counting down the days until this years event began and it was absolutely fantastic. Here are a few personal highlights from Day One of the festival, I hope that a few of you can share yours with me too…

After a relatively funny (what can I say, I have a problem with humour…) introduction from comedian Ross Noble, this year got off to a start with the opening film The Seasoning House, directed by special effects maestro Paul Hyett. A psychological thriller set in a Balkan brothel during the conflicts of the 1990s, The Seasoning House holds a fantastic performance from lead actress Rosie Day in the role of a deaf-mute taken to the brothel as a younger teen and forced to look after the rest of the girls held there (a birthmark renders her ‘damaged goods’). Day is delightful to watch, an acting display relying solely on expression and body language which she pulls off with incredible ease. Her rapport alongside co-star Kevin Howarth, playing brothel owner Viktor, is solid as is his equally memorable turn which is heartfelt, conflicted and sleazy all at once. Both are actors I hope to see more of in the future. The film itself starts off well, but once the narrative leaves the actual house itself, it sadly takes a nose dive. That’s not to say that the film is awful, it’s beautifully shot, acted and edited, but fails to expand on the promise it shows in its first half. Some plot elements are ridiculously silly and predictable, as is Sean Pertwee’s rather unconvincing accent that sticks out amongst a sea of others that seem faultless. That said, this is Hyett’s directorial debut and apparently the first part of a planned trilogy, and I have no doubts that he’ll be a name to look out for in the future. A strong first feature which is worth checking out.

Next up on the Thursday night was the World Premier of Cockneys Vs Zombies, a filmwhich pretty much does what it says on the tin. This fun romp across the East End, brilliantly written by James Moran, was one of the most fun screenings of the entire weekend, bringing laughs by the bucket loads. Leads Harry Treadaway and Rasmus Hardiker are brilliant (and incredibly lovely in real life, along with fellow cast member Jack Doolan) as two brothers trying to save their Grandfather’s Nursing Home from closing down, amidst a zombie invasion. As you do. Full of some very British gags and a secondary cast of some of our country’s finest and memorable actors (Alan Ford, Honor Blackman, Richard Briers, Dudley Sutton), weirdly Cockneys does feel a bit like a foreigners perspective of the capital, a wee bit too clichéd and over the top for my liking. However, the picture is a lot of fun and has a little more heart that some of the other zombie genre movies that seem to be churned out every month. A great ending for our first night!

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