Written by Daniel Benson
Published on Friday, 22 August 2014 15:15
Film4 Frightfest Day 1
It's on. After a slightly frantic train delay and a clammy journey across London (seriously guys, this city is always uncomfortably sticky) I was ready to suckle on the teat of horror in the capital. Adam Wingard's action thriller The Guest had the honour of being the opening film and it launched us into a great start. While Wingard has earned his horror stripes with the V/H/S movies and You're Next, The Guest is a strictly non-horror affair. Dan Stevens is the devilishly handsome and beguiling stranger David who turns up at a family home, claiming to be a military squad mate of their killed-in-action son. With his straightforward and sometimes painful remedies to problems he sets about solving issues for members of the family, all while keeping them under his spell to think he's a good guy. A History of Violence meets The Bourne Identity as the inevitable truth about David's past is revealed. Not horror, as I mentioned, but there's enough brutality and quick kills to keep hardened horror fans more than happy and to get the pulse racing for those who like their action movies.
Following on from a non-horror movie, opening the UK's biggest horror film festival... another non-horror movie. Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Die For
was another choice that has had fans scratching their heads. I can't profess to being a fan of the first film, haven't even seen it, so I was curious as to how the sequel, with its hyper-stylized comic book noir feel, would sit with me. Fairly well wouldseem to be the answer. It was screened in 3D, which actually worked in conjunction with its unusual and unique look. More of an anthology than a straightforward narrative (I believe, but don't quote me, it's based off three stories from the comics) it's an entertaining blend of over the top violence, quirky characters and film-noir stylings. Oh, and plenty of nudity, so if bare flesh is your thing then this will go down a storm. Eva Green spends almost the entire film naked with only strategically cast shadows to hide her modesty.
Finally, in the midnight slot and perfectly suited to it too, was a film that social media will not have left you unaware of, Zombeavers
. Exactly as silly as you would expect from its title and premise, but no less entertaining. Stop me if you've heard this one before... A bunch of kids go for a holiday in the wilderness and bad things happen. In this case it's an attack from a bunch of beavers that have been exposed to medical waste that makes them attack humans. They also come back to life if anyone kills them. I was expecting to hate Zombeavers
, thinking I was in for something akin to the SyFy mutant monster movies. Fortunately this film dispenses with the heavy CGI and goes for old school puppetry for the monsters, which dials up the levels of silliness on show. At a brisk 76 minutes it still felt a touch on the long side, but maybe that's because you really need to stay until after the credits to see a big hint at a possible sequel. Ultimately it's a once and done film, unless ridiculous undead water mammals are your raison d'etre.
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