Even the best festival line-ups have their duds, but in the case of Frightfest 2016, there were very few outright stinkers to rage over. It was an incredibly strong schedule overall, replete with soon-to-be new favourites (Beyond The Gates), intriguing indie gems (Night Of Something Strange) and shock big-hitters (31).
Even so, no festival is perfect. Certain movies will always sneak in to leave us flabbergasted in our seats, silently (or not so silently, depending on just how terrible they are) wondering “who the hell chose this?” The following are my picks for the bottom five flicks that screened at Frightfest 2016. Other opinions are, of course, available.
In no particular order:
Characters don’t have to be likeable for us to invest in their struggle, but in the case of Broken, there’s scarcely a single person on-screen who isn’t a total asshole. This, combined with the half-baked manner in which each of them are sketched, makes it difficult to care, even in the case of Martyrs‘s Morjana Alaoui, who does her best in a thankless, severely underwritten role. What should’ve been a tense push/pull power struggle between two damaged people is hampered by terrible staging, bizarre paranormal interludes and a complete lack of stakes. In the end, you’ll be hoping both of them perish.
We Are The Flesh
The biggest disappointment of the weekend, because it came with the best word-of-mouth imaginable (the new Von Trier! The new Noé! Too sick and repulsive for normal people!) We Are The Flesh is ninety minutes of try-hard shock tactics against an orange backdrop (ideal for interest-stoking publicity shots). The big moment you’ve heard whispers about all year is dispensed with swiftly to make way for more philosophising from the film’s interminable villain, who talks about sick shit way more often than he actually indulges in it. Boring, pretentious and ultimately unmemorable.
A remake of a cult classic that adds nothing for a modern audience (particularly one unfamiliar with the source material) isn’t anything new, but in the case of Marcel Walz’s Blood Feast, it’s even more astounding given the Herschell Gordon Lewis cult classic is such an oddity in its own right. Walz relocates the action to Heidelberg (unconvincingly passed off here as Paris), loads the thing up with impressive, but largely tame, gore and then leaves to marinate. Not to indulge the fanboys any further, but it’s a recipe for disaster and will leave a bad taste in your mouth for all the wrong reasons.
My Father, Die
Sean Brosnan’s casting of the wildly underrated actor Joe Anderson is about the only thing for which he should be heralded, in relation to the intensely mean-spirited My Father, Die. Anderson does good work here, and if the movie consisted of him sat there, staring into the camera for an hour, it might have been a touch more involving. As it stands, this is wannabe-art-house dross with absolutely nothing new to say or show in relation to the revenge movie sub-genre. Anderson is wasted, the female characters are treated appallingly and the whole thing overstays its welcome after about ten minutes.
This Spanish/British collaboration is being sold as Jurassic Park meets The Walking Dead. In reality, it’s a bit too concerned with being the former, while simultaneously swiping the most dull and uninspired elements of the latter. The result is a mish-mash of useless exposition, meaningless carnage and a bizarre attempt at emotional investment in the zombie struggle that is neither developed enough, nor followed through, to the point of caring about it. The Mallorca location is decent, but we don’t see much of the landscape until the end, at which point we could be anywhere, in any number of zombie movies.