Unfortunately, I was only able to make one day of Grimmfest this year – and had to depart earlier than planned due to train issues. Nevertheless, I squeezed in four features and two shorts, and had a great time. I’m looking forward to hopefully attending the full festival in 2018 🙂
Of the films I saw, Double Date was certainly the stand out feature in terms of sheer enjoyment. It’s in cinemas now, and I would highly recommend it! Killing Ground was probably the best in pure horror terms, it has stuck in my head and is the film I have spoken about the most since the festival – it still makes me feel a little uncomfortable.
For a full run down of the films I managed to catch, see below!
Sound from the Deep
I really liked this Lovecraft-inspired Finnish short. Set in the Arctic Circle, a research team trying to find natural gas deposits are drawn off course to investigate rumbling sounds under the ocean. Is it the natural gas they were seeking, or has one of the crew lead them astray to seek something else entirely? My only real fear is open water, so while this short could have arguably been a gently start to the days viewing, it did actually rather freak me out. Some nice performances balance out some slightly dodgy special effects, and all in all it was a great start!
This film has stuck in my head over the past week, and I’ve found myself discussing it with a few people. A likeable couple on a New Year’s Eve camping trip unwittingly pick a spot near the scene of a horrific crime, and it won’t be long before the perpetrators come back to clean up their mess. Now, I’m perfectly at home with so called ‘torture porn’ and am fond of a bit of ‘ozploitation’. However, aspects of this film made me so uncomfortable that I struggled to enjoy it. That said, surely quality horror should be disturbing?! It is certainly a very well made horror film, but some of the content pushed boundaries for me that I didn’t really know I had (when it comes to fictional horror). I will be watching it again, I will be dissecting it again, and there’s a good chance I’ll decide I love it – but on first viewing it was a bit much for me. It’s been a long time since I felt that way about a horror film!
This film didn’t really do it for me. Young, beautiful and superficial Kira finds herself suffering with a quick-spreading nasty skin condition, while also struggling with memory loss. She tries to seek help from a creepy and mysterious doctor, but in the meantime Kira discovers for herself that she can replace her diseased skin with the healthy skin of others. She is then faced with a grotesque choice – accept that the disease will eventually take over her whole body, or steal the skin of other women to restore her beauty. This has a strong female cast and some quality gut-turning moments of body horror, but I found it slow-paced and struggled to connect to the main characters. I had surmised what the big plot twist would be early on, and after the reveal I felt the plot went a bit awry.
I haven’t seen many animated horror stories, so this French short was a novelty in that regard. A bullied officer worker wakes up naked in the woods, only to be pursued by a nightmarish assailant. It reminded me a little of the anime sequence in Kill Bill, but that may just show my lack of knowledge of this kind of art. I didn’t find this short particularly striking or appealing, but it was interesting to experience a different kind of storytelling.
Game of Death
I really enjoyed this splatter fest! Seven stereotypical horny, partying teenagers find an old, creepy game and (rookie mistake) decide to play it. They find themselves tasked with killing 24 people, or dying themselves…it’s kill or be killed, and some of the group take to the killing a little too readily. This was pretty trashy, and most of the characters are quite two-dimensional and/or annoying, but I thought it was good fun and really enjoyed sitting amongst like-minded folks in the cinema who also burst out laughing when someone’s head exploded!
Definitely the highlight of the day for me! Jim is a 29 Year Old virgin, who – with a lot of encouragement from his mate Alex – is determined to lose his virginity before his 30th Birthday. The boys meet seductress Kitty and her slightly more reserved sister Lulu, and invite the girls for a night on the town, with the ultimate aim of Jim finally getting laid. Unfortunately, Kitty and Lulu also happen to be serial killers, on a quest for victim number five – who they need to complete a blood-based resurrection ritual. The film is really very funny, but also managed to evoke some good jumps from the audience (well, it certainly did from me at least!). The writer and star Danny Morgan is clearly one talented bloke, and one to watch, and Michael Socha is on top form as the hapless but loyal Alex. I’ll definitely be watching it again at some point, and recommending it to others – and may even be rethinking my Top 5 Comedy-Horrors list!