This is the second year we have been invited to the superb Mayhem Film Festival at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham.
Here are our verdicts on some of the features screened as part of the Saturday program –
The Pool – When a film opens with a crocodile chomping at a man’s leg you know you are in for a rough ride. Taking the survival thriller to new heights, The Pool is an intense journey that puts our characters in so many impossible scenarios you will lose count.
After Day is trapped in a drained pool after a film shoot, he must try and find a way out as well as dealing with the small matter of an angry escaped crocodile. Through a superb script, we really unravel the lead character of Day and his girlfriend Koi as she tries to help him escape. Add into the mix family dog Lucky and you have enough heartstrings to tug at for weeks.
There is a perfect blend of suspense sequences and emotional weight to scenes to grip the viewer plus one moment where your jaw will hit the floor.
After Midnight (Something Else) – Mixing the tropes of what feels like an archetypal romance with monstrous elements is the basis for After Midnight.
At times it is really suspenseful but it turns out this is just a side part what is the underlying current of a long-term relationship. In After Midnight the best scenes involve no action or monsters just really powerful dialogue.
The monster itself is a fantastic and original creature design but feels slightly out of place in some scenes. Where After Midnight really succeeds is with its black comedy moments and building up characters plus there’s a musical scene worth the entrance fee alone.
An uneven mishmash of ideas that is largely saved by a crazy finale.
The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil – This UK premiere is apparently already lined up for the US remake treatment for one Sylvester Stallone; and you can see why.
The Gangster…. is a stunning piece of cinema that blends the tropes noir thrillers such as Chinatown with elements of the best serial killer stories.
We have a killer in town, who is taking down his victims by ramming them with his car then getting stabby. What he doesn’t bet on is targeting the head of one of the town’s biggest gangs and after the Don survives the attack he sets on his own plan of revenge.
Standing in his way is an ambition cop who wants to catch the killer to help his promotion chances and also expose the corruption within the force.
With stunning action sequences including a breathtaking car chase and a fight sequence that feels lifted from a John Wick film, there’s plenty to admire here.
Although it feels like the film has multiple finales, the payoff is worth it and begs the question; what is real justice?
A highlight of the festival circuit so far this year.