The London Film Festival is set to start on 6th October, with a number of genre films set to light up one of the biggest film festivals.
Female-directed horror is all the rage at the moment with the critical success of Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor, and carrying on this theme here are some of the stellar selections for the Cult Strand of LFF 2021 –
She Will – dir. Charlotte Colbert
Emulating the screen divas of yesteryear, Veronica Ghent (Alice Krige) is a fading yet charismatic actor. Arriving at what she hopes will be a restorative and solitary retreat, and accompanied by her nurse Desi (Kota Eberhardt), Veronica soon learns that all is not as it seems. There are whispers regarding the dark history of the land the retreat was built on – even the mud covering the woodland seems to have a life of its own. As Veronica delves into her own abusive past with the director (Malcolm McDowell) who made her a star, something begins to change within her. Perhaps it’s the fresh Scottish air that’s reinvigorating her, but also giving her dreams of vengeance. Or perhaps it’s something even stranger and stronger.
A Banquet – dir. Ruth Paxton
Teenage Betsey lives at home with her mother and younger sister. Still devastated by the untimely death of her father, Betsey shares a close bond with her family, but tensions begin to surface when an unexplained experience at a friend’s house party sees her slowly start to withdraw from those around her. Refusing to eat, but losing no weight, Betsey’s behaviour becomes increasing erratic, until she makes the claim that her body is no longer her own, but now in service to an external force. Following the likes of Raw and Saint Maud, Ruth Paxton’s striking feature debut forms part of an exciting new wave of female-driven horror cinema. Using genre storytelling to craft a potent, often horrifying, portrait of adolescent trauma, body dysmorphia and self-harm, A Banquet has the power to terrify, whilst offering plenty to sink your teeth into.
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon – dir. Ana Lily Amirpour
At first glance, Mona Lisa looks like she wouldn’t hurt a fly. But appearances can deceive. Mona has a very special gift – the psychokinetic ability to control the actions of others. Using her lethal powers of persuasion to escape the psychiatric facility in which she has been locked up, Mona flees to New Orleans where she meets street smart-stripper Bonnie and her wise-beyond-his-years pre-teen son. Excited to exploit her new friend’s talents, Bonnie convinces Mona to swindle the skeezy punters at her strip joint out of their hard-earned dollars. But the pair best beware – although they’re raking in the cash, the police are closing in. With its down-and-dirty punk charm, Amirpour’s wickedly subversive, adult fairy-tale is a truly wild ride, bursting with wit, imagination, and perhaps most surprisingly, a huge beating heart.
Find out more about the London Film Festival 2021.