Grimmfest, one of the UK’s largest horror and genre film festivals is back for 2021, with a physical and online version for fans to enjoy.
Here is our coverage of the features from Day 1 –
The Beta Test
A married Hollywood receive a mysterious letter for a no-strings-attached sexual encounter which leads him down a deadly and bizarre rabbit hole.
The latest feature from Jim Cummings (The Wolf of Snow Hollow) is a mixed bag that feels as much a character study as an offbeat dark comedy. The plot feels deliberately off-kilter and chaotic which make it oddly compelling although this won’t be for everyone.
Alone With You
We focus on a young woman who is preparing for the homecoming of her girlfriend but we soon find that everything is not what it seems. Alone With You strikes a bit more of a sombre tone than The Beta Test but does carry a certain chill factor.
Directors Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks create some very interesting imagery and certainly harken on the isolation theme which plenty of people can relate to over the past 2 years.
The film also poses plenty of questions and gives us a number of scenarios and clues to what the true nature of this story is and is the wicked fun is the guessing game.
Alone With You is a dark character study with some nightmarish imagery.
On The 3rd Day (by David Dent)
Argentinian cinema is offering up some very interesting titles at the moment, and ‘On the 3rd Day’ is another great addition to the list.
For most of its running time, this is the story of a woman trying to recover her own memories. Cecilia (Mariana Anghileri), driving with her son Martin in the car, becomes involved in a three vehicle crash after being distracted by a woman trying to wave her down at the roadside. Three days later Cecilia wakes up, with no memory of what’s happening, and with Martin unaccounted for, much to the annoyance of her ex husband Fernando, who also goes missing.
Of the other two vehicles in the crash, only a truck belonging to a priest, Enrique (Gerardo Romano) is found, complete with its cargo, a crate which seems to be empty and which originally carried a coffin. The third vehicle – a car – is also missing.
A bewildered Cecilia is detained pending being interviewed by the police and checked out by a sympathetic doctor; she escapes before she can be questioned. The doctor persuades her to undergo hypnotism to recover her memories; and when she does people begin to feel that they would be safer if she remained amnesiac.
There is no way to describe the last third of the film without giving away a major plot twist, except to confirm that it transforms the movie from a rather murky mystery to full on horror. ‘On the 3rd Day’ looks gorgeous and is fully of quirky moments which continually unseat – and more than once downright confuse – the viewer. It’s all rather over the top (and over excitable) but good fun and Anghileri’s performance is both nuanced and visceral.
The Free Fall
Suicide is a difficult subject to broach, with many films struggling to capture the mental state that a person can be in to consider it.
During ‘The Free Fall’ we follow a woman in the aftermath of a failed attempt and her attempt to put her life back together whilst navigating a possessive partner.
The film conjures up some nightmarish and twisted imagery which feels like a byproduct of PTSD.
There are chances taken in The Free Fall which you will either accept and go along with or it could derail the experience for you. There are breadcrumbs to larger plot points throughout but it would be unfair to spoil them here.
The Free Fall however, is stylishly shot with a bombastic and thunderous score which only adds to its haunting motifs. A serviceable and creepy feature.
Midnight is an adrenaline rush like no other film being shown on the festival circuit.
We follow a deaf woman and her mother, who accidentally interrupt a serial killer stalking the streets, only to become his next potential victims.
While some horror serial killers slowly stalk their victims our killer here is like a wild animal who will sprint at full pelt to get his next kill and he just doesn’t stop.
Midnight is like the most intense cat and mouse game put to screen in some time. Our killer doesn’t discriminate with weapons and will just grab whatever is around to get the job done.
Director Oh-Seung Kwon employs the deafness plot device similar to Mike Flanagan in Hush, which ultimately creates some nerve-shredding scenes.
Midnight is a thrill ride from start to finish which will leave you spellbound by its conclusion. A festival highlight.
In the opening minutes of Faceless a man is seemingly mauled by a dog and then waking up in the hospital having been the recipient of a full face transplant.
We see flashes of his gruesome surgery which recall the reconstruction of Mason Verger’s face in the TV show Hannibal.
The man continues to receive strange looks from people in the streets and soon after he is attacked by a person with literally no face but he manages to escape.
Faceless feels plucked out of the Cronenberg guide to body horror with a sprinkle of noir for good measure. While its finale is slightly convoluted Faceless will certainly keep audiences guessing until its fight or flight conclusion.
Look out for more of our Grimmfest 2021 coverage in the coming days.