It’s the final day of Grimmfest 2021 at the Odeon, Great Northern in Manchester, so here’s our verdicts of the features screening today –
Shot in the Dark
Keena McRae’s Shot In The Dark is a visceral experience with a rural town haunted by a potential serial killer.
We follow on from a spree of killings, with all signs pointing to one of the victims’ ex-lover’s who has become withdrawn and distant since the incident. For much of the film the killer’s identity is shrouded in mystery but once the curtain is pulled back the results are even more devastating than you can imagine.
Shot in the Dark does not pull its punches, with its violence certainly not for the squeamish amongst us. Its unsettling, twisted but so compelling.
Tarumama deals with a small family who go to stay in a remote cabin but become haunted by a mysterious woman from nearby who causes conflict amongst them, exposing their fragile relationships.
Early on one of the parents reads Hansel and Gretel to one of the children, which feels like a precursor to what is to come later. As the story develops we learn more about the family and find that everything is not well and this trip could either make them or break them.
Tarumama drips with stylish dread and coupled with a haunting score makes for quite the unsettling story. When monsters do turn up they also look incredible, so hats off to the production design too.
A clever twist on the cabin in the woods motif with some genuine scares and bucketloads of atmosphere.
The directorial debut of Mark O’Brien, shot in black and white sees a couple take in a mysterious man after he sports a leg wound near their home in bad weather.
Slowly they discover there is more to him than initially suspected and they could be in mortal danger. Even though O’Brien directs his character of Aaron is the best in the film, as he oozes dread and almost makes you want to grab through the screen to throttle him as he toys with this couple.
The Righteous is also the sort of film where everything can mean something, so potentially throwaway dialogue could become important later. The fact it looks absolutely stunning coupled with this compelling plot means you can’t take your eyes off it.
Given the title it also poses questions about faith and what it means to be a holy man who has sinned.
Be careful what you wish for, be certain what you pray for.
Easily one of the best horror films of 2021; masterful.
The Guest Room
When a guest arrives at a hotel just as one of the owners is trying to throw themselves off the balcony, you know you are in for a bumpy ride.
The Guest Room is a dark mystery that keeps unraveling different strands to its narrative that will throw audiences constant curveballs. Is this a vengeance story? A supernatural one? You will have to watch to find out.
The hotel itself feels like it exists in a grey, ambiguous space which complements the story perfectly. Having said this, The Guest Room can get extremely violent which only adds to its bleakness.
The film exists in this strange dystopia which will either engross you or put you off. This is very much a case of once you check in, you can’t check out.
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
Pitched as a study of an obsessive RPG online gamer, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair feels more like a study of a slow mental breakdown.
This is very much a commentary on how some of us exist and interact online compared to ‘normal’ life and in a two year period of lockdowns and online living and working for some this feels like a film that will speak directly to some.
There are vibes of The Ring with how We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is shot, although it doesn’t carry the same sort of dread.
It strikes a very sombre tone and again will not be one that will have audiences grinning from ear to ear once the credits roll.
Blast (coming soon)
By David Dent