The Horror Honeys: Monster Honey's Fright Fest Diary - Day 5!

Monster Honey's Fright Fest Diary - Day 5!

Catch up with each day of my festival experience! 

Day 1!

Day 2!

Day 3 & 4!

Monday - the final day of the festival!

Monday Monday. It’s not so good to me; mainly because that means that it’s the last day of FrightFest. How did it all go by so quickly? But I can’t dwell on that now, there are movies to watch!

Another case of drive-by haunting.
Paranormal Drive

Another one where I love the concept but the actual telling is weak. Being in a haunted car on a long road trip is something that could be really cool and different. Instead, we get an arguing couple who are unaware that their shiny new wheels were used to store a corpse for a few days. Hilarity ensues. A couple of nicely visual scary things happen in-between their arguments, but they wear a little thin after a while, especially when the husband acts like his wife is being unreasonable about his cheating on her. Their young kid is pretty good though, so at least there is one likable character in this film. It all ends in a twist that just felt weird, pointless, and lazy. 
Paranormal Drive gets 2 creepy things in the rear-view mirror out of 5

The Windmill MassacreThe name says it all. This one is pure and straightforward gory slasher movie mayhem, and it feels so refreshing to watch (which feels weird to say). A group of travellers on a tour of Holland’s windmill countryside are stranded and attempt to get help. Unfortunately the only help to be had comes in the form of a demonic miller with spiked iron clogs, a scythe, and a desire to punish them for their sins and grind their bones to flour. 

This tourist attraction is going to get 
the WORST Yelp review ever
My poster!
I will never say no to a little
mill-based mayhem on my walls.
Slasher movies are pretty much always about punishment, and here they just take that theme in the most literal way and build from there. That means we have simple rules that are easy to set up and just let the carnage happen. All the characters are pretty easy to get a handle on, but do have some interesting story points to them, particularly our main girl Jennifer who is running from a very traumatic past. However, all are guilty in the eyes of the killer and the blood soon starts flowing. There’s also an extra factor of having a Japanese tourist and there being only one other person in the rest of the group who also speaks Japanese. It makes a nice change to how usually in these types of films everyone would just be speaking English no matter where they were from, and also having a language barrier gives the characters a challenge to work around in their bid for survival. It’s a small thing, but I liked it. Also the design of the miller is cool - a huge figure with twisted burned flesh that looks like the secret lovechild of Jason and the Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 (sorry about that mental image).
The Windmill Massacre gets 4 bloody hooks out of 5

PS - I was also lucky enough to get a poster signed by the director and some of the cast. Gonna be a nice addition to my walls.

Found Footage 3D
I’m always up for a found footage film, but am also the first to point out the clichés and tropes that dragged the format into the butt of every horror movie joke. So, the idea of attempting to do for found footage what Scream did for slasher movies is something that I can admire. Here a group of filmmakers attempts to make the first 3D found footage film and end up becoming what they’re intending to do. The problem is that whilst Found Footage 3D starts strong, there is a hilarious scene of them trying to get two old men to play the harbinger role to little success only for them to actually do the warning thing genuinely when they learn where the film crew are going. The film loses a lot of momentum and cleverness along the way, and by the end is less of a satire commenting on found footage and just is a typical found footage film with all the predictability and thin writing that entails. 

An abandoned van just sitting in the woods?
I'm sure it's full of DELICIOUS candy!
The novelty of 3D also runs out really quickly, and the sequence towards the end that involved 3D in split screen is nothing but an exercise in migraine inducing filming techniques. The writer-director Steven DeGrennaro clearly knows and has a lot of affection for the found footage film style and there are a lot of little references to films like The Blair Witch Project, the Paranormal Activity series, and I’m pretty sure there’s even a cheeky little dig at The Devil Inside, but I don’t think the film manages to actually say or subvert anything. It’s not a bad watch; it’s just not the game changer it wants to be.
Found Footage 3D gets 3 hands reaching out of the screen out of 5

Train to Busan
Talk about ending on a bang. There we all were, despondent at the prospect of the festival ending, and the organisers drop this gem in our laps. Train to Busan is, without a doubt, the most well crafted, tense, beautifully shot, heart-wrenching, and thrilling zombie movie since 28 Days Later in that it successfully mixes the zombie set up with a lot of the aspects of the best disaster action movies and the result is just amazing to watch. 
Yeah it's scary, but I've seen
worse on the last train home from Waterloo Station.

In the midst of a fast acting zombie apocalypse a businessman, his young daughter, and many others (including what has to be the most mobile heavily pregnant woman in cinema history) must survive long enough to reach the possible safety of the city of Busan. For director Yeon Sang-Ho this is his first live-action film; and he even recently also directed an animated prequel to this called Seoul Station that I am now desperate to see. I think Yeon’s animation background definitely brings a flow and intensity to the action of the film. I’m also not usually a fan of fast zombies but here they are so freaky, helped in no small part to some brilliant jerky zombie choreography and swarming horde scenes that feel like what World War Z was trying to do, but this time it was done right. This is a case of a film where even if it doesn’t bring too much new things to the table for the genre, it does everything it does do with near perfection. Definitely a must see film, and I can’t wait to hear what our Zombie Honey Bella has to say about it.
Train to Busan gets 5 tickets to ride out of 5

This was a really strong year for FrightFest. A great variety of horror subgenres were represented (although maybe a little thin on the ground for monster movies, hmm?) and some nice surprises. I saw 17 movies this year, and would have seen more if it wasn’t for that stupid human need to sleep. 

Some films that I’m sorry to have missed:
Pet- An animal welfare worker kidnaps his childhood crush and keeps her in a cage. Wasn’t too keen on the sound of this one but apparently it’s really smart and twists with your expectations.
They Call Me Jeeg Robot- Italian film where a small time crook gets superpowers, from what I heard it manages to out-Deadpool Deadpool.
The Love Witch- Completely sold out, this is a lavish sexploitation throwback with a modern feminist edge.
Under the Shadow- This was also sold out. An Iranian-British co-production this has been described as this year’s Babadook.

Here is my personal definitive ranking of all of the films I was able to ingest at FrightFest this year. 
  1. Train to Busan
  2. Beyond the Gates
  3. Fury of the Demon
  4. Egomaniac
  5. Sadako vs Kayako
  6. My Father Die
  7. The Unkindness of Ravens
  8. The Windmill Massacre
  9. Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word
  10. Hostage to the Devil
  11. Found Footage 3D
  12. From a House on Willow Street
  13. Abattoir
  14. Through The Shadow
  15. Paranormal Drive
  16. Cell
  17. White Coffin
Thank you for coming with me on this adventure in horror cinema. I’ve had some highs, some lows, but there really is nothing quite like spending five days surrounded by fellow genre fans. 

See you next year, my dears!