Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."

Advert

Arrow Video FrightFest Day 2: Prairie demons, Knives and Skin, Thora Birch and vampires

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Day 2 was the first full day of Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 and out of the twenty-two films on offer on the main, Discovery and Prince Charles screens, we selected The Wind, Girl on the Third Floor, Knives and Skin, Kindred Spirits and Bliss

SPOILER ALERT: These were all great choices.

THE WIND

The debut feature from director Emma Tammi, The Wind stars Caitlin Gerard (Insidious: The Last Key) as a frontierswoman whose little house on the prairie is beset by evil. After a tragedy means that her husband has to ride into town, Lizzy is left all alone in their cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Haunted by a sinister force that comes out to torment her at night and flashbacks of the disruptive recent past, Lizzy is slowly driven closer and closer to the edge. Are there really demons prowling the prairie and possessing people or is it cabin fever?

Tammi does an excellent job at keeping us guessing throughout, with leading lady Gerard shouldering the burden of being onscreen throughout and providing a powerhouse central performance.

Shot beautifully and with an awesome score that blurs the line between soundtrack and sound design from Ben Lovett, the atmosphere is literally palpable and manages to be extremely oppressive – even in such a wide-open space. 

The Wind is a sumptuous and smouldering slow burn with an incredible Caitlin Gerard, first-class production value and assured direction combining to create a classy and eerie Wild West psychological spookshow.

The Wind is going to be released on DVD in the UK on the FrightFest Presents label.

Check out our Arrow Video FrightFest coverage

GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR

Girl on the Third Floor is directed by Travis Stevens. Stevens has previously produced awesome movies like The Aggression Scale, Cheap Thrills and Starry Eyes and here takes his directorial bow and gets to make something a bit special for himself.

C.M. Punk (WWE and Rabid) stars as Don, a man with an eluded-to dark past who is moving out to the suburbs with his pregnant wife, Liz (Trieste Kelly Dunn – United 93), but first the place needs renovating and Don is determined to prise the place apart and stick it back together again himself. As he works he discovers that the house also has a dark past and is determined to do whatever it takes to claim him.

Punk is soaked, sprayed, dripped on and splashed in every bodily fluid — mostly semen — there is and his plight, looks, reactions, ingrained humour and attitude are reminiscent of Bruce Campbell and his batterings at the hands of Sam Raimi.

There is a great feeling throughout that ANYTHING could happen – something which is hard for even the most experienced directors to achieve, and something which is one of the most exciting feelings a film can elicit in a viewer. It’s subtextually rich too, with plenty to breathlessly dissect after.

With non-stop thrills and a charming lead, Girl on the Third Floor was one of my favourite films of FrightFest. Travis Stevens’ home renovation nightmare is a very funny, very cool and very gooey, jizz-everywhere, big Evil Dead energy, take on the haunted house with C.M. Punk ably filling Bruce Campbell’s boots.

Girl on the Third Floor does not currently have a UK release date.

 

KNIVES AND SKIN

Written and directed by Jennifer Reeder, Knives and Skin is a singular, honest and touching exploration of modern American suburbia filtered through a mystical nearly supernatural sometimes disturbing Twin Peaks filter.

After a failed lake-side hook-up, Carolyn Harper (Raven Whitley – Hala) goes missing. Her mother is devastated and as the story unfolds what happened to Carolyn ripples through the small midwest town, forever changing the lives of her friends and their families.

Knives and Skin looks incredible, full of extreme hair, make-up and lighting choices that heighten everything. Coupled with glowing clues, bizarre characters and wonderfully loopy lines of dialogue that make you feel like you’re going a bit barmy, the effect is hypnotic and near to magical.

Reeder weaves a profoundly sad and tragic spell in a dreamy, dark and Lynch-y haunting High School heartbreaker that will absolutely floor you. Knives and Skin is a barbed and brutal coming of age story full of fantastic dialogue and unforgettable imagery and is essential viewing.

Knives and Skin does not currently have a UK release date.

 

KINDRED SPIRITS

Lucky McKee — maker of a previous FrightFest favourite of mine All Cheerleaders Die — directs a trio of excellent female leads in Kindred Spirits: Caitlin Stasey (I, Frankenstein), Thora Birch (Ghost World) and Sasha Frolova (Red Sparrow).

When Aunt Sadie returns home to stay with her sister Chloe (Birch) and niece Nicole (Frolova) everyone is at first happy. Sadie has some stability, Nicole has someone to talk to and Chloe gets some understanding adult company. But Sadie has returned to wreak havoc, and soon sets about gaslighting her family and turn everyone against each other – just because she can.

Sadie suckers us in too, seeming so nice and such a tonic that you cut her slack until what she is doing stops being fun and starts being irrevocable. Caitlin Stasey makes for a wonderful creep and pulls off a manipulation masterclass as Chris Sivertson’s sharp script confidently and carefully unwinds. Watching Birch’s no-shit-taking mum, Frolova’s punch-first-think later pistol and genre favourite Macon Blair’s love interest smash against each other and struggle in Sadie’s web of lies is a real blast.

McKee has made a delightfully Machiavellian 90s style thriller that feels akin to family-under-threat films like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle and Poison Ivy.

★★★☆☆

Kindred Spirits does not currently have a UK release date.

 

BLISS

Joe Begos — writer and director of Almost Human — goes all out in Bliss, his new film starring Dora Madison (Friday Night Lights), Graham Skipper (Beyond the Gates), Jeremy Gardner (Fingers), Tru Collins (Masters of Sex) and Rhys Wakefield (the iconic face of The Purge).

Dezzy (Madison) is a struggling L.A. artist who is behind on her rent and suffering from whatever the painters equivalent of writer’s block is. Her agent (Gardner) drops her and her boyfriend (Skipper) is a waster hanger-on so she goes on a drink, drugs and sex bender with her friends Courtney (Collins) and Ronnie (Wakefield).

Waking up the next day covered in blood with the DT’s and a nearly finished painting, she discovers that she has been turned into a vampire by Courtney and that the blood lust and drugs combined have got her painting again. But as the claret flows, the bodies pile up and Dezzy descends into hell slash madness can she finish her picture and make it out the other side?

Dora Madison is absolutely fierce and fearless, blazing her way through the film smashing boundaries with zero pretences and completely off the chain. It is hugely impressive to see, and as nuts as she goes Madison still retains a primal likeability that keeps us chained to her out of control vampiric bumper car for the duration.

Shot on 16mm, Bliss has a scuzzy grime and grain that feels physically tangible and coupled with Begos’ kaleidoscopic visuals and seizure bait constantly strobing neon and flickering fluorescents reminds you of the elemental magic of movies shot on film.

Bliss is immediate and dirty and dangerous. It is a new-new-new take on vampires that throws Kathryn Bigelow, Abel Ferrara and Jim Jarmusch’s takes in a blender with a bottle of whisky and a couple of fat lines to create a raw and rad rock ‘n roll Hollywood vampire mind-messer-upper full of fucked-up physical effects.

Bliss does not currently have a UK release date.

Next PostPrevious Post



Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Amazon Prime Free Trial