Pages Navigation Menu

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


FrightFest 2017 Day Four – Replace, The Villainess and Mayhem

The time has become irrelevant. Days do not exist. All there is is sweet, sweet horror films. I am probably just tired, but normal life doesn’t matter anymore – all that I need is another hit of blood, thrills and madness. More horror films. Just FrightFest.

Luckily, I had a bunch of interviews lined up for Day Four that reduced my amount of attendable films and went some way to weening me off of my FrightFest addiction, and restoring my sanity.

As well as getting to watching Replace, I was excited to sit and wag chins with the film’s director and star: the Queen of FrightFest herself – Barbara Crampton; Joe Lynch’s Mayhem was another bound-to-rule film, and a talk to Mr. Lynch was also on the cards; and last up was The Villainess which I had heard on the grapevine was probably going to smash my eyes out.


Replace is written and directed by Norbert Keil (Quartered at Dawn) and stars Rebecca Forsythe (The Bronx Bull), Lucie Aron (Berlin Syndrome) and Barbara Crampton (We Are Still Here, Beyond the Gates).

Kira has an extremely strange night when she pulls a guy, goes home with him, and then wakes the next day with a falling off finger and living a new life with no concept of time and no memory. Luckily, neighbour Sophia (Aron) is there to reassure her, and the two quickly fall for each other as Kira is falling apart.

Kira’s Brundleflying gets so extreme that she visits a specialist, Doctor Crober (Crampton) for help, but the Doc merely sends some bits off for testing, tells her not to pick it, and sends her on her way. After an accident with a glass bottle, Kira realises that if she places someone else’s skin onto to her decaying torso it is absorbed and the rotting area is replaced. Now becoming a skin vampire, Kira kills for fresh grafts, while Sofia tries to keep her in check, and Crober searches for answers.

Psychological body horror with a synth wave score, Replace is disgusting and disconcerting – but it also contains a tender romance, huge revelations, and a festival-stealing performance from Barbara Crampton.

Keil’s direction is clean and clinical, and full of dazzling neon and sodium lit scenes that dazzle and impress, while Rebecca Forsythe excels as someone having to come to terms with a chronic condition that is pushing her further away from her own humanity, as well as revelations that make her question motivations she didn’t know she even had until the memory just came back.

A nightmarish far out gross out freak out knockout, Replace needs to go on your Need to See list immediately.

Replace does not currently have a UK release date.


Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2, Knights of Badassdom) directs Mayhem from a script written by Matias Caruso (Carnival), and starring Steven Yuen (The Walking Dead) and Samara ‘daughter of Hugo’ Weaving (Monster Trucks).

There’s no trailer for this one, but trust me – it would be bananas, and full of Joe Lynch’s trademark seemingly effortlessly infused with energy and adrenaline action sequences, cut to a cool soundtrack with Samara Weaving looking drop dead cool throughout.

The ID7 virus is a nasty mother that drops inhibitions and makes those who contract it the victim of their id. Law firm Towers & Smythe manage to get someone off who committed murder while sick with ID7, and since then it has become a consequence-free sickness – a pass to get nuts without getting sent to prison for it.

Derek (Yuen) works for Towers & Smythe and has been quietly working his butt off to climb the corporate ladder. But all his work seems for nothing when he is stabbed in the back by a co-worker and made the scapegoat for someone else’s screw-up.

At the same time, an outbreak of ID7 occurs in the building and Derek – along with Melanie (Weaving), an angry woman who was also recently on the wrong end of the evil law firm – takes the opportunity of being able to quite literally get away with murder to fight his way to the top floor and face down the senior management team.

Terrific and therapeutic toxic-workplace-trashing fun; Mayhem is a Battle Royale in Office Space during The Purge. It is slick and violent, and furious and foul mouthed, and makes the outbreak movie FUN. Yuen gets to kick more ass than he did in seven series’ of The Walking Dead, and Weaving immediately becomes an actress to watch, with a hugely likeable total badass performance.

Mayhem does not currently have a UK release date, but it will be coming to SHUDDER in early 2018.

The Villainess

The Villainess is written and directed by Byung-gil Jung (Confession of Murder), and stars Ok-bin Kim (Thirst).

The Villainess opens with a five minute long point-of-view fight that kicks the shiz out of the entirety of Hardcore Henry – imagine the Oldboy hammer hallway fight if he had a GoPro strapped to his head. But it doesn’t stop there, ten minutes more incredible ass-kicking continues as Sook-hee (Kim) fights her way through a meth lab, killing everyone painfully, before jumping through a window and getting nicked by the police.

In La Femme Nikita style, a shadowy government branch which admires her raw talent steals her away from the cops to train her to be an elite sleeper assassin. Given plastic surgery and a few years of some very painful – and sometimes very funny – training, Sook-hee is made even more lethal than she already was.

Finally set free into the world, but under constant surveillance, Sook-hee must now complete agency assignments, while also trying to uncover her father’s killer on the side. Twists and turns and switches in sides and loyalties keep her on her toes, and her fists and feet flying into the faces of her enemies.

Beyond the opening POV section, the rest of the film’s action is shot in an amazing bewildering style, with the camera somehow ducking and diving in and out of complex fight sequences showing us mid-scrap images never captured this way on film before. Insanely, this style even manages to be utilised on the move during a car chase and a motorbike swords duel that will leave you grinning and speechless, as well as in ridiculously small spaces like elevators and on a bus.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance meets Crank, or a hyper-kinetic Korean Kill Bill, The Villainess is chock full of impossibly shot breakneck action that is truly like nothing you have ever seen.

The Villainess is released in the UK on the 15th of September.

So even when it’s a short day- it’s an awesome day! Not only did I get to interview the iconic Barbara Crampton and her director Norbert Keil, but I also got to chat to the totally rad Joe Lynch, and see three films that will be duking it out for my Top Five – but are all Best of Fest-ers, regardless. Both interviews I think you’re really going to dig, and I will post them as soon as I get the nod from the lovely PR people.

Tomorrow is the last day. Sad face. It has absolutely flown by this year, and is already my best FrightFest ever, so I am going to drain as much blood and adrenaline as possible from what’s left of it. And what’s left is a very high-quality line-up: mind games in Veronica, luchadore Pulp Fiction capers in Lowlife, early blood Christmas in Better Watch Out, ace practical FX monsters in The Terror of Hallow’s Eve and “the new Scream” in Tragedy Girls. I will also be interviewing Todd Tucker, who is not only the director of Hallow’s Eve – but a practical effects genius.

As always stay tuned to the site and checking our Twitter  feed too for all the shenanigans as they happen and piping hot takes on the films as they finish.

More FrightFest Coverage
Next PostPrevious Post


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.