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FrightFest 2017 Day Five: Tragedy Girls, Veronica, Lowlife, The Terror of Hallow’s Eve and Better Watch Out

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The End. Already. Dangit. Four days and *mumble mumble* films later, it was the last day of FrightFest 2017. Although I was a bit gutted as I was having the hashtag Best FrightFest Ever, I was also super excited for the wall-to-wall treats of the last day. Not only were all five of my final day’s films ones I was very excited to see – but I was also going to chat to the director of one of them, The Terror of Hallow’s Eve, Todd Tucker.

Todd was really enthusiastic about all things horror, practical effects and Doug Jones, so we got on super well, and I will get that interview sorted for you guys asap as I think you’ll really enjoy it.

It’s been fantastic to cover the festival again – so huge thanks to the opportunity to my boy, Phil; and also to every single person who helps make FrightFest such a massive treat to attend every year – especially Greg, Ian, Alan, Paul, and Helen.

Blah blah hecking blah, let’s do reviews:

Veronica

Written and directed by Carlos Algara (Mi Angel), Veronica stars Arcelia Ramirez (The Color of Passion) and Olga Segura (Cellmates).

A psychologist (Ramirez) living alone in a posh cabin in the woods receives a strange phone call referring a troublesome patient to her: Veronica (Segura). When follow up calls go unanswered and Veronica’s files never arrive, the psychologist decides to start from the beginning with Veronica’s analysis and therapy. Treatment begins, but Veronica is awkward, stubborn and resistant. As the two spar and work through an erotic power struggle, the balance shifts and deeply buried truths are unearthed.

Veronica is a seductive psychological thriller, and its monochrome mind games will get in your head and under your skin. Both leads are exquisite, and Algara has crafted a unique film with hints of Hitchcock and DePalma that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

Veronica does not currently have a UK release date.

Lowlife

Ryan Prows (Narcocorrido) writes and directs Lowlife, which stars Nicki Micheaux (Six Feet Under), Ricardo Adam Zarate (The Disillusion of Pretty Butterflies), Jon Oswald (Boomerang Kids) and Mark Burnham (Wrong Cops).

Crystal (Micheaux) runs a seedy motel, El Monstruo (Zarate) is a Mexican wrestler who has never lived up to his family’s legend, and Randy (Oswald) is a loveable ex-con with a massive swastika tattooed on his face. Together, these lost souls join up to get vengeance and what they’re owed from petty gangster Teddy (Burnham).

Singular strands introduce us to each of the players and their motivations, before the stories begin to intersect and eventually intertwine. The film is pitch black with some guilty humour and extremely dark and nasty violence. The world of Lowlife is one where everyone will do anything to anyone to make a buck that they need to survive.

A gritty and grimy rage and despair fuelled nonlinear ride down a small time crime gutter. Lowlife is another Best of Fest that will leave you marvelling at how well constructed it is, desperate for more time with these characters, and in need of a shower.

Lowlife does not currently have a UK release date.

Better Watch Out

Better Watch Out is directed by Chris Peckover (Undocumented), from a script by Zack Kahn (Mad), and stars Levi Miller (Pan), Ed Oxenbould (The Visit), Olivia DeJonge (The Visit), Patrick Warburton (The Emperor’s New Groove) and Virginia Madsen (Candyman).

Luke (Miller) is a pre-teen horndog whose parents (Warburton and Madsen) go out for the night, leaving him in the capable hands of babysitter Ashley (DeJonge). Totally in love with Ashley, Luke plans on tonight being the night he makes his move – until a very unorthodox home invasion changes his plans, and leaves them, and Luke’s annoying friend Garrett (Oxenbould) fighting for their futures.

Better Watch Out is an early bloody Christmas present with a gift of a secret that as well as being a total mind-blower, makes it very hard to review without spoiling it. Just trust that Levi Miller is great as the breaking-voiced Luke, only bested by his badass babysitter DeJonge. DeJonge is a wonderful female horror lead who doesn’t scream, cry or whimper: she fights, plots and is always just as powerful as her attackers – no matter the circumstances.

Brutal, festive and destined to be an annual watch, Better Watch Out begins as a hardcore horror Home Alone – but is so much more…

Better Watch Out is released in the UK on the 8th of December.

The Terror of Hallow’s Eve

Written and directed by make-up effects genius Todd Tucker (Ouija: Origins of Evil, The Boy), The Terror of Hallow’s Eve stars friend-of-the-site Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Caleb Thomas (Life is Strange: Before the Storm).

Tim (Thomas) is a bullied teen who loves horror, monsters and comic books. Incessantly and cruelly bullied by older kids, his mother makes it worse when she intervenes one day, forcing Tim to stand up to his tormentors.

After a beating, Tim discovers a pumpkin that when carved unleashes The Trickster (Jones), a creature who promises Tim his revenge, but is not to be trusted… Luring the bullies into terrifying dreamscapes they are pursued and killed by what scares them most: scarecrows and knife-wielding marionettes brilliantly brought to life purely by practical effects.

Doug Jones is as skilled as always at bringing monsters to life through as many inches of make up as needed, and utilising his wonderful body movements to invoke emotion and fear. Every creature in The Terror of Hallow’s Eve is deserving of a feature of their own, and Tucker does fantastic work conjuring a period setting, story, and beasties that will instantly be embraced and appreciated by horror fans.

The Terror of Hallow’s Eve is a true Halloween treat full of awesome original monsters, and is bound to join films like Trick r Treat and Hocus Pocus on horror fans annual autumnal To Watch pile.

The Terror of Hallows Eve does not currently have a UK release date.

Tragedy Girls

Tragedy Girls is written and directed by Tyler MacIntyre (Patchwork), and stars Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse) and Craig Robinson (This is the End)

Sadie (Hildebrand) and McKayla (Shipp) are highschool teens who run a blog – Tragedy Girls – and its accompanying twitter account. Hungry for hits, likes and retweets, the pair begin to kill so as to promote an ongoing tragedy of their own creation – and get its hashtag trending.

The plan and murders begin to do the trick, as the town begins to panic and the press start to take notice, but when others (Robinson) threaten to take their spotlight, the girls must murder them to ensure the ever-increasing popularity of the burgeoning social media empire.

Tragedy Girls is fierce af, and MacIntyre’s script feels real with of-the-now dialogue dripping in sarcasm and slang. Hildebrand and Shipp’s double act is cute and sparky, and their actions are so wrong, but sooo funny. The score and soundtrack are flipping cool too, and this Scott Pilgrim style slasher is a killer Clueless that will become your new best thing ever.

Tragedy Girls does not currently have a UK release date.

THE END…

OR IS IT?

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