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FrightFest Day Three – Something in the Dirt, She Came From the Woods, Dark Glasses and The Duke Mitchell Film Party

Over halfway through the festival already, but, having already seen absolute bangers in The Harbinger and Next Exit AND a shed-load of splendid short films, things were shaping up nicely.

Day Three’s line-up sounded tasty too, with the new Moorehead-Benson movie, a throwback 80s slasher, the new Argento, more shorts – this time all from British filmmakers – and a Belgian werewolf movie all circled in my programme.

Check out all of our FrightFest coverage

SOMETHING IN THE DIRT

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead are my guys. I love Spring and The Endless, and, after directing eps of some of the year’s coolest telly – Archive 81 and Moon Knight – the boys were back, and excitingly in-person with their latest film: Something in the Dirt.

Written by just Justin Benson, but directed by and starring both Justin and Aaron Moorehead, Something in the Dirt sees two LA slackers discover evidence of the supernatural in their apartment and set about documenting it for fortune and glory.

This being a Benson and Moorehead joint though, things aren’t that simple, and, as Levi (Benson) and John (Moorehead) go about making their documentary about what force or forces could be at play in their flat, they discover more about each other (not all good), fall down a paranoid conspiracy wormhole, and their film within the film takes an unexpected turn too…

Benson and Moorehead still have the charming chemistry that made The Endless work so well but are clearly pushing themselves harder and further in terms of character work here. Levi and John have plenty of secrets to spill and as events unfold, corkscrew and fold in on themselves in mind-boggling ways, Benson and Moorehead manage to keep their leads likeable and on a steady throughline. This keeps the film comprehensible and the events addictive and delectable, even when our leads begin to seem not entirely trustworthy.

Shot during lockdown, the smaller scale and less-polished look lends this intoxicating mystery a real immediacy, accentuated by clever and playful dialogue that is nonchalantly cool to the point of seeming improvised but then proven later on to all be carefully thought through and put together for maximum pay-off. It is hard work to make a film as dense, complex, and brilliant as this seem off-the-cuff, but Benson and Moorehead specialise in this laidback genius and have truly smashed it with Something in the Dirt.

A mind-blowing and melting masterpiece, Something in the Dirt is savvy, satisfying, disorientating, dizzying, paranoia-inducing and like nothing else. Benson and Moorhead are special ones and they keep making special ones.

Something In The Dirt will be in UK Cinemas from 4th November and on Digital Download + Blu-ray from 5th December.

SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS

“This is excruciating” a character exclaims near the beginning of wannabe throwback 80s slasher She Came from the Woods and this is the only thing this painfully lame attempt to imitate golden-age summer camp stalk and slash flicks gets right.

She Came From the Woods does not currently have a release date

DARK GLASSES

SOURCE: ©2021 URANIA PICTURES – GETAWAY FILMS
DARK GLASSES

Italian maestro of horror, Dario Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red) is back, and, with his new film Dark Glasses, returns to the giallo genre that he in large part shaped and helped become a phenomenon.

Dark Glasses, also being distributed in some territories as Black Glasses and original title Occhiali neri, stars Ilenia Pastorelli (They Call Me Jeeg), newcomer Andrea Zhang and Asia Argento (Land of the Dead) and is based on a script Dario wrote twenty-odd years ago, that was shelved when the money fell through and then recently rediscovered by Asia when looking for something amongst her father’s things.

Diana (Pastorelli) is a sex worker who one night is chased in her car by a crazed killer in a van who causes her to have a head-on collision. Diana loses her sight in the crash, but, thanks to carer Rita (Argento) is soon issued a loveable guide dog, the titular shades and dropped back into the serial killer still pursuing her’s line of fire.

Aided by her adopted son Chin (Zhang) – whose parents died in Diana’s car crash, but immediately pledges unflinching loyalty to her after being given a knock-off Nintendo Switch – Diana must try and unmask the deranged murderer, while also, you know, not getting killed by him.

Although there is a stand-out sequence where Diana and Chin stubble into a nest of water snakes there is little to no actual suspense in Dark Glasses. Most of the time just skipping straight to the kill, set pieces are quickly dispatched whereas classic Dario would have revelled in taking time to let the music and an excruciatingly detailed focus on every and any small details ratchet every moment to dizzying, torturing, glorious suspense.

But, as his last film was the (sorry, Dario) absolutely awful Dracula 3D, the bar for Dark Glasses is honestly so low it’s lying on the ground. It takes very little for this to feel like Argento is back on track and, thanks to Pastorelli being a great lead that’s double-hard and takes no shit, some fun and gory murders, a brisk pace, glossy photography and flashes of chic style, Dark Glasses is a win.

While not the Dario banger you were hoping for, Dark Glasses is slick and stylish murderous fun with gruesome effects and an unforgettable canine hero.

Dark Glasses will premiere in New York and Los Angeles on October the 7th before premiering on Shudder on the 13th, and expanding to more theaters on October 14th

THE DUKE MITCHELL FILM CLUB PARTY

If you ever go to FrightFest, be sure to not plan on going home early if the Duke Mitchell Film Club party is on. A wild, hilarious, raucous and just sheer bloody delightful evening of entertainment, the Duke party features the devil may care front man Evrim Ersoy holding court with a confident and charismatic stage presence that inspires glee in an audience and swift and smooth silencing in anyone foolish enough to heckle or not follow simple instruction.

Ersoy has interviewed some of the biggest names in Cult film live on stage at some of the coolest film festivals in the world and effortlessly creates an instantaneous feeling of trust in an audience that have no idea what they are about to see. What you will see are clips, trailers and other random Cult film-related craziness from the deepest darkest corners of the internet as well as Ersoy, co-founder Alex Kidd, and the (very) special guests’ collections.

Filmmakers galore eagerly leap on stage with Evrim to take shots and intro the weirdest funnest clips they’ve always wanted to share, or in some cases inflict, on a buzzing late-night crowd. Interspersed with these clips are special edits lovingly crafted by Alex Kidd – a man with the infinite patience to comb through hundreds of hours of footage in order to cut together just a few unforgettable minutes of genius.

Billed as being two hours long, but flying by in what feels like minutes, this is the film club you’ve always wanted to be at, and, if you can’t make a FrightFest date, the boys also put on shows at the Prince Charles Cinema and other London venues throughout the year. Visit www.thedukemitchell.uk for full details and to find all the ways to follow them on socials so you never miss out on a chance for an unforgettable and insane evening.

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