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FrightFest Day Five – Piggy, Terrifier 2, Barbarian and Fall

And like that, we were on the final day of FrightFest. It always flies by, but great films like my Top Five going into Day Five: Something in the Dirt, The Harbinger, Next Exit, Torn Hearts and Wolfkin, make it an absolute pleasure.

There were some big heavy hitters lined up for the final day, but would any of them threaten my current Top Five? Spoiler alert, yes, two of them…

Check out all of our FrightFest coverage

PIGGY

Piggy (Cerdita) is written and directed by Carlota Pereda (Las rubias) and stars Laura Galán (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote).

Sara (Galán) is an overweight young woman relentlessly and mercilessly bullied for her size by the schoolmates she is desperate to hang out with. When a mysterious stranger arrives in Sara’s small Spanish village and starts murdering people she is at first grateful that he is taking out some of her bullies but, as the bodycount rises, Sara finds herself inextricably tangled up in the murders… and drawn to the killer.

Massive bullying trigger warning on this one. Piggy is a really hard watch due to the nature of Sara’s mental and physical torments, but if you can hack it, is also a rewarding, interestingly transgressive watch.

Galán’s performance is remarkable. Taking the role on in the first place is brave as fuck anyway but Galán never portrays Sara as a victim. As battered down as she is by her peers, parents and sibling’s words and action, Sara is always battling and striving for what she wants – even if that seems to be a weird and worrying relationship with a mass murderer.

And, thanks to a script that never takes events where you think and smart direction from Pereda, as well as a lead that we’re invested in but is as erratic as a hyper-bullied teenager would be, Piggy ends up a weirdly gruelling yet fulfilling combination of extreme violence and ultimate empathy.

In a nutshell: Coming of rage movie, Piggy is a singular, squirming Spanish shocker that’s a tough watch but an incredible addition to the ‘Good for her’ genre.

Piggy does not currently have a release date.


TERRIFIER 2

The writer-director of the breakout grindhouse slasher Terrifier, Damien Leone, is back with Terrifier 2 – a sequel that doubles down on absolutely every element that made the first film a success. It’s a gamble that, even in the face of a colossal runtime, totally pays off.

Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) is back. The grinning grease-painted ghoul has upgraded his hunting ground from a few city blocks to all of suburbia and even a funfair. That’s not the only thing that’s got an upgrade.

Before this one started we were all figuring that the two hours and twenty minutes runtime in the FrightFest programme was a mistake and they surely meant an hour and forty minutes – not a hundred and forty minutes. Right? Wrong. Yes, it’s really that long, but, no, it doesn’t feel like it.

As Art pursues Sienna and her little brother Eric, absolutely shredding anybody tangentially to do with them along the way, through dream sequences, strange adverts with earworm music for a Clown Cafe, and lashings of elaborate murderous carnage with enough gore and guts to fill six slaughterhouses, the time flies by.

The “holy shit” kills and bonkers body desecration scenes that always go two levels past beyond being anywhere near OK, seemingly on multiple planes of existence, and the likeable killable leads and sheer mad unpredictability of events mean the very, very last thing you will be looking at is your watch. The Grand Guignol on display is worthy of an 18-and-a-half and Leone gifts a clearly-having-the-time-of-his-life Thornton an entire franchise’s worth of memorable moments.

Blurring the line between dreams and reality and even incorporating what can only be described as a magical element, Terrifier 2 is OUT THERE in the craziest, coolest, most disgusting, myth-making ways. There may never have been a stalk and slash film this gleefully wonderfully OTT before and there’s no arguing that Art the Clown is a horror icon now.

In a nutshell: All your Halloweens have come at once. Damien Leone’s 140-minute Art the Clown epic is a splatter slasher full of absolutely insane levels of butchery realised with incredible practical effects. Over the top, out of control and off the rails, Terrifier 2 is totally wild!

Terrifier 2 is released in the USA on the 6th of October.


BARBARIAN

Written and directed by Zach Cregger, Barbarian stars Georgina Campbell (Black Mirror), Bill Skarsgård (IT) and Justin Long (Drag Me To Hell).

I’m not saying anything about this one. Nope. Even having to list the stars felt like it was ruining a surprise, and Barbarian is full of them. This is a true rollercoaster of a film that I am jealous of anyone getting to see for the first time.

In a nutshell: Know nothing (NOTHING) if possible going in, but Barbarian is the scariest, most blood-freezing film of the year and is utterly unmissable.

Barbarian is on general release in the USA now, and comes out in the UK on the 28th of October.


FALL

Scott Mann (Heist) writes and directs Fall, a vertigo-inducing thriller starring Grace Caroline Currey (Shazam!) and Virginia Gardner (Starfish).

Becky (Currey) and Shiloh (Gardner) are bezzie mates and free-climbing adrenaline junkies. Following a cold open where her partner perishes, that is just an updated version of the start of Cliffhanger, Becky is heartbroken and folds in on herself. But, as per The Descent, Shiloh turns up and drags her off for an extreme adventure to snap her out of it – a hair-raising climb up a two-thousand-foot tall tower in the middle of nowhere.

The arse-clenching ascent is truly terrifying to the extent that it provokes a physical response. Mann uses every trick in the book to accentuate the height and risk and the climb is petrifying enough even before the rickety tower falls apart stranding Becky and Shiloh at the top with, it seems, no way of getting back down.

The friends must work together and think outside the box to use every last item at their disposal if they are to stand any chance of being rescued. But, as per The Descent, a big secret may threaten to derail their efforts and friendship.

Fall feels derivative at times, and there is the odd bit of dodgy CGI, but the strength of this savage survival-thriller isn’t so much the plot as just the sheer fear it manages to conjure up. Mann keeps you constantly aware of just how fucking far down it is, and as the girls teeter and the tower totters your chair will be in very real danger of having its armrests ripped off as your anxiety goes through the bloody roof.

Also, for a film that has very obviously had all it’s “fucks” dubbed out, it still manages to be way nastier and go harder than you expect a few times, again deliciously wrong-footing you in a properly visceral way.

In a nutshell: If you don’t have vertigo, you will. Fall is a dizzying, stomach-churning primally terrifying thrill-ride that is 2000 feet of sheer suspense.

Fall is on general release in the UK now and available to but from the 28th of November.

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One Comment

  1. Cool article and even cooler name.

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