Kicking off with a special screening of The Forest with star Natalie Dormer in attendance, and finishing in racy rock-fuelled style with Sean Byrne’s The Devil’s Candy, the UK’s favourite horror fantasy event returns to Glasgow Film Festival with another stellar line-up to shock, chill and thrill. A record thirteen films will screen from Thursday 25th February to Saturday 27th February, alongside a selection of unmissable shorts, guest director Q & A’s, great give-aways and a sneak preview of Paul Hyett’s Heretiks, with the popular director in attendance.
The line-up starts at 9pm on Thurs 25 Feb with the UK Premiere of THE FOREST starring Natalie Dormer searching for her twin sister in Japan’s most haunted location, the fabled Sea of Trees. The ‘Game of Thrones’ star is making her first appearance at Glasgow Film Festival and is thrilled to be headlining this gala event the day before the film’s UK release.
Friday’s fearsome line-up kicks off with the UK Premiere of THE HEXECUTIONERS, Jesse Thomas Cook’s love letter to the rural horror genre, which is an atmospheric, tense and bloody treat. This is followed by the UK Premiere of Sonny Mallhi’s eerie, jittery and surprisingly moving ANGUISH, the creepiest and most resonant American independent horror since It Follows, Next up is the much-anticipated World Premiere of CELL. Starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, this adaptation of Stephen King’s acclaimed apocalyptic nightmare is a sobering reminder of the FrightFest mantra to ‘Turn Off Your Bloody Phone’!
The 9pm slot goes to THE MIND’S EYE, directed by Joe Begos. Begos’ directorial debut Almost Human was a FrightFest Glasgow 2014 highlight, so the organisers are thrilled he will be returning to present his second award-winning feature, a loving and thrilling tribute to iconic horror heroes David Cronenberg and Brian De Palma. Expect bloody fireworks, mutant mayhem and exemplary special effects. Rounding off the evening in gory style is the
European premiere of Tyler MacIntyre’s PATCHWORK, a modern spin on Mary Shelley mythology, mixed with fun gore and a cheeky tone which will delight fans of classic 1980’s scream fests.
Getting the packed Saturday programme off to a spine-tingling start is the Scottish Premiere of Roar Uthaug’s epic action-thriller THE WAVE, the most successful movie of the year in Norway, and a Scandinavian smash hit sensation. This is followed by the chiller compendium SOUTHBOUND, a uniquely solid, grim and gritty excursion into the dark side of the soul which is a shining example why Anthology horror is back in vogue. The ‘horror tsunami’ continues with the jaw-dropping martial arts extravaganza SPL2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES. Superbly entwining operatic outbursts of heart-stopping emotion, spectacular choreography and balletic bone-crunching violence, this was the third biggest box-office hit in Asia in 2015. Next up is the European premiere THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR, directed by rising British talent Johannes Roberts. Roberts will be in attendance to discuss his eerie, evocative and sinister shock spectacular.
Hold on to your entrails as Saturday evening unfolds in gruesome style with BASKIN, Can Evrenol’s fiendish adaptation of his short film. Loaded with surreal chills, atmospheric dread, extreme gore and unsettling perversity. this marks the Turkish director as a bright talent on the international genre landscape and FrightFest is thrilled Can will be attending.
In 2008 Pascal Laugiers shocked the world with MARTYRS, which became one of the last decade’s most controversial horror movies. Now comes the UK premiere of the highly anticipated American version, produced by the house of Jason Blum and helmed by the Goetz Brothers. Be prepared for an equally unsettling ride! To end this year’s carnival of carnage is an bloody explosion of heavy metal, murder and mayhem in the eagerly-awaited UK premiere of Sean Byrne’s creepy, brain-freezing THE DEVIL’S CANDY, an instant cult classic and one of the scariest ‘under the radar’ movies of the year.
Alan Jones, co-director, said today: “After its biggest year ever, raising the terror landscape bar in August and our diversification into other major media platforms, FrightFest returns to its beloved Glasgow Film Festival with a programme that celebrates the ground-breaking, the innovative, the unique, the extreme but most essentially all that’s best and keynote about the action horror fantasy genre. So please be seated for the frights of your lives!”
FrightFest passes are £70 and available from noon on Tuesday January 12th. Passes cover all films on Friday 26th & Saturday 27th Feb ONLY. Tickets for ‘The Forest’ and individual tickets for the Fri/Sat films will go on sale Monday 25th January from 10am. Prices: £9.50 / £7.50 concessions.
The Full Line-Up
THURS 25 FEB – GFT Screen 1
THE FOREST (UK Premiere)
For centuries, the Aokigahara Forest at the northwest base of Mount Fuji has been linked with death and torment. Such strong associations have kept it a cultural marker for Japanese belief in the paranormal world. Legend speaks of the ‘ubasute’, spectres of old women abandoned by their families, and the ‘yurei’, spirits of lonely suicide victims. Now Sara (Natalie Dormer) is about to enter the sinister green canopy known as the ‘Sea of Trees’ hoping to find the answer to why her twin sister Jess has mysteriously disappeared. Ex-patriate journalist Aiden and forest path guide Michi are there to keep a protective eye on her. But as darkness falls, fear soon fragments Sara’s conscious as she faces the swelling legion of ghosts that prey on anyone who gets close.
Director: Jason Zada. Cast: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Eoin Macken. USA 2016. 90 mins. 18. Icon Film Distribution
FRI 26 FEB – GFT Screen 1
13:30 THE HEXECUTIONERS (UK Premiere)
From the director of MONSTER BRAWL and SEPTIC MAN, and the writer of PONTYPOOL and HELLMOUTH, comes a nerve-shredding American Gothic tale of terror. Sanctioned euthanasia is now an industry and Malison is just starting assisting suicides for the Rite-To-Die company. After a distressing first call-out, she is paired with seasoned veteran Olivia and they head to the remote estate of Milos Somborac, on his deathbed wishing to expire via a Tibetan death ritual known as the Yotar Sky Burial. Soon the shocking reasons why this arcane method has been chosen become stark, staring clear as the demise-inducing duo find themselves fighting vengeful spirits determined to stop it.
Director: Jesse Thomas Cook. Cast: Liv Collins, Sarah Power, Wil Burd. Canada 2015. 95 mins. 18. Raven Banner Entertainment.
15:40 ANGUISH (UK Premiere)
Producer of THE STRANGERS, SHUTTER and AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR, Sonny Mallhi makes a dazzling directorial debut with this compelling supernatural chiller inspired by a true possession story. Teenage Tess has been suffering from anxiety since childhood and is on medication. But when the family moves to a small house in Texas it becomes clear her dissociative identity disorder condition might not be necessarily psychological when she becomes susceptible to spirits of the deceased – especially ghost girl Lucy killed in a tragic accident. Showcasing a breakout performance by Ryan Simpkins (TWIXT, SURVEILLANCE, HANGMAN) playing the withdrawn Tess.
Director: Sonny Mallhi. Cast: Ryan Simpkins, Annika Marks, Karina Logue. USA 2015. 91 mins. 18. Arrow Films.
18:30 CELL (World Premiere)
Best-selling horror author Stephen King brings his acclaimed apocalyptic nightmare to the big screen. When a powerful signal is broadcast across mobile networks worldwide, every cell phone user’s mind is dangerously re-programmed turning them all into instant zombie killers. With civilization crumbling as the bloodthirsty ‘phoners’ attack each other and any unaltered person in view, artist Clay Riddell (John Cusack) heads north through New England in search of his wife Alice and son Tom. He’s joined by a group of survivors, including Tom McCourt (Samuel L Jackson), and together they fight off the hyper-connected horde amidst the total chaos. Then they learn of ‘The Raggedy Man’ and his sinister flock and in their desperation for answers they go in search of him…
Director: Tod Williams. Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman. USA 2016. 96 mins. 18. Signature Entertainment.
21:00 THE MIND’S EYE (UK Premiere)
Set in snowy 1990 New England, this violent revenge thriller follows Zack Connors, a telekinetic fugitive, who can move and destroy objects with his mind. Picked up by the authorities and admitted into a research institute run by the sinister Doctor Slovak, despite promises he’ll be reunited with his girlfriend Rachel with whom he shares similar abilities, the diabolical medic is using his patients to create a synthetic mind-control serum for his own power-crazed use. Steve Moore’s propulsive score infuses every elevated genre moment with epic vibes and Begos delivers with stylish panache and irresistible pizzazz.
Director: Joe Begos. Cast: Graham Skipper, Lauren Ashley-Carter, John Speredakos. USA 2015. 87 mins. 18. Thanks to Channel 83 Films and Site B.
23:15 PATCHWORK (European Premiere)
The spirits of RE-ANIMATOR and cult director Frank Henenlotter loom large over this incandescent comic horror. Three young women out partying wake up in a strange laboratory to find themselves Frankensteined together in one body. Making matters worse is that bitchy professional Jennifer, ditzy airhead Ellie and weirdo Madeleine share a collective consciousness as well as body control. Barely able to keep it together, the women co-operate long enough to make an escape. But unable to come to terms with their new multi-persona, the women shift their focus towards tracking down the mad scientist responsible for their mutilation while also making peace with their former hang-ups. Can they put aside their differences long enough to exact the proper revenge?
Director: Tyler MacIntyre. Cast: Tory Stolper, Tracey Fairaway, Maria Blasucci. Canada/USA 2015. 86 mins. 18.
SAT 27 FEB – GFT Screen 1
10:00 THE WAVE (Scottish Preview)
FrightFest alumni Roar Uthaug has gone from COLD PREY slasher genius and ‘Hellfjord’ hero to first class master of disaster. In the small mountain community of Geiranger, geologist Kristian works at an early warning centre keeping an eye out for rockslides causing potential dangers. The last catastrophe was in 1905 and everyone knows it’s only a matter of time before the next Big One hits. And once the boulders start falling, the tight-knit population and the tourists it caters for has just 10 minutes to get to higher ground… So set your stopwatch now for inevitable and inescapable destruction to begin as nature fights back with drastically shifting scenery and a terrifying monster tsunami.
Director Roar Uthaug. Cast: Thomas Bo Larsen, Kristoffer Joner, Fridtjov Såheim. Norway 2015. 104 mins. Norwegian with subtitles. 18. Studio Canal.
12:10 SOUTHBOUND (UK Premiere)
Genre cinema is an art fuelled by teamwork and nowhere is this more self-evident than in this chiller compendium revealing a circle of death. From the creators of the V/H/S franchise come five interlocking tales of terror following the fates of weary travellers who confront their worst nightmares – and murkiest innermost secrets – over one long night on a desolate stretch of desert highway. You’ll witness two blood-soaked men on the run from supernatural horrors, an all-girl band taken in by a strange family, a man who has to perform emergency surgery with spooky 911 assistance, a home invasion and a rescue mission that goes horribly awry. The Cryptkeeper would be so pleased!
Directors: Roxanne Benjamin. David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath, Radio Silence. Cast: Kate Beahan, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Susan Burke. USA 2015. 89 mins. 18. Thanks to Studio Canal.
14:05 SPL2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES (Preview)
A sequel in name only to the 2005 original KILL ZONE, director Soi Cheang recaptures its exhilarating energy and adrenaline-fuelled action by expanding into Thailand’s criminal underworld. Undercover Hong Kong cop Kit is sent to a hellish Thai prison after his cover is blown. As his supervising uncle Wah tries to discover his whereabouts, Kit learns the jail is the centre of an organ trafficking ring run by degenerate cutthroats. One of the few honest guards is Chai (ONG BAK superstar Tony Jaa in his finest role) whose dying daughter desperately needs a bone marrow transplant. And so the scene is set for an audacious turbo-charged thriller showcasing Hong Kong action filmmaking at its stunning best.
Director: Soi Cheang. Cast: Tony Jaa, Simon Yam, Jing Wu. China/Hong Kong 2015 120 mins. Mandarin Chinese with subtitles. 18. Jinga Films.
16:40 THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR (European Premiere)
The latest production from visionary genre titan Alexandre Aja (SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, MANIAC and HORNS) is an exotic tale of supernatural threat directed by Johannes Roberts (F, STORAGE 24, 47 METERS DOWN). Grieving over the tragic loss of their son Oliver in India where the family antiques business is based, Maria hears of a dark rite that will let her to say goodbye to her dead child and hopefully find closure. Without her husband Michael knowing, she travels to a remote temple where the veil between the netherworld and the living one is thinnest. But unable to contain her emotions she breaks the most important ritual commandment allowing the spirit of the evil goddess Myrtu to roam the earth once more. Now she must protect her daughter Lucy against sibling malevolence at all costs..
Director: Johannes Roberts. Cast: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Javier Botet. UK/India 2016. 96 mins. 18. 20th Century Fox.
19:05 BASKIN (UK Premiere)
Can Evrenol’s homage to Coffin Joe, HELLRAISER, Dario Argento and H.P. Lovecraft is a terrifying and visceral tour-de-force of extreme violence and disturbing horror; Little do a police squad know when they respond to a call for backup at an abandoned building in the middle of nowhere that they will stumble upon a Black Mass being performed by a nightmare cabal of subhuman cannibalistic freaks with a penchant for imaginative blood ceremonies. This is a striking and innovative feature debut of clear future cult importance. directed by an emerging, unique filmmaker.
Director: Can Evrenol. Cast: Gorkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu, Muharrem Bayrak. Turkey/USA 2015. 97 mins. Turkish with subtitles. 18. Vertigo Films.
21:30 MARTYRS (UK Premiere)
With both detractors and defenders calling Pascal Laugiers’ MARTYRS a Sadean masterpiece, it was never going to be an easy task for Kevin and Michael Goetz to remake the film but they proclaim their vision is a reimagining of the source material rather than a slavish remake. Do they succeed? We dare you to find out as Lucie escapes from the warehouse where she was being held captive and brutalised. Leaving the orphanage a decade later with her best friend Anna, she’s determined to find the family who tortured her. But her urge for vengeance is the gateway to greater horrors as both girls must endure an even more unimaginable and debauched hell together.
Directors: Kevin & Michael Goetz. Cast: Bailey Noble, Troian Bellisario, Boriana Williams. USA 2015. 81 mins. 18. Altitude Films.
23:30 THE DEVIL’S CANDY (UK Premiere)
Seven years after taking the genre world by storm with THE LOVED ONES, Australian director Sean Byrne is back with an absorbing, unnerving and devastating ride into psychological trauma and satanic bedlam. Unfulfilled artist Jesse Hellman moves his wife and fellow metal music-loving teenage daughter Zooey into a rustic Texas home with a violent past. Soon his paintings start taking on a darker, disturbing and more prophetic turn as anxieties get ramped up by mortgage repayments, local gallery interest in his work and helping Zooey settle at her new school. Then the clearly unbalanced Ray appears on his doorstep wanting to move back where his parents tragically died. And when Ray sees Zooey, nothing prepares the family for the shocking chain of events in this sly, outstanding and refreshingly original chiller.
Director: Sean Byrne. Cast: Ethan Embry, Kiara Glasco, Pruitt Taylor Vince. USA 2015. 90 mins. 18. Icon Film Distribution.
Look out for our usual full and extensive coverage of Glasgow FrightFest in February…