14th Oct2021

Grimmfest 2021: ‘Father of Flies’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Nicholas Tucci, Camilla Rutherfor, Sandra Andreis, Davi Santos, Page Ruth, Colleen Heidemann, Malik Ibheis, Carl Prekopp, Keaton Tetlow, Lida Fox | Written by Nadia Doherty, Ben Charles Edwards | Directed by Ben Charles Edwards

Once again Grimmfest brings together the best of new talent in the horror genre in time for a new festival each Halloween season. Father of Flies comes from the minds of writers Nadia Doherty and Ben Charles Edwards (also directing) and attempts to tread the same creepy path of films such as Hereditary, The Lodge and The Blackcoat’s Daughter.

In Father of Flies and young boy and his older sister suddenly see their mother pushed out of the family home and a new woman replacing her. The new woman has a sense of creepiness about her (not just a dodgy accent) and there might just be something supernatural occurring.

There are times where the movie does make it work with that dark, slow and occasionally tense tone that it wants to achieve throughout its runtime. It doesn’t hit the heights of the best similarly-toned movies but there is plenty of creepiness. When that musical score works, it’s brilliant and really adds to the tension and there’s some genuinely good scares that are built up well. Perhaps the best scare comes in a dream sequence that features the father going to check on his sleeping son. I wont spoil things but it’s unfortunately a highly unoriginal scene (I’ve seen it at least three times before) but that thankfully doesn’t stop it being terrifying each and every time.

It adds in some small but effective moments of creepiness too such as the mask that wanna be mother occasionally wears around the house. The filmmakers show some effective ways to scare their audience.

The movie looks really good as well and not just with some decent special effects. More so in the use of its weather and lighting. There’s scenes that make good use of both the snow and rain, both enhancing the scenes they are in (every horror movie should have a storm scene right?) and the dark of night is also used effectively.

But there are some issues. Despite it’s short run time, I didn’t feel like we got enough back story about the mother and why she lives the family home. At first it feels like the audience wont be told at all but the movie does get there with it’s explanation and backstory, it just feels a bit lacklustre. And although I’ve mentioned that at times the tone was great, there are other times when it’s not quite right and the dialogue especially feels very forced and unnatural. The music is all over the place too, with the aforementioned score working well for the most part but the use of songs becoming really bizarre and sometimes feeling like they have some how been played at the wrong time.

Father of Flies is a strange movie in the sense that I’m not really sure if I enjoyed it at all or not. There are times where it felt a bit silly and times where things just didn’t work for me but As the credits rolled I honestly felt that I wanted to re-watch it almost immediately. Whether this is because the movie is actually good or it’s because I didn’t get the answers I was looking forward and was left a little confused by it all, I’m not actually sure. Maybe I’ll review a second time on that re-watch if things feel any different.

Father of Flies screens this weekend as part of Grimmfest’s virtual festival.

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