11th Sep2023

Frightfest 2023: ‘Hostile Dimensions’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Annabel Logan, Joma West, Josie Rogers, Graham Hughes, Stephen Beavis, Cedric Gall, Paddy Kondracki | Written and Directed by Graham Hughes

Just when I start to think the “Found Footage” genre has been completely played out, along comes Hostile Dimensions, a low-budget indie horror sci-fi that on paper plays on a whole bunch of my favourite plot devices. The main one is inter-dimensional travel. I mean what could possibly go wrong with a low-budget indie horror dealing with parallel universes by way of those doors from Monsters Inc? Right. Right..?

Sam and Ash are a pair of documentary filmmakers looking for their next project. Their previous movie was a bit of a bust so best move quickly. After having found a video of a graffiti artist mysteriously disappearing through a free-standing door online. Sam gets to work on convincing Ash, this is their next big story.

Ash does a little bit of investigating and comes to the conclusion that yes there is something weird going on and they should look into this. With the help of graffiti artist Emily and cameraman Brian, they are eventually led to a door. A free-standing door in the middle of the room that when open appears to be a portal to somewhere else, something else. Obviously, like any normal people Sam and Ash are very curious as to what and why is happening, slowly figuring out the rules of this anomaly while searching for the missing Emily. Meanwhile documenting everything with their cameras.. as you do!!!

The genius of this movie is in its complete simplicity. By this, I mean that the found footage style lends itself to a shaky intrusive ground-level feel, because of this when we get the otherworldly aspect I’m not expecting much (the low-budget nature would suggest as much) by way of effects. So the simplistic nature of the shooting style absolutely compliments the complex nature of the story and as such the expert visual effects that are a real accomplishment in themselves.

For instance, and I don’t want to give spoilers but the first time our leads open the door they are greeted with a mirror image of themselves, this doesn’t seem much at first, till Sam’s recently deceased mum pops up on the other side and the girls get a bit freaked out. Their reflections are acting different to them, which isn’t a new effect but honestly, it was flawlessly done and impressed the hell out of me. There was much more to come as Hostile Dimensions up the ante at just about every turn.

I really liked our cast here with Annabel Logan as Sam and Joma West as Ash. Two unbelievably likeable characters with a healthy amount of chemistry that serves to let us know there has been a recent loss and they have helped each other, without ever having to explicitly drop it in there via an awkward exposition dump. It also helps that they have a keen sense of comic timing. Director Graham Hughes turns up as cameraman Brian, trying to help out our girls but he seems to know more than he is letting on. The cast is rounded out by Cedric Gall as a professor that just seems to love the whole idea of this door and provides a few moments of “holy crap that is how I would act” for this viewer.

I’m yet to see Graham Hughes; previous movie Death of a Vlogger but I have heard so many people talk about it over the last year or two. I will absolutely be checking it out now, if there is one thing I love, it is a director on a small budget having to be as creative as possible to impress his audiences. Hughes smashes this one out of the park, Hostile Dimensions aspirations are crazy high and I would love to see what this guy does with a meaty budget. He has shown great technical aptitude in taking the found footage genre and using it to maximum effect.

I would give Hostile Dimensions a full five marks (and I really should if I’m honest) but the film loses half a point because I felt like there was more here. I don’t mean stuff was cut and it was a janky edit. I mean that when it ended I wanted to see past this story and see where our girls go next. I don’t see this as a bad thing, I see it more as a “What else do you have for me Hughes? I’m waiting”.

****½  4.5/5

Hostile Dimensions screened as part of this year’s Frightfest London

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