• Martyn Wakefield

Top 10 most anticipated movies to see at Arrow Video Frightfest 2021 (FEATURE)

Updated: Aug 20

With a line-up this good we expect to hear from these films as the new baseline of terror and thanks to Arrow Video Frightfest, London will house a weekend of sheer terror. From what we've seen so far, these are the highlights but that's not to mention that every film selected will have it's audience. From Nicholas Cage to kinetic nightmares, demonic possessions to woodland cults, there's plenty for all to enjoy this year.


SOUND OF VIOLENCE


This really takes us back to one of Frightfest's true showcases, BERBARIAN SOUND STUDIO. Blending face melting visuals with a sensory overload, SOUND OF VIOLENCE looks set to be one of the most memorable movies from the festival. After witnessing the brutal murder of her family at age ten, music student Alexis has finally recovered her sense of hearing. But that visceral experience awakened synesthetic abilities within and now she only finds healing solace in the sounds of bodily harm. So Alexis starts devising ingenious methods of causing pain – razor sharp harp strings, a torture piano and speaker limb grafting - to record victim’s screams of torment and death rattles to compose a gruesome symphonic masterpiece. But as the baffled police investigate, and her best friend is put in danger, can carnage conductor Alexis stop her violent compulsion?


PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND


No, this is not a sequel to the uber-gory, class act that was INCIDENTS IN A GHOSTLAND, this is full pelt Nicholas Cage with ghosts and samurai's. Taking up the main event on Saturday evening this is must see. Also Bill Moseley.


DEMONIC


This years opener is probably, dare I say it, the biggest opener for FrightFest since it's inception. From the director of DISTRICT 9 and ELYSIUM comes a full on sci-fi horror that takes demonic possession to a whole new dimension. Neill Blomkamp's film sees a young woman unleash terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades-old rift between mother and daughter are ruthlessly revealed in a laboratory experiment having major repercussions for humanity.


THE EXORCISM OF CARMEN FARIAS


If we had a pound for every bad "THE EXORCISM OF..." movie we saw, we could probably buy a few screenings of this Mexican horror. Judging from the trailer, this looks set to be one of the most terrifying events of this season and we always find something mysteriously terrifying about Mexican cinema that puts this firmly at the centre of the must-see list. Camila Sodi plays journalist Carmen who receives two crushing blows one after the other. Told she can possibly never have children, she then witnesses her mother die in hospital. At the reading of her mother’s will, she’s surprised to learn she’s inherited her grandmother’s old house, a building assumed to have long been sold. Moving into the rundown property, the strange and unsettling incidents begin… unlocking dark secrets her ancestors wanted to keep hidden to maintain her safety.


ULTRASOUND


Another sci-fi horror, this time from Rob Schroeder, producer of SUN CHOKE and BEYOND THE GATES. ULTRASOUND is based on the graphic novel ‘Generous Bosom’. Glen’s car breaks down in a rainstorm and at the first house he finds he’s made an astonishing offer. Meanwhile, Katie is feeling emotionally wrecked by a secret romantic arrangement that feels like textbook gaslighting. And at a bland research facility, medical professional Shannon begins questioning her role in a bizarre experiment straight out of ‘The Twilight Zone’. The stories connect but how and why in a wicked tale of the unexpected.


THE ADVENT CALENDAR


While Frightfest has always been based in London, there is no denying it is the world stage of horror and as such showcases the best world cinema and THE ADVENT CALENDAR looks set to be another star. Eva, an ex-dancer, is now living in a wheelchair, unable to walk. When her friend Sophie gives her an old wooden antique advent calendar before Christmas, she realizes each window contains a surprise that triggers repercussions in real life. Some of them are good, but most of them are bad, really bad. Now Eva will have to choose between getting rid of the calendar or walking again - even if it causes death and destruction to everyone she holds dear around her.


BRING OUT THE FEAR


Previous collaborator Richard Waters makes his feature debut thanks to Frightfest's innovative New Blood ​​strand. The trailer alone is enough to send shivers down our spines and proves Mr Waters really is a force to be reckoned with, as is nature. Rosie and Dan are a couple in a doomed relationship. Deciding to call it a day in the least acrimonious way possible, they decide to take one last walk in a favourite destination, the local forest. But suddenly the endlessly winding paths lead nowhere, the trees never seem to end, the sun never sets and a sinister presence starts stalking and tormenting them, trying to drive them insane... There is no escape but what exactly are they hiding?


THE LAST RITE


Leroy Kincaide's makes his feature debut with a transcendence of worlds as sleep meets the terror of reality in a shocker more terrifying than Freddy would have you wrapped around. A vibe of true horror coupled with the dank sense of uncertainty. Medical student Lucy, suffering from sleep paralysis, finds herself plagued by a demonic entity after moving in with her boyfriend. Torn between sanity and the unknown, Lucy seeks help from a local priest forced to make a deathly choice. With the clock ticking, will Lucy escape the dark force consuming her from inside?


WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED


Frightfest is not all about being scares witless, it's also a celebration of all things horror and nothing does that better than one of the three documentaries available over the weekend. WOODLANDS... explores the folk horror phenomenon from its roots in authors Arthur Machen and M.R. James to the Unholy Trinity of WITCHFINDER GENERAL, BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW and THE WICKER MAN, director Kier-La Janisse’s exhaustive study investigates the many ways we alternately celebrate, conceal and manipulate our own histories in an attempt to find spiritual resonance in our surroundings. With a fabulous array of illustrative clips from little-known world cinema, taking in everything from THE SHUTTERED ROOM, PSYCHOMANIA and LAKE MUNGO to GANJA & HESS, KURONEKO and, yes, even ‘Bagpuss’ this is definitely the must-see documentary of the decade.


JOHN AND THE HOLE


The stunning feature directorial debut of visual artist Pascual Sisto, adapted by Oscar-winning writer Nicolás Giacobone (BIRDMAN) from his novel ‘The Well, is a sinister coming-of-age fable, a disturbing and harrowing deep dive into what make the bored pre-adolescent mind tick. In a chilling performance, Charlie Shotwell plays John who drugs his family and traps them in an unfinished concrete bunker in the forest. Why? Because he is trying to understand his own burgeoning pubescence and that heartfelt unsettling reality in what the director calls HOME ALONE as if directed by Michael Haneke. An intense and ravishing unique cinematic experience.


Special mentions;


FORGIVENESS


Three women mysteriously wake up in a strange hospital and discover that one of them is deaf, one is mute and the other one is blind. The three must work together to survive a network of abuse, discrimination and torture while trying to uncover why this happened.


THE BRILLIANT TERROR


This documentary tells the grassroots story of horror and how micro budget doesn't always mean small followings.


PRETTY BOY


I mean just look at that mask...



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