The most unique, colourful, and impressive film at Edinburgh International Film Festival was easily The Lure (Corki Dancingu); a macabre Polish siren musical that seduces as well as it thrills. Director Agnieszka Smoczynska has put together a remarkable piece of work with a talented team of Polish artists, so look no further if splendorous audio-visual fairs are your thing.
Holidays is the latest anthology film you’ll want to tick off your list if you’ve enjoyed recent projects like The ABCs of Death 2, A Christmas Horror Story, or Southbound. One of the campest anthology films in a while, Holidays feels closer to George A. Romero and Stephen King’s’s 80’s pulp extravaganza Creepshow, than it ever does to the gritty handheld feel of V/H/S. But then that shouldn’t really surprise, after all, this is an anthology made in homage to Holiday Horror; a sub-genre characterised by OTT massacres and darkly comic thrillers. Many of these films became immensely popular in the late 70’s when the boom in Slasher films made gory flicks with large body-counts a lucrative business. Famous entries would include classics like Halloween and Black Christmas, though camper 80’s endeavours like Thanksgiving thriller Blood Rage seem closer inspirations on much of the humour of this curious collection.
Last Girl Standing is the kind of Indy horror debut that will put director Benjamin R. Moody on the map, evidently, since it was picked up for distribution by the Frightfest Presents label. Frightfest has a long and admirable history of championing low-budget underdog genre films, giving filmmakers the opportunity to reach a wider audience if they show potential. The recent batch of Frightfest releases shows the charm, scares, and self-awareness we’ve come to expect, but Last Girl Standing feels like a potential cult classic and marks Moody as a talent to watch for.
Adapted from the classic 1908 existential novel by G. K. Chesterton, Balazs Juszt’s directorial debut is a heady thriller. Splitting time between a fascist-period attempt on Mussolini’s life and a contemporary plot to assassinate the pope, The Man Who Was Thursday takes place in the darker backstreets of faith.
If you didn’t like Tusk, then chances are you could find Kevin Smith’s latest schlocky comedy adventure Yoga Hosers an absolute irritation. Smith’s latest addition to the True North Trilogy is a direct spin-off from Tusk which harks back to Clerks, fusing his earlier structure and themes with his later, more outré genre work. This is going to be another marmite film for most people.
Accomplished sculptor and avant-garde artist Henry Coombs arrived at Edinburgh film festival this year with his psycho-drama directorial debut Seat in Shadow. It’s a studied and emotional look at artist and muse, a close-up look at alienation, and an uplifting expose of life and love through the prism of gay experience. That’s not to say that Coombs’ debut is a specifically “gay” film, it looks at the network of anxieties which plague one young man, but its ultimate message is a testament to the complications of the human heart and mind.
Anna Biller’s fourth feature film The Love Witch cements her as a consummate talent and aesthetically gifted artist with seductively witchy control over her aesthetic. Writer, editor, production designer, and director, Anna Biller is one of the stand-out talents of Edinburgh international Film Festival 2016.
Firstborn, the debut feature from Nirpal Bhogal, is a surprisingly effective hark-back to supernatural domestic thrillers of the 70s. Charlie (Antonia Thomas) and James (Luke Norris) are a young couple with a new born baby which appears to attract supernatural attention. As time goes by and baby Thea grows up, the family find themselves increasingly at the whim of violent supernatural forces.
Franck Khalfoun wowed us in 2012 with Maniac, a startling first-person update of William Lustig’s sleazy 1980 classic. One of the few great remakes of the past decade, it shows a keen eye for social commentary and actually bothers to modernise/transform its story. i-Lived is Khalfoun’s fourth film as director (yet just his second writing credit after P2) and in the same way, it’s a very modern horror story.