Event Report: Film4 FrightFest 2011
As the holiest range of dates in the British horror fanatic’s calendar now consigns itself to history, so too do the memories of this year’s Film4 FrightFest (Thursday 25 August to Monday 29 August). As usual, Dread Central was on the scene to bring you insight into the machinations of the UK’s biggest horror film festival. Read on for the details and a sample of our huge forthcoming image gallery!
Now in its twelfth year of operation, the UK’s premier destination for lovers of all things scary and violent appears to have settled solidly into what will likely be its permanent home for the future – the Empire Cinema in London’s Leicester Square. Did we mention last year that it’s also the largest cinema screen in the UK? We did, you say? Well, it is. And it’s a wonderful thing to behold every single time you enter the auditorium.
Packed, as usual, with a wide range of world and UK premieres, special guests, giveaways and sneak peeks, this year’s festival opened with the Troy Nixey-helmed fantasy-horror remake Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (review here). Lacking any physically attending guests, audience members were instead treated to a specially recorded video intro by FrightFest fan Guillermo Del Toro, who unfortunately was unable to make an appearance due to being busy working on Pacific Rim.
The substitution of a video intro instead of guests continued with Final Destination 5’s (review here) Emma Bell and Tony Todd appearing on-screen inviting us to enjoy the show. And enjoy it we did! Easily among the best of the series, director Steven Quale manages to craft a fast-paced, exciting, surprising, genuinely humorous and sheer fun entry. While the use of 3D makes no effort to avoid the obvious gimmickry that the format enables, Quale embraces it right from the credit sequence in a manner that shits all over The Final Destination’s painfully cynical attitude.
Topping off the first evening of fear flicks saw directors Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain and composer Simon Boswell introduce the much-anticipated horror anthology The Theatre Bizarre (Fantasia review here), and... well... let’s just say that we’re sure our readers know that the staff here on DC can occasionally disagree in their opinions on certain flicks. I’ll go one step further and say that I have absolutely no idea what Andy was smoking before, during or after the Fantasia screening he attended. How such a group of talented filmmakers can produce a film so uninspiring and insipid is mind-boggling, and my full The Theatre Bizarre counter-review can be found here.