After getting off to a stunning start, the 2018 Mayhem Film Festival continued to impress over the course of its final two days.
The third day of Mayhem 2018 began with the wonderfully bonkers One Cut Of The Dead. We were told by Chris Cook and Steven Sheil that the less you knew about the film, the better. They were right. Shin’inchiro Ueda’s zombie pic just keeps evolving as it moves along.
Low-fi sci-fi Prospect is a space western starring Pedro Pascal and Sophie Thatcher. It features a mis-matched pair surviving the ravages of a distant mining planet. Written and directed by Zeek Earland Chris Caldwell, Prospect is a sparse film which works on its own terms.
Nosipho Dumisa’s Number 37 is a tense, South African-set Hitchcock homage. The Rear Window riff sees a cripple in trouble with loansharks attempting to blackmail a criminal in order to get his life back on track. It’s a touch convoluted, but it really hits the mark at times.
Mayhem’s Short Film Showcase is always a stand-out. This year 13 films were screened, all of which had something special to offer. Movies In Focus‘ favourites included Kate Dolan’s Catcalls, Kevin Sludder’s Heartless and Ashlea Wessel’s Tick.
Director Aislinn Clarke’s The Devil’s Doorway was a little surprise, A film which tackles a dark period for the Catholic Church in Ireland, Clarke’s film is as thought provoking as it is eerie. Does what a good genre film should do.
Horror movies don’t come more ’80s than Lamberto Bava’s 1985 schlock-fest, Demons. It’s cheesy, but what else do you want on a Saturday night in October?
Shinsuke Sato’s Inuyashiki is an energetic superhero film about a middle-aged man and teenager who both end up as humanoid machines. It’s a little over-long and repetitive, but it features some good moments. This would have been so much better if it was 20 minutes shorter.
The Field Guide To Evil is a anthology film featuring tales from Ashim Ahluwalia, Can Evrenol, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz, Katrin Gebbe, Calvin Reeder, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Peter Strickland & Yannis Veslemes. They’re all atmospheric and well shot – but none of them are truly brilliant.
Writer-director Andy Mitton’s The Witch In The Window is without doubt the highlight of Mayhem 2018. Well acted, plotted and creepy as hell, this is top tier stuff. Alex Draper and Charlie Tacker both do sterling as the father and son who start work on an old farmhouse only to discover that the house’s previous owner hasn’t gone very far. This will scare the beejeezus out of you.
The Nightshifter is a wonderful atmospheric piece about a morgue worker with a sixth sense. Dennison Ramalho’s film is creepy, refreshing and unique.
Mayhem 2018 came to an end with What Keeps You Alive. Colin Minihan’s film is a tense relationship-survival thriller. It’s good, nail-biting stuff with a nice Dead Calm feel to it.
That’s the Mayhem Film Festival for 2018 – and hopefully Movies In Focus will return in 2019.