SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER
The third day of Mayhem kicked-off with the festival’s weakest film. Tag had energy and visual style but it just seemed like a collection of concepts thrown together rather than s cohesive hole. It wasn’t bad, just unfocused and plotless.
Sun-ho Cho’s A Day is a Groundhog Day-style drama about a man trying to save his daughter from a road accident. This keeps unfolding, adding additional layers as the film progresses. The last act might be a touch prolonged, but this was an enjoyable thriller.
Ana Asensio’s Most Beautiful Island was a low-key drama-thriller which plays like Fight Club meets I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. This is a real slow burner that doesn’t offer up a lot of easy answers for its audience – and Asensio’s film is all the better for it.
Mayhem’s Short Film Showcase was exceptional this year. Every film hit the spot. Movies In Focus‘ favourites included In The Dark, Dark Woods, What Metal Girls Are Into, Teddy Bear’s Picnic Creswick and Feeding Time. The short film segment continues to be one of the standout moments in the Mayhem line-up.
Director Dick Maas’ Prey has been dubbed ‘Jaws With Paws’ and that’s because…that’s exactly what it is. It follows Mark Frost and Sophie Van Winden as they try to track down a killer lion in present day Amsterdam. It’s as far-fetched and enjoyable as it sounds.
The third day of of Mayhem closed with Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic Suspiria. This giallo tale of witches and murder in the ballet world went down well with the late night audience and the remastered film really popped on the big screen. This is what the festival is all about.
Sunday 15 October
Mockumentary Topknot Detective was a pleasant surprise. Aaron McCann and Dominic Pearce’s film about a forgotten fictional Japanese TV show was well presented and paced. It’s like a DVD special feature for a box set that will never exist.
Icelandic chiller Rift is a wonderfully slow paced piece that creeps along with some fantastic atmosphere. Erlingur Thoroddsen’s film is a bleak and haunting mood piece – and there’s a minute or two that will literally have you checking under your bed at night.
Zeppelin V Pterodactyls was the live reading of a script by Mayhem co-founder Steven Sheil which was based on a forgotten Hammer Films treatment. Narrated by Jonny Phillips, the cast induced Thomas Farthing, Melvyn Rawlinson, Olivia Newton, Rob Goll and Sylvia Robson. An astounding success, this was the festival’s highlight.
Joe Lynch’s Mayhem really had to play at the Mayhem Film Festival and it was the perfect energiser to perk up the audience on a Sunday night. It’s a kick in the cinematic gonads. Great fun!
Peter Ricq’s Dead Shack closed Mayhem 2017 and the comedy-horror was a fab finale. The Goonies meets Evil Dead, this kid-centric zombie film is a wonderfully fizzy flick with great performances from the young cast. It might feature kids, but Dead Shack isn’t for kids! Recommended.
That was the end of the Mayhem Film Festival for 2017 – but Movies In Focus will be back in 2018 to cover the genre festival that just keeps getting better and better!