Mayhem Film Festival 2019: Days One & Two

The Mayhem Film Festival returned in outstanding fashion for its 15th incarnation. The 2019 festival, which screens at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema offered a great selection of genre films over its first two days – most of which were pretty damn great. 

Here’s the lowdown on days one and two:

Day One

Extra Ordinary

A wonderfully entertaining Irish comedy-horror which delivers everything that you would want from its premise about a driving instructor/exorcist (Maeve Higgins) and a widower (Barry Ward) battling a vanity-fuelled satanic one hit wonder (Will Forte). Extra Ordinary has laughs a plenty and some great special effects on hand. 

Extra Ordinary was introduced by the film’s co-director Mike Ahern. He also returned for an anecdote and witty Q&A after the film. 

Daniel Isn’t Real

Director Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real is an exceptional psychological horror (such better than I imagined). It’s about a troubled young man (Miles Robbins) and his imaginary friend Daniel (Patrick Schwarzenegger). Things don’t go too well, as you can imagine. 

The performances are fantastic (Patrick Schwarzenegger is very reminiscent of his charismatic father) and the tech specs also deliver on every level. Oddly, the central character in Daniel Isn’t Real goes on a similar journey as the main character in Todd Phillips’ Joker

Day Two 

A supernatural Russian film from 1967, Viy is about a priest who must watch over the dead body of a supposed witch for three nights – something which sounds much easier than it actually is.

Movies In Focus knew nothing about Viy before the screening – and boy, was I impressed. Great effects, witty performances and stirring visuals. Seek this out as soon as you can. 

Sword of God 

The most disappointing film of Mayhem 2019 (so far). Sword Of God (formerly The Mute) is a Polish christianity survival film which looks impressive and it features solid enough performances. However, the film lacks energy, cohesion and any real characterisation. It was good as far as it went, but this gritty drama left me cold. 

Girl on The Third Floor

The best way to describe Girl On The Third Floor is The Shining meets The Changeling by way of DIY S.O.S. Travis Stevens’ horror sees a Don (an impressive turn from wrestler C.M. Punk) carrying out renovations on his new house, preparing it for his wife and child’s arrival. However, the old house isn’t in the mood for change and soon things are going bump in the night. 

Big takeaway from this great movie: C.M. Punk looks a lot like Jon Hamm. 

Color Out Of Space

The film that Movies In Focus was looking forward to most at Mayhem 2019. Color Out Of Space sees director Richard Stanley return after a 27 year hiatus to deliver this H.P. Lovecraft sci-fi/horror. It’s like an Amblin movie on acid or E.T. meets The Thing. Nicolas Cage gets to delve deep into his box of acting tricks, delivering everything on the spectrum from ‘gee-shucks’ family man to full-blown ‘Cage’. 

The first two-thirds are great, but the film seriously loses its way towards the finale. I was disappointed. 

The Hidden

This 1987 sci-fi/actioner is good, old-fashioned, silly fun. The Hidden sees a parasitic alien killing its way across LA and only a rogue FBI agent (Kyle McLaughlin) and a tough guy cop (Michael Nouri) can stop it. 

Director Jack Shoulder’s film is derivative (a buddy movie riff on The Terminator) but it does exactly what you want it to do. A fun way to send a Friday night. 

Read about the final two days of Mayhem 2019