Mayhem Film Festival 2017: Days One & Two

The Mayhem Film Festival always has a great buzz. That’s because genre fans fully embrace the films they come to see and they’re willing to judge them for what they are (not on box office or PR). Every year the audience is willing to roll-up their sleeves and dive head-first into the weird and wonderful films presented at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema. 2017 – Mayhem’s 13th year – is no different.

Day One

Mayhem 2017 kicked-off with Benjamin Barefoot’s Double Date, a hugely satisfying comedic thrill-ride. Danny Morgan and Michael Socha share great chemistry as two friends eager to get laid – but they get more than they bargained for from two murderous sisters. More comedy than horror, Double Date gets a lot right, throwing in enough violence in the finale to keep the blood-thirsty crowd happy. This comes recommended by Movies In Focus. 

Director Barefoot was joined by stars Danny Morgan, Georgia Groome and producer Matt Wilkinson for a relaxed post-screening Q&A.

Natalia Leite’s M.F.A is a heavy duty and unflinching drama starring Francesca Eastwood (daughter of Clint) as a College rape victim who decides to take revenge on her attacker, and the attackers of others by launching a one-woman vigilante spree. This would have been relevant before the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal, but it’s even more powerful now. M.F.A has some intense scenes, but it does carry a very strong message

Day Two

Bitch plays like 1990s family comedy by way of a weird-mental health focused version of Kramer Vs Kramer. Marianna Palka stars, writes and directs this film about a woman who can’t take the stress of family life. She suddenly snaps, turning her back on humanity (and her family) by acting like a dog. Jason Ritter (son of the late John Ritter) impresses as her self-centred husband who must rise to the challenge of bringing up his family without the aid of his wife.

Trent Haaga goes all-out with 68 Kill, a twisted road movie where bad shit happens to bad people. Matter Gray Gubler is a loser who lets the women in his life lead him astray. And astray usually means robbery, kidnap, murder and worse. Haaga’s film has a lot of energy and it doesn’t play by the rules. It’s fun – but not for the easily offended.

Simeon Halligan’s Habit is a neo-noir horror-thriller set in Manchester. It’s dripping with atmosphere (and blood), while also having some great character moments. Halligan pitches it as Loach meets Argento – and that’s all you need to know.

Writer-director Simeon Halligan and star Elliot Langridge introduced Habit, while Halligan joined producer Rachel Richardson-Jones for a post-film Q&A. I had a brief chat with Halliagn, and he seems like a nice guy too.

Friday The 13th Part III 3D was a great way of drawing the second day of Mayhem to a close – after all it was Friday the 13th. Steve Miner’s 3D horror might be a little hokey, but the audience seemed to have a great time as Jason hacked and slashed his way across three dimensions.

Mayhem Film Festival 2017: Days Three & Four