The Film4 Frightfest returns to the Glasgow Film Festival for the 11th year in a row to close out the final weekend of the event, and with it comes 13 exclusive Scottish premieres of some of the most anticipated horror films from around the world. This year offers a diverse line-up of twisted tales that no fans of scary movies will want to miss, including the world premiere of Stephen King’s Cell and the American remake of French classic, Martyrs – along with so much more.
THURS 25 FEB – GFT Screen 1
THE FOREST (9.00 pm) When it comes to real life horror, there aren’t many places scarier than Japan’s Aokigahara, otherwise known as “The Suicide Forest.’’
Currently sitting in second place as the world’s most popular suicide hotspot (behind the Golden Gate Bridge), Aokigahara has been death’s bedfellow for centuries; it dates all the way back to periods of famine when superstitious families sacrificed their loved ones to the forest in a bid to appease the gods and end their hunger.
However, it would go on to become synonymous with suicide, and has garnered a hauntingly poetic reputation as the perfect place to die. It is also steeped in paranormal mythology, with demons said to reside there along with the spirits of those who have died in its canopy. In Jason Zada’s chiller The Forest, Sara (Natalie Dormer) enters the “Sea of Trees’’ to find her missing twin, only to be confronted by the malevolent spirits damned there for eternity.
Dormer, best known for her role as Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones, will be there on the night to introduce the film.
FRI 26 FEB – GFT Screen 1
THE HEXECUTIONERS (1.30pm) – Jesse Thomas Cook is the Canadian director who brought us the beastly smackdown Monsters Brawl, which pitted classic monsters against each other in wrestling’s squared circle. His latest feature The Hexecutioners takes us to a world where euthanasia is not only legal – it’s a profitable industry. Malison (Liv Collins) is an employee for the Rite-To-Die company, whose specialisation is to assist the suicidal leave their mortal coil. However, when she unwittingly unleashes a swarm of angry Tibetan ghosts during a seemingly routine job, she finds herself trying to escape death rather than grant it.
CELL (6.30pm) – The best-selling novel by Stephen King finally makes its way to the big screen, and the world premier is set to take place at Glasgow Frightfest. Starring Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack (in their second King adaptation together, following 2007’s 1408), Cell follows a group of survivors in New England as they try to survive an apocalypse, caused by a mysterious cell phone signal that’s turned most of the human population into homicidal savages. Clay (John Cusack) is desperate to be reunited with his wife and son, but when the group learn of ‘The Raggedy Man’ and his followers who might have caused the end of mankind, they seek him out to learn answers.
THE MIND’S EYE (9.00pm) – The Mind’s Eye is a retro-inspired thriller that’s been winning plaudits on the festival circuit, with many reviewers comparing it to David Cronenberg’s cult classic Scanners. Graham Skipper plays Zack, a man with the ability to move and destroy objects with his mind, and along with his girlfriend (who shares his abilities), they agree to let a doctor help them hone their powers. However, it soon becomes apparent that the doctor has a sinister agenda, and he keeps them captive in a facility to carry out twisted experiments. Zack then sets out to save his girlfriend so they can escape their prison, but they’ll have to get by all of the doctor’s henchmen first. Expect lots of telekinesis and gore in this one.
ALSO SHOWING: ANGUISH (3.40pm), PATCHWORK (11.15pm)
SAT 27 FEB – GFT Screen 1
THE WAVE (10.00am) – The Wave isn’t a horror movie in the traditional sense, but disaster movies offer scares, thrills, tension and edge-of-your-set, nail-biting entertainment in their own right. When a tsunami hits a close-knit Norwegian mountain community, the residents only have 10 minutes to reach higher ground before nature whitewashes them. It’s a race against time, with little-to-no escape.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR (4.40pm) – Following the loss of her a son, a grieving mother travels to a temple to perform a ritual that will allow her to say goodbye to his spirit; but things go awry when she opens a forbidden door that serves as a gateway between the worlds of the living and the dead. This is the latest feature from director Johannes Roberts, whose last movie Storage 24 starred Kidulthood’s Noel Clarke.
MARTYRS (9.30pm) – This is a remake of the French movie of the same name, which is regarded by horror fans as a bonafide classic. The original Martyrs is one of the most harrowing, disturbing and just downright brutal films ever made – but it’s not extreme for the sake of shock tactics either, and for that reason it’s been praised for its artistic merit. Needless to say, it’s a masterpiece that transcended the horror genre as a cinematic achievement and helped put French cinema on the map. Now with the remake already released elsewhere and receiving mixed reviews, this will certainly divide opinion. The story follows a girl named Anna who seeks revenge on those who harmed her, but it only serves as a gateway to unimaginable horrors much bigger than she ever imagined.
THE DEVIL’S CANDY (23.30pm) – After a seven-year hiatus following the release of his deranged gem The Loved One’s (which is like Pretty In Pink meets Hostel), Australian director Sean Byrne makes his long-awaited comeback with The Devil’s Candy – a Satanic, heavy metal opus of supernatural terror and psychological horror, accompanied by rockin’ riffs. It follows a father and daughter who move into their dream home on a rural farm in Texas, only to be confronted by dead members of the previous family who want to move back home. On paper it might sound like just another haunted house story, but with Sean Byrne involved it won’t be your conventional chiller.
ALSO SHOWING: SPL 2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES (2.05pm), BASKIN (7.05pm).