The 2013 Film4 FrightFest gets underway on Thursday 22 August 2013, kicking off five days of horror from around the world. With 51 films to choose from, we’ve whittled down a list of 13 that you can’t afford to miss (although you should of course see many more than this).
1. You’re Next
Director: Adam Wingard
We’ve already gone on about how much we love Adam Wingard’s darkly comic home invasion horror at great length (you can read our five-star review here) but the best place to see it is with an audience. Make sure you catch it with the kind of crowd it was made for.
2. The Desert
Director: Christoph Behl
This Argentian drama finds three people attempting to live through an unseen zombie apocalypse. As time progresses, we see rifts in their relationships form in this excellent, low-key character study. A rewarding must-see for anyone looking for some substance with their blood and guts.
3. The Banshee Chapter
Director: Blair Erickson
Government conspiracies come to life in this highly entertaining tale of a reporter investigating the disappearance of her old friend. With a great turn from Ted Levine as a Hunter S Thompson-esque author, this is guaranteed to make you jump.
4. Dark Touch
Director: Marina De Van
From the director of the superb French body horror In My Skin, this disturbing supernatural tale is one of the best films you’ll see at FrightFest this year. We won’t say too much but it’s got an outstanding central performance from young actress Marie Missy Keating and it’s very powerful indeed.
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
This chilling, haunting tale cuts between a man hunting for a bone marrow transplant and the story of a hospital built during World War II for children unable to feel pain. With excellent performances and gut-wrenching twists, this is a harrowing examination of a dark time in a nation’s history.
6. Curse Of Chucky
Director: Don Mancini
Chucky’s back in this latest sequel to the Brad Dourif-voiced killer doll franchise. The broad comedy of the last two instalments (Bride and Seed) has been abandoned for a return to the straight horror of the earlier Child’s Play films. Early word is good, and it will be great to see the little guy back on screen.
7. Big Bad Wolves
Directors: Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado
From the makers of festival favourite Rabies comes another chilling, darkly funny serial killer tale. Three men involved in an investigation into a series of murders – the father of a missing girl, the chief suspect and the rogue detective – collide in what promises to be a fantastic revenge movie.
8. We Are What We Are
Director: Jim Mickle
This remake of the 2010 Chilean cannibal family drama has picked up excellent word of mouth from Sundance and Cannes and we’re very excited to see what the director of Stake Land has done with this darkly comic tale. It promises to be that rare thing: The worthwhile remake.
9. Willow Creek
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
The director of provocative black comedies God Bless America and World’s Greatest Dad turns his hand to found footage horror with this story of a couple searching for Bigfoot. If you’re suffering from found-footage fatigue, trust Goldthwait to give you interesting characters and a dark sense of humour.
10. Dark Tourist
Director: Suri Krishnamma
This gruelling character study (formerly known as The Grief Tourist) boasts a magnetic performance from Southland‘s Michael Cudlitz as a serial killer-obsessed security guard who travels to California to retrace the steps of a murderer. With Melanie Griffith and Pruitt Taylor Vince in support, this is compelling stuff.
11. 100 Bloody Acres
Directors: Cameron & Colin Cairnes
If you’re in need of some light relief, we definitely recommend checking out Aussie horror comedy 100 Bloody Acres. It’s not a spoof or an homage, it’s just the very funny tale of two brothers who have stumbled upon a new ingredient for their fertiliser. Which is unfortunate for three youngsters heading to a music festival.
12. The Dead 2: India
Directors: Howard & Jon Ford
The Ford Brothers made waves with their African-set, low-budget zombie epic The Dead back in 2010 and they’ve returned with their India-set sequel as our hero is forced to cross the undead-ridden country. Expect them to deliver more than you would think possible on a low budget.
Directors: Sonny Laguna & Tommy Wiklund
No trip to FrightFest should pass without witnessing some low-budget splatter, and this low-budget Swedish riff on The Evil Dead is a straightforward, straight-faced, well-made bloodbath. If you’re feeling the need for some entertaining, inventive cabin-bound mayhem, be sure to catch Wither.
Bonus: Documentaries and Classics
You’re going to want to catch Josh Johnson’s nostalgic, very funny VHS documentary Rewind This! while Kate Shenton’s skin-suspension doc On Tender Hooks is a stomach turning but remarkably cheery look at a fascinating subculture.
The powerful Australian oddity Wake in Fright has been giving a loving restoration and is definitely worth catching, as Corruption (starring Peter Cushing as a mad surgeon), Roger Corman’s The Fall of the House of Usher and, of course, Nosferatu.
Even with 13 films there wasn’t enough room to mention all the films that are worth catching (V/H/S/2, Haunter, Sadik 2, The Last Days, Cheap Thrills, and many more), but we’ll be reporting from the festival as it happens from Thursday onwards. For more information on the films mentioned and to grab your tickets while they’re still available, visit the FrightFest website.