Mayhem Film Festival 2016: Day Three

Sunday 16 October 2016
reading time: min, words
A packed Saturday of features kept our fragile little minds occupied
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They Call Me Jeeg Robot. Kicking off the third day of Mayhem was an Italian superhero movie that cleverly borrows elements from the seventies Manga and anime series Steel Jeeg. After a Toxic Avenger-esque encounter with a drum of hazardous waste in the opening sequence, small-time crook Enzo only discovers he has gained super powers a few days later after surviving being flung from the roof of a building in a drug pick-up gone awry. The undelivered drugs belong to gangster kingpin wannabe Fabio, and he’s intent on saving his reputation and exacting revenge. 

Meanwhile, misanthropic to the last, Enzo is quite happy to use his newfound powers to line his own pocket. That is until he ends up caring for Alessia, the daughter of his now deceased criminal cohort and neighbour. Traumatised, she lives in a fantasy world that is based on her favourite show, Steel Jeeg, and one of her delusions is that Enzo is the embodiment of the series’ hero and his job is to help humanity.

The story cuts between the stoic Enzo and the wild, unhinged Fabio. Fabio is utterly bonkers, no two ways about it. His reaction to getting the wrong coloured phone juxtaposed with his love of crooning pop songs and wearing lamé jackets, rivals the madness of any movie villain that has come before. The contrast between the two characters reenforces the comic book feel of the film, but it’s also its downfall as the story shifts gears erratically at times, making it feel disjointed in places. Despite that, it’s worth a watch as the performances are exceptional and the plot is a refreshing change to the American superhero films that have dominated screens for the last few years. AE.

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Pet. The new film by director Carles Torrens is a clever take on the tired ‘creepy stalker kidnaps woman’ trope. Dominic Monaghan gives a great performance as Seth, the creepy animal shelter officer who quickly becomes obsessed with an old schoolmate, Holly (Ksenia Solo), who he runs into on a bus journey.

As his obsession with Holly grows and she continues to shun him, Seth decides to imprison her within the shelter. Holly may be kept as Seth’s pet for now, but she definitely ain’t no damsel in distress. There’s a lot to be taken from this dark, visceral horror/thriller with some really original twists and thanks to Torrens’ excellent pacing you’ll be kept guessing right to the end. PR.

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The Ghoul. I was very pleasantly surprised by this British feature. Another Ben Wheatley produced film (after Friday’s The Greasy Strangler), it contained many of his collaborators such as actors Tom Meeten and Alice Lowe; as well as writer/director Gareth Tunley with his first feature in those roles. Although this is certainly no comedy, Tunley’s background in it shows with some very British humour, particularly from actors Dan Renton Skinner and Geoffrey McGivern (who was just brilliant as the psychiatrist, Morland). The film won’t be for everyone, as the story is not straightforward and I heard murmurings of pretentiousness from some Mayhem attendees – however, I thought it was all very well crafted, entertaining throughout, and one of my favourites of the festival. So there. HW.

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The Devil's Candy. The Loved Ones is definitely one of my top ten all-time favourite films, so I was very excited to see the newest offering from Sean Byrne.

When the Hellman family move into a new house, strange things start to happen with artist dad Jesse finding himself compelled to paint dark, weird masterpieces and the son of the former homeowners appearing at the door.  Byrne takes his time introducing us to the Hellman family and other characters, which means there’s not too much horror for about the first half of the movie, however this ramps up very quickly after that point. The violence especially becomes deliciously bloody - watch out for a very metal use for a Gibson Flying V towards the end of the film.

The Devil’s Candy takes a very different approach to horror than The Loved Ones - part haunted house, part family saga, part psychopath movie – and blends them all into a film that, while probably not the most memorable horror film of the year, will definitely scratch an itch. PR.

Mayhem Film Festival took place at Broadway Cinema between Thursday 13 October and Sunday 16 October 2016.

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