GRIMMFEST 2016 – Festival Preview

The 8th annual Grimmfest, the North’s top film festival for all things horror, cult and fantastical is back in Manchester this weekend from the 6th-9th October…

The festival is based at the Odeon Printworks and this year has the Horror Channel on board as official sponsors. Grimmfest 2016 promises to be the biggest and best Grimmfest yet with more premieres, special guests and screenings of remastered classics than ever before.

Following a preview night on September 23, which had a pre-release screening of Rob Zombie’s latest film, 31 as well as a screening of a new remastered edition of horror directing legend, Wes Craven’s 1977 gritty savage classic, The Hills Have Eyes, Grimmfest 2016 officially starts on Thursday night at 6:50pm with the UK premiere of Cory Asraf and John Swab’s Let Me Make You A Martyr starring music icon Marilyn Manson.

If horror’s your thing, this festival is not to be missed. Let’s break down some of the top new films to catch at this year’s Grimmfest.

BROKEN (Dir. Shaun Robert Smith) – Thursday Oct 6 at 9:25pm

The Northern premiere of Shaun Robert Smith’s Drama/Thriller, Broken will be the second film to be screened at this year’s festival. The film centres around a young French girl who escapes her abusive past to England to begin a new life. She takes a job caring for a tetraplegic but the stresses of the job begin to stir up painful memories for her.

This is the 37-year-old Lincolnshire born director’s first feature length effort and he’s certainly kicking things off with a very interesting premise. Trying to start a new life is not an easy thing to do and having things constantly remind Evie, our protagonist of the abuses she suffered and is trying to forget promises for an intense and gripping story. This one definitely suggests an interesting start to the festival’s films as opposed to a fun one and that will hopefully be what we see.

THE UNSEEN (Dir. Geoff Redknapp) – Friday Oct 7 at 12 noon

Friday’s first screening sees a more action-packed entry with the UK premiere of Geoff Redknapp’s The Unseen combining horror and action with a sci-fi element, the film focusses on Bob Langmore (Aden Young) who is risking everything to find his missing daughter but that may include exposing the secret that he is becoming invisible.

If that premise alone isn’t enough to get you excited I don’t know what well. While it’s true that the world is not short of ‘father trying to find missing daughter’ films, The Unseen incorporates the very interesting idea of the father turning invisible which may seem too bizarre but may be dealt with in a way that makes you empathise with him more. If not, it may provide a somewhat lighter edge to what looks to be 105mins of tense action. Regardless, The Unseen certainly intrigues.

TONIGHT SHE COMES (Dir. Matt Stuertz) – Sunday Oct 9 at 2:30pm

Perhaps the most fun sounding film playing at this year’s festival will be one of the last to be screened, Matt Stuertz’s Tonight She Comes looks to be an entertaining and wonderfully violent throwback to the slasher sub-genre complete with teenagers, a cabin, partying and lots of killing. This is the only film to have its full world premiere at Grimmfest 2016 with the cast and director attending the festival.

It is always interesting to see what angle these slasher throwback films take. Will it poke fun? Will it twist those well-known ‘cliches?’ Or will it simply be a run-of-the-mill slasher film? Even if it ends up being the latter, Tonight She Comes looks like 85mins of a horror fan’s dream.

PET (Dir. Carles Torrens) – Saturday Oct 8 at 7:10pm

This is one that seems to take us back to the smaller focus of Broken. Carles Torrens’ Pet, for the most part, looks to be a quietly intense film; one that will benefit from good performances. Centring around Seth (Dominic Monaghan – Lord of the Rings), an animal shelter worker who bumps into an old love and begins to become obsessed with her, leading to him keeping her captive.

The scenes between Monaghan and his ‘pet’, Holly (Ksenia Solo) look to be very disturbing to watch and here’s hoping that Monaghan can give us a truly menacing yet sympathetic performance. If this film has that complexity of character, it may very well end up being the best film shown at this festival.

TRAIN TO BUSAN (Dir. Sang-ho Yeon) – Friday Oct 7 at 11pm

Where would the horror genre be today without the impact of foreign films? That is a question horror fans don’t like to think too much about due to the realisation that the genre may very well be dead if it weren’t for them. Sang-ho Yeon’s Korean zombie film, Train To Busan looks to be the next best zombie film…and perhaps the next best foreign horror.

Having already screened at the Cannes Film Festival, it seems to have overall been very well received. Perhaps we can expect a similar impact from this as we got from Dead Snow, the Norwegian ‘nazi-zombie’ film back in 2009.

Tickets for screenings at Grimmfest 2016 are still available at www.grimmfest.com.

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