Every year Screamfest brings the best of indie Horror to Los Angeles, CA. Blockbuster hits like Paranormal Activity and Initiation have debuted at Screamfest and this year the talent is just as promising.
Screamfest 2021 was another success. And so I present to you, the “Best of the Fest”. We’re only looking at features currently, but the shorts are also dynamite. I’ve already talked about The Retaliators, but there are so many more that warrant discussion. Here are a couple of the titles to keep an eye out for next spooky season!
How to make a Kratt?
- Take two parts Wes Anderson.
- Add in one part Estonian folklore.
- Fold in a touch of the occult (to taste).
- Mix with three parts random environmental side plot that’s still somehow connected and was enjoyable.
Sit back for 107 minutes and enjoy this quirky, charming, and slightly feral thriller from Rasmus Merivoo.
Two children are dropped at grandma’s house without phones or reliable internet. They meet some neighborhood friends and after finding an old book in a library they decide to build a Kratt – a helper demon that demands to work and when work runs out, will strangle it’s creator. The kids disregard this part. They simply want something to help their grandmother out around the house. Little do they know the evil they’ve unleashed and the effect it has on their quaint little town.
Kratt is a fun watch and definitely one to look out for.
A dangerous game of cat and mouse is instigated when a young woman, Harley (Christine Spang), goes with her new boyfriend Kiel (Markus Silbiger) to his family’s grand country estate. The grounds are spacious and the mansion they’re staying in is nearly empty. It’s the perfect place to get off the grid and get away. Or at least, it should have been.
During the evening, intruders come onto the grounds and Harley finds herself in a malicious game where the prize is getting to live. Thankfully, she’s learned some hard lessons along the way that equipped her with the skills to fight back. This thriller combines escape room drama with rich people shenanigans and it can be really fun.
Spang does an amazing job as Harley. She’s able to flesh out the character with very little dialogue or backstory. Another notable performance is made by Markus Silbiger, who was last seen in the award-winning short, Smoke, Lilies and Jade. He plays his part well and handles the eerie twists and turns the movie throws at him.
Wicked Games offers up a lot of scares and a relatable heroine. Written and directed by Teddy Grennan, the style of the film belies its low-budget status. The direction is very slick and the film makes great use of low lighting and angles to ramp up the drama. Overall a thrilling feature that is sure to fall into the hands of a great distributor.
#Blue_Whale is a social thriller that follows a young woman as she tries to understand her younger sister’s suicide. I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty wild. It’s crazy teenagers making ridiculous decisions and doing ridiculous things, and the arbiter seems to be Nelly Crane in a freaky mask? But much like with this movie, nothing is as it appears.
There’s a macabre layer added when you realize that a Blue Whale challenge did exist. Director Anna Zaytseva wrote a script to bring a human face to this terrifying phenomenon and the actors bring fascinating terror to the screen. A unique note about the direction, the entire movie is told through a digital point of view. Phone cameras, social media posts, lives on “Notebook”, texts, etc, are the tools used to portray this game and it’s extremely chaotic, and effective.
Take note; I’ll be doing two full-length entries for Alone With You which just got distribution information and will come out early next year, and Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman. Stay tuned!