Sunday marked the final day of this year’s Mayhem Film Festival in Nottingham. On offer were five frightful films, of which I saw three: the UK premiere of Japanese superhero flick Inuyashiki, folktale horror anthology The Field Guide to Evil, and delicate chiller The Witch in the Window. Unfortunately, Cross Country rail services dictated that I had to leave immediately after, so The Nightshifter and What Keeps You Alive were sorely missed.
If you’ve missed any of our coverage so far be sure to check out our roundups of Friday and Saturday.
Kicking off the final day was Inuyashiki. Based on the manga of the same name, it’s a bonkers superhero film about a middle-aged father who unknowingly becomes a cyborg after being hit by an alien explosion. I said the same thing about Nightshooters, but it’s baffling how the film-makers here have grounded such insanity. It’s playful but genuinely full of heart, whilst also being surprisingly violent. I loved it so much more than I expected. Thankfully, it never falls into the tropes of a superhero film, instead of playing it more like a straight drama; I’m as baffled as you when I say it succeeded completely.
The Field Guide to Evil (2018)
Following Inuyashiki was anthology feature The Field Guide to Evil. Spanning eight countries including India, Poland, and the USA, the film tells eight separate stories all revolving around folklore and fables. I have to confess that I’ve never enjoyed any of these anthology films before, and unfortunately the same has to be said here. It’s two hours long, and I only found 2/8 stories enjoyable, so most of the run time I spent just waiting for the next story to begin, praying that it’s more inviting than the last. Film fatigue should be taken into account, however. After two full days of film, it can be difficult to concentrate on something that requires it, especially with this mostly subtitled film when my eyes felt incredibly heavy. But if you enjoyed things like The ABCs of Death then this buffet of old, creepy stories should be up your street.
The Witch in the Window (2018)
The final film I got to see before leaving was Andy Mitton’s The Witch in the Window. A terrific end to my Mayhem journey with a good ol’ spooker. I found it to be a simple but very effective haunted house film dealing with guilt and longing. Engaging, likeable characters, a solid script and some wonderfully executed scares (without relying on the quiet… quiet… BANG!) really sell this one. Director Andy Mitton also writes, edits and composes the film, making it feel like one cohesive whole without compromise.
And there you have it! Mayhem Film Festival has come to an end but what an event it was. If you’ve never been to a Film Festival before, why not let Mayhem pop your cherry. It’s a quality event run by the friendliest people, hosted in one of the finest independent cinemas in the UK. The atmosphere is joyous, and once the audience really gets behind a film (which happened with Mandy, One Cut of the Dead and Nightshooters), it truly elevates the experience to something truly memorable.
So many fantastic films. I hope to be there next year for more Mayhem… But until then it’s Au revoir!
Be on the lookout throughout the week for full verdict reviews on the aforementioned films and remember to bookmark www.mayhemfilmfestival.com for the latest information about 2019’s event.