FrightFest 2010: F review

High school's hell in slick Brit chiller

 

F is for Frightfest. Or it apparently seemed to be in the 4th film of Friday.

After the long awaited Adam and Joe Road To FrightFest opener (late doors for this due to technical difficulties we gather) riffing on The Blair Witch Project and talking about wanking off over Antichrist, the crowd was ready for something a little different.

Enter Brit director Johannes Roberts, clearly nervous as hell and not knowing quite what to say to the packed crowd.

After a suitably succinct intro he brought us F. Fab.

'Hoodie horror' gets it's most literal addition with this slick, economical chiller that makes excellent use of its school under siege setting.

David Schofield (An American Werewolf In London) is world worn English teacher Robert Anderson, robbed of his confidence and faith in the next generation after an assault by a pupil and a lack of support from the governing board.

Paranoid, fraught, morning-drunk, estranged from his wife and alienated from his daughter, when Anderson suspects kids of terrorising the corridors (again) no one believes him.

Not until hoodied free-running demon-teens have begun a reign of torture on staff stuck at work late, and the final straggling pupils - Anderson's daughter and her boyfriend.

Roberts describes his film as a remake of Assault On Precinct 13, a western of sorts, a siege movie. And despite a temptation to lump it in with state of the nation Brit flicks, he insists he didn't want to make another Eden Lake. Thank God, he didn't.

While there are nods towards fraught generational relationships - parents and teachers that won't listen, angry violent kids with no respect, F feels less political, and more visceral. Think Ils (Them) with filing cabinets.

Like Ils, F is short, fast and tense. As with much horror expect a few head-slap moments and a few questions unanswered but intense natural performances (Schofield in particular) and an inventive use of gyms, libraries, changing rooms and the school bogs make this fresh and lively stuff.

Perhaps we're shown a little too much too soon, perhaps the lack of a motivation for the shadowy shits jars, perhaps F isn't as sparkly brand new as all that, but for the FF crowd, F gets full marks.

Or a solid B- at least...

 

Did you catch F at FrightFest? What was your grade? Let us know!

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