If you’re familiar with the cult 1970 Brit thrillers And Soon the Darkness and Crescendo, then you’ll see echoes of those classics in debut director Abner Pastoll’s murder mystery Road Games.
The gorgeous French countryside (actually Maidstone, Kent) is the setting for this unsettling thriller where suspicion and road kill is the order of the day. British drifter Jack (Rebellion’s Andrew Simpson) is trying to get to Calais when he encounters another hitchhiker, the enigmatic Veronique (Josephine de la Baume), along a stretch of road where they learn a serial killer is on the loose.
Taken in for their own safety by the overly-friendly Grizard (The Returned’s Frederic Pierrot) and his somewhat nervous wife Mary (Barbara Crampton of Re-Animator fame), who live in a half-lived-in mansion, Veronique soon begins to suspects something amiss… And she’s right! For what follows is some splendid old dark house scares, some shocking twists – as every character become suspect – and some nail-biting The Hitcher-styled chills.
With a cracking cast – especially former screen queen Barbara Crampton, who is firmly re-establishing herself in the horror genre of late – and direction that would make Hitchcock proud, Road Games is a winner all the way. Oh, and the house used in the film was last seen on the big-screen in 1980’s The Mirror Crack’d with Elizabeth Taylor. Check it out here: http://stclere.co.uk/
• Out on DVD from Monday 29 August 2016 and on VOD and for download from Friday 26 August 2016 from Frightfest Presents
• Road Games will also be screening at Horror Channel FrightFest on Friday 26th August. Check it out here
Film4 FrightFest took over London’s Leicester Square over the August Bank Holiday weekend featuring five days of wall-to-wall terrifying thrills, gory chills and fun surprises. So, here are five hat I recommend you look out for…
1) Candyman director Bernard Rose gives Frankenstein heart, soul and an existential twist, with Twilight‘s Xavier Samuel bringing pathos and humanity to his rejected creature seeking out his ‘mother’ (Carrie-Ann Ross) and creator (Danny Huston) on the mean streets of LA. Genre favourite Tony Todd, meanwhile, steals the show as a blind hobo.
2) Maidstone in Kent masquerades as the French countryside in debut director Abnor Pastoll’s murder mystery Road Games, which echoes Robert Fuest’s 1970s thriller And Soon the Darkness and the cinema of Britsploitation maestro Pete Walker. TV’s The Returned actor Frederic Pierrot stars alongside Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), with Nick Nickleby actor Andrew Simpson as the mysterious hitchhiker trying to get to Calais. The house used in the film was last seen on the big-screen in 1980’s The Mirror Crack’d with Elizabeth Taylor.
3) James Wan (the bloke behind Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring) serves up another slick supernatural shocker with Demonic.
4) The Nightmare is a truly frightening documentary about sleep paralysis that’s guaranteed to freak you out, and comes from Rodney Ascher who shone a light on the hidden meanings embedded in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in Room 237.
5) Making his second feature, Dominic Brunt serves up the blistering, suspenseful and well-crafted British thriller Bait, about two friends (Victoria Smurfit and Joanne Mitchell) who find themselves targeted by a vicious loan shark (played by a slippery Jonathan Slinger). A smokey-voiced Rula Lenska pops up as Mitchell’s pushy mum.