Day Of The Dead | Leeds International Film Festival 2019

5 films (I only saw 4 though) back to back in one day.

Once again thank you to Festival partner Enjoy Digital for the free tickets https://www.enjoy-digital.co.uk/

Every year at Leeds International Film Festival there’s one day dedicated to horror films called Day Of The Dead. 5 films back to back in Leeds Town Hall which are a must for dedicated film goers.

Having not being able to make the first one of the five, the other four were fair game and here is my reviewa of them all.

Darlin’ – ★★★★✩

I went into this not knowing anything about it but then quickly realising that I had seen the first of the series of films of which this was the third. “The Woman” was a gritty low budget horror gorefest about a family who imprisoned a weird clan member from a tribe that had been savaging people all across the area. She eventually escaped and killed the family.

In Darlin’ we find the Woman (Pollyanna Mackintosh who also writes and directs this film) drop off a teenage girl (Lauryn Canny) at a hospital. The girl is dirty and refuses to, or cannot speak. After caring for the feral girl for a while, a male nurse (Cooper Andrews) becomes attached to her before a local Orphanage run by a Bishop (Bryan Batt) and a group of nuns.

At first, the girl struggles to fit in with the other girls but before long she starts to learn to talk and to read, all alongside a seedy subplot around the Bishop and his extra curricular activities.

At the same time, The Woman falls in with a group of radicalised women in a completely non-sensical side story.

The film is really good though. Its a coming-of-age drama based around a feral girl who is essentially being tamed.

However, the ending completely lets the whole film down. The final act happens too quick, and falls into the ridiculous in a very short space of time. Almost everything that comes before those final scenes were worked so well, it was as though they rushed an ending just to have some sort of final hurrah!

Come To Daddy – ★★★✩✩

The weakest of the four films today was Come to Daddy.

Elijah Wood plays Norval Greenwood, an ex alcoholic who comes to a remote cabin by the beach following a letter from his father he hasn’t seen since he was 5.

Once there, its clear the relationship with his dad is going to be a strange one and after a very slow start, the entire thing takes an enormous leap into the crazy after about 40 minutes. And what a leap it is! It shifts from what could have been an excellent story about a man battling his internal demons to being about a story of kidnap and brutal killings and torture.

This jump unsettled the film somewhat, and even thiugh Elijah Wood is spot on in the main role, it feels like the writing let’s it down on a huge scale.

Extra Ordinary – ★★★★★

And now for film number 3 and my favourite of the entire day.

Extra Ordinary is comedy horror at its absolute finest. It genuinely doesn’t get any better than this. Set in Ireland, Rose (Maeve Higgins) is a driving instructor, but with a past history of helping out her Dad’s paranormal investigations, and having the ability to communicate with the Dead, she is called upon by Martin Martin (Barry Ward) whose daughter has become the victim of a satanist (Will Forte) who is trying to satiate a demon in order to get another big musical hit…. Don’t worry it makes sense when you watch the film.

Martin’s dead wife Bonnie keeps interfering in his life too from beyond the grave in hilarious ways which I won’t spoil. Just know that this film is laugh out loud funny.

Will Forte is on fine form as always, but it’s the Rose and Martin characters who really carry the film and the comedy within it.

It’s like Shaun of the Dead crossed with Ghostbusters. It works on every level. The whole cinema was laughing throughout and I expect it won’t be the last time I see this!

Make a point of seeing this film!

Little Monsters – ★★★★✩

And the final film of the day was Lupita Nyong’o in Little Monsters.

Alexander England is Dave, a poor musician who has been dumped hy his girlfriend and in the midst of trying to chat up his nephews teacher, inadvertandly invites himself onto the school trip as a chaperone. Naturally the petting zoo the kids are visiting is situated right next door to a government facility in which a zombie outbreak occurs (slow zombies, not fast ones before you ask) and the outbreak takes over the petting farm, trapping all the kids and teachers inside.

Trapped along with them is Josh Gad’s Teddy McGiggle, a children’s TV personality who all the kids love, who quickly turns out to not be very likeable at all. In fact, in the context of the film he was the single biggest disappointment for me. His character is too over the top and goes a little bit too far. There’s only so much swearing at kids you can take before it becomes a little tedious.

The film works well without him though. The dynamic of the hapless musician trying to do good against the teacher who is just trying to protect her kids is brilliant. Theres plenty of gore in there for the horror aficionados and plenty of laughs for those wanting something lighter.

On its own, this is a great film but following on from Extra Ordinary, I found it just missed the mark.

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