Frightfest 2020: Digital Edition 2 – SciFiNow

Listen up horror fans! Arrow Video’s horror festival, FrightFest, will be going virtual for the second time in 2020, having taken the decision to cancel its planned physical event due to continuing COVID restrictions. The forty-five feature film line-up will merge the in-cinema selection with brand new titles to provide an online festival experience this October.

As with the previous FrightFest, the programme will be split between The Arrow and Horror Channel Screens, with the addition of a third, the Zavvi Discovery Screen. There’s a lot to look forward to so here’s our super handy guide on just what you can expect…

Wednesday 21 October

Arrow Video Screen

18:30 HELD (World Premiere)

Troubled married couple Emma and Henry are on a vacation in a remote smart rental house. However, after trying to flee when suspecting a nighttime intruder, they become trapped in the house. Soon a Voice tells them their movements are being watched and the couple must work together to escape…

21:00 THE SINNERS (UK Premiere)

Seven A-list students from a religious town get a lot more than they bargain for when they dabble in the occult. Suddenly the fun games and sexy attic rituals cause one of them to end up dead. Who is killing them and how will they ever get their perfectly ‘innocent’ school lives back?

Thursday 22 October

Arrow Video Screen

18:00 SACRIFICE (World Premiere)

Horror queen Barbara Crampton returns to her UK homebase with this cosmic chiller. After the death of his mother, Isaac and his pregnant wife Emma return to the remote Norwegian village of his birth to deal with an unexpected inheritance. However, they soon find themselves caught in a waking nightmare… 

21:30 DEAD (UK Premiere)

The unlikely duo of Marbles (a hapless stoner who can see dead people thanks to a homemade drug) and Officer Tagg (recently deceased and on the trail of a serial killer) team up in Dead and must get over their prejudices to navigate their way through ghouls, perverts, and a mysterious hooded figure…

Horror Chanel Screen

18:15 STRANGER (UK Premiere)

Inspector Gluhovsky is assigned the case of the mysterious disappearance of a team of six synchronized swimmers. Five years later, she dives into an apparently similar case: the unexplained evaporation of a woman in a bath. How are these cases connected and how does a doll with real hair relate to it?

21:15 THE BANISHING (UK Premiere)

Reverend Linus, his scandal-ridden new wife Marianne and her daughter move into a manor with a terrifying secret. When a vengeful spirit haunts the little girl and threatens to tear the family apart, they are forced to confront their beliefs and turn to black magic by seeking the help of famous occultist Harry Price.

Zavvi Discovery Screen 

18:30 THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE (European Premiere)

This a loving, note-for-note recreation of 1962’s cult B-movie The Brain That Wouldn’t Die – the story of a doctor experimenting with transplant techniques to keep his dead girlfriend’s head alive. His hunt for a new body continues as this cheeky new version takes account of forward-thinking social issues.

21:00 DANGEROUS TO KNOW (World Premiere)

A troubled woman recovers from a suicide attempt in a secluded cabin, but when a series of unexplained and terrifying incidents occur, she realises someone-or something-has a far darker future planned for her…

A series of unexplained incidents occur in a secluded cabin in Dangerous To Know

Friday 23 October

Arrow Video Screen

13:00 DON’T LOOK BACK (European Premiere)

From Final Destination creator Jeffrey Reddick, Don’t Look Back follows Caitlin – a woman trying to overcome her traumatic past. When she sees a man being assaulted, she (and no-one else) intervenes to stop it. Soon the uncaring witnesses find themselves targeted by someone – or something – out for revenge…

15:30 THE PALE DOOR (UK Premiere)

The legendary Dalton Gang battles a coven of bloodthirsty witches in this hybrid Western horror. After a heist goes sideways, gang leader Duncan and his straight-arrow younger brother Jake find shelter in a seemingly uninhabited ghost town, where they stumble upon a brothel. However, the beautiful women who greet them are actually a coven of witches with very sinister plans for the unsuspecting outlaws.

18:15 THE OWNERS (UK Premiere)

Sylvester McCoy and Rita Tushingham take on Maisie Williams in this home invasion horror. One night, a retired couple finds their house besieged by young criminals. The thieves think it will be easy to make them give up the secret of their safe but they have no idea what nightmare they’ve gotten themselves into…

21:00 THE RECKONING (UK Premiere)

Set in England during the great plague, the desperate population has turned to superstition, and the Catholic Church has taken advantage of the witch-hunting opportunities presented. When recently-widowed Grace refuses to pay her debts with sexual favours, she faces horrific interrogations at the hands of a ruthless Witchfinder General. Find out more with our interview with director Neil Marshall here.

Horror Channel Screen 

13:15 THE RETURNED (UK Premiere)

It’s South America in 1919 and the indigenous people of the Guarani tribe has either been exterminated or reduced to servitude. When Julia, the wife of a wealthy landowner, gives birth to a dead child she begs Kerana, her indigenous housekeeper with powers, to bring him back to life – which she does, but not alone!

15:45 BREEDER (UK Premiere)

A renowned health supplement company is abducting women as part of an experiment bio-hacking babies’ DNA to reverse the aging process. When Mia investigates, she finds herself trapped, branded and tortured. Can she somehow find inner strength and escape from the nightmare?

18:45 BABYSITTER MUST DIE (World Premiere)

When a family’s home is invaded by a pack of brutal cultists, babysitter Josie Jan fights the cult – and her own fears – through a long night of terror and a world of shattering twists.

21:30 SPARE PARTS (UK Premiere)

An all-girl punk band is lured into a trap by a fan who sedates them, and starts… customising them. The four wake up with an axe, drill or chainsaw attached to one arm and are forced to fight gladiator-style. The women must now truly band together and use all of their talents if they’re going to get out alive.

 Zavvi Discovery Screen

13:30 WOMAN OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS (UK Premiere)

Photographer Kai is afraid of women but, as a Photoshop expert, that doesn’t keep him from shamelessly retouching their photos. When he encounters Kyoko on a forest trek, she asks him to erase a fresh scar in her social media photographs. Soon she grows hesitant to show her followers an increasingly manufactured version of herself and Kai is motivated to challenge his feminine perceptions.

 16:00 TAILGATE (UK Premiere)

Hans, his wife and daughter, are on a road trip when a traffic fight with a weird van driver causes a major family upset. Ed, the van driver, wants revenge and follows the family, making their journey an assault course death trap…

19:00 CONCRETE PLANS (World Premiere)

High in the remote Welsh mountains, five builders are bought together to renovate a sprawling old farmhouse. Tensions soon simmer amongst the men and between the self-entitled aristocratic homeowner. Blood is spilled and the blue-collar men are confronted with an increasingly dark spiral of moral choices…

21:15 BUTCHERS (UK Premiere)

After their car breaks down, four youths find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. Little do they know they are being watched and they soon fall captive to a family of sadistic butchers, keeping their ‘fresh meat’ tied up in their wooden outhouse. Will they escape before it’s their turn on the chopping block?

Will fresh meat be on the menu in Butchers?

Saturday 24 October

Arrow Video Screen

14:00 FOR THE SAKE OF VICIOUS (UK Premiere)

It’s Halloween night and nurse Romina just wants to relax. Suddenly all hell breaks loose when desperate Chris breaks in demanding justice for a wrongdoing from the past. The intruder is owed a debt of blood and wants a mystery confession from his hostage. Then, a band of mercenaries invade the house causing even more mayhem. New alliances will be tested as the occupants struggle to survive a night marked by death.

 16:15 BLOOD HARVEST (UK Premiere)

Young Audrey Earnshaw and her mother live covertly as occultists on the outskirts of a remote Protestant village. After hiding Audrey’s existence from the superstitious community due to her secret birth, Agatha is mortified when someone catches sight of her offspring. Reeling from a series of inexplicable tragedies, the whispers begin, suspicions grow and hysteria mounts. But Audrey’s powers are increasing…

 19:00 BROIL (World Premiere)

Chance Sinclair is sentenced to live with her draconian grandfather, August, after a violent incident at school. Locked inside the sprawling estate, Chance begins to question the source of her family’s immense wealth. When her mother tries poison August, the family’s secrets are revealed over one bloody night.

 21:30 RELIC (Preview)

When elderly Edna (Robyn Nevin), inexplicably vanishes, her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) rush to the family’s decaying home, finding clues of Edna’s dementia scattered around it. When Edna returns, she seems unwilling or unable to say where she’s been. As Edna’s behaviour turns volatile, Kay and Sam sense that an insidious presence might be taking control of her.

Horror Channel Screen

11:45 THE WORLD WE KNEW (World Premiere)

After a job goes bad, six armed robbers must spend a single night at a deserted safe house. But during the stay their pasts come back to haunt them and the men find themselves fighting for their lives and their sanity.

First Blood Strand

14:15 ALIEN ON STAGE (World Premiere)

You read about it in the news. Now live the story of the Dorset Bus Drivers whose amateur dramatics group created a serious stage adaptation of the sci-fi horror classic Alien. Despite finding ingenious solutions to pay homage, the show was a flop. But fate has them whisked away to a London theatre to perform their accidental comedy masterpiece for one night only. Will their West End debut be all right on the night?

16:30 BENNY LOVES YOU (UK Premiere)

After the death of his parents, Jack must sell his family home. Cleaning out the house, Jack trashes his family belongings including his beloved childhood stuffed animal, Benny. It’s a move that turns lethal as Benny springs to life with one goal in mind, protect Jack at all cost, even if the price is death…

19:15 REDWOOD MASSACRE: ANNIHILATION (World Premiere)

Twenty years ago at the Redwood Farm, the owner went mad and killed his family and himself. Shrouded in urban legend ever since, a stranger obsessed with the unsolved Redwood murders convinces a group of bereaved family members to venture into the wilderness to try and prove the existence of the notorious burlap bag-masked maniac…

21:45 HOSTS (World Premiere)

When a family invites their neighbours over to celebrate Christmas Eve, they do not realise that their dinner guests have just become hosts to a malicious entity hellbent on taking over the world. And soon the family find themselves fighting for their lives in a night of unimaginable terror.

A Christmas Eve gathering turns sinister in Hosts.

Zavvi Discovery Screen

12:00 HECKLE (World Premiere)

Stand-up comedian Joe Johnson decides to share a Halloween weekend away with a group of friends. They decide on the theme of a 1980s retro party, and jokingly hope they’ll attract their own psycho killer. The joke is suddenly on them though, as in turn they reach their grisly demise at the hands of The Heckler…

14:30 CYST (World Premiere)

A small-town doctor in the 1960s invents a machine that uses laser technology to remove skin abnormalities. However, when the apparatus malfunctions, it creates a giant cyst monster that goes on a bloody rampage.

16:45 DUNE DRIFTER (World Premiere)

There’s an ongoing battle for humanity when a group of rookie space fighter pilots face an armada of unbeatable enemy ships. When a trainee pilot and her mortally wounded gunner are shot down, they crash land on a nearby planet. An enemy craft offers the chance of spare parts to fix her ship, but then she spots another survivor – an enemy alien soldier with no intention of letting her escape.

19:30 EMBRYO (World Premiere)

Kevin and his girlfriend Evelyn are camping when she is abducted and impregnated by otherworldly beings. As the entity inside her begins to grow at a rapid rate, Evelyn’s cravings can only be satiated by the taste of human flesh. Will they find help to remove the embryo that’s slowly taking over Evelyn’s body?

22:00 LET’S SCARE JULIE (European Premiere)

Emma plans to scare the mysteriously reclusive girl who lives across the street. All they know is she is alone and the house is rumoured to be haunted. But what starts off as a simple plan becomes a nightmare in a surprising horror, cleverly filmed in one uninterrupted continuous take.

Sunday 25 October

Arrow Video Screen 

11:30 SCAVENGER (UK Premiere)

In a post-apocalyptic future, the broken-down social landscape has been devastated by disease and economic crisis. Tisha is an organ trafficker but the money she raises is for a steely purpose – to find the whereabouts of the brutal cartel that murdered her family and wreak an explosive viscera-packed revenge.

14:15 THE DARK AND THE WICKED (UK Premiere)

From Bryan Bertino (The Strangers) comes this harrowing interpretation of bereavement and faith. Louise and Michael have put their lives on hold to be with their dying father. But the secluded family house always has held disturbing memories for them and now the evil they suspected lurked in the shadows becomes a nightmare.

17:00 HONEYDEW (UK Premiere)

Looking for help after their car breaks down, Sam and Riley ring the doorbell of an isolated house owned by Karen, a peculiar older woman. Waiting for someone to arrive to fix their ride, Karen offers them something to eat. And that’s when the couple’s night shifts from exasperating to a whole new screaming nightmare…

20:00 SKYLIN3S (World Premiere)

In the third entry in the sci-fi action Skyline franchise, Captain Rose Corley is the only person powerful enough to vanquish the alien marauders due to her extraterrestrial superpowers. When a virus threatens to turn Earth-dwelling friendly alien hybrids against humans, Corley assembles an elite team of mercenaries on a mission to the alien world to save humanity.

Horror Channel Screen 

11:45 THE STYLIST (UK Premiere)

Claire’s job as a hairstylist allows her to move through other people’s worlds, but when the right target sits in her chair, she does more than observe their life – she ends it, and keeps a permanent souvenir. Her lonely life, meticulous method and secrets are suddenly thrown into turmoil when her regular client, Olivia, asks her to style her hair for her wedding.

14:30 SLAXX (UK Premiere)

At Canadian Cotton Clothiers the staff is preparing for the arrival of Super Shaper jeans – a new range of supposedly organic, GMO-free, fair-trade, ethically sourced tops and bottoms of thermally activated denim that adapts to any body size. But one pair has been soaked in sweatshop blood and wants revenge on the hipster customers…

17:15 CAVEAT (UK Premiere)

Isaac accepts a strange job from Barrett – to look after his niece Olga, a psychologically troubled woman living in an abandoned house on an isolated island. When Barrett convinces Isaac to confine his movements to the house with a harness contraption and leaves the two of them alone, a game of cat and mouse ensues…

FrightFest 2020 Caveat
There’s a dark game of cat and mouse in Caveat

Zavvi Discovery Screen

12:00 FUNERAL HOME (UK Premiere)

Bernardo runs his mortuary business in the same house where he resides. Up front are his clients. In the back, his dysfunctional family lives among coffins and mischievous supernatural entities. They attribute these paranormal manifestations to the dead bodies. But finding the real source of all this becomes their quest, even if they find terrifying truths as well.

14:45 ORIGIN UNKNOWN (UK Premiere)

When a former drug-runner tries to buy his way out of the Cartels, he brings his family into a safe house surrounded by armed guards. However, after a little girl breaches the perimeter, a group of assailants with near-mystical powers come after her…

17:30 LUCKY (UK Premiere)

Luck isn’t with May Ryer. Her books aren’t selling and when an intruder breaks into the house no one seems concerned. Things get worse when the attacker starts terrorising her with an almost supernatural ability. Directed by Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl) and written and starring Brea Grant (12 Hour Shift).

19:30 THE NIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS (World Premiere)

When a series of murders in the Yuletide season are found to be linked, FBI Special Agent Natalie Parker is tasked with tracking a pair of psychotic serial killers. But she soon discovers the couple are not only crazy, but have based their personas on Santa and Mrs Claus. As Christmas approaches, they slaughter their way through their special naughty list…

FrightFest 2020 will be running from Wednesday 21 Oct until Sunday 25 October. For full programme details head on over to the FrightFest website. Note that all films, including the two Short Film Showcases, will be streamed as live (and only once) and can only be viewed in the UK.

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