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1Friday Fright Fest

Welcome to the Friday Fright Fest, the only scary movie guide you will need for the next week. If you feel like you’ve watched too many comedy or action flicks lately and need a good scare, the following films will have you quivering like you never have done before. Phil Robinson provides a round-up of all the best horror films in the week ahead.

2Pick Of The Week

Curse of Chucky (2013)

Sky Movies Premiere: Friday 26th June, 11.45pm

The Child’s Play movies may have got a little lost in the deck shuffling of 80s horror icons; perhaps a possessed plastic doll just isn’t as scary as grown men in fancy dress called Jason or Freddy or Michael. Maybe it was the relaunch into the new millennium with a name change into the [insert anything you want here] Of Chucky flicks. Bride Of Chucky is a solid, goofy watch, with Seed Of Chucky being for franchise diehards only. But Charles Lee Ray has been far too quiet as of late and now it’s time for him to stalk again in an entry that finds the little ginger ninja slashing at full power.

Wheelchair bound Nica (played by Fiona Dourif, daughter of Chucky voice actor Brad Dourif) lives with her mother, who falls victim to a mysterious death after a Good Guy Doll (insert “hey, remember those from the 80s?” line here) is delivered to their home – no sender, no hope. As the family gather to rally around each other in their time of need – and to see who gets what in the will of course – the atmosphere and the tension builds as one by one the night belongs to Chucky and his toys.

Don Mancini has never strayed far from the director’s chair of his first love, but has always managed to keep the films fresh and relevant. This time he hits the nail on the head with perfection; stripped back to a haunting, less-is-more approach similar to the original, but with enough references to keep the fans chuckling. This one proves Chucky’s worth as a movie monster, and gives the franchise the kick up the backside it was looking for.

3Worth A Watch

Predators (2010)

E4: Saturday 20th June, 9.00pm

The Predator franchise had a pretty sweet thing going for a while, didn’t it? Two very solid originals, the notion of a third outing crashed to a halt thanks to the rather awful Alien Vs Predator franchise; how on earth did we end up with two of those things? But with a little bit of focus, love for the franchise and a ship steered by Robert Rodriguez Predators came back with a bang.

Adrien Brody awakes in the jungle (which jungle? Not important at this point.) As he gains his bearing, he stumbles across a cartel enforcer, a death row inmate, a member of the Yakuza… and this is only the start of things. A congregation of killers, but gathered for what purpose?

A hunt of course. And not just the solo hunts of its predecessors, this time we’re maxing out our Predator quota. This film does to the franchise what Aliens did for Alien: bigger, flashier and with a hell of a lot more guns.

There’s no real messing around here; a straightforward plot gets us and keeps us in the action, and appearances from the likes of Laurence Fishburne and Danny Trejo keep it an entertaining watch. Who knows what the future holds for the Predator flicks but enjoy this stalk by an apex hunter.

Repo Men (2010)

E4: Monday 22nd June, 11.05pm

Repayment schemes can be a pain in the neck, can’t they? What if your latest repayment scheme was for a new neck, and if it ends up past due then the repo men come to claim it back? That should get you reaching for the credit card in a hurry.

Jude Law and Forest Whitaker star in this dystopian future based black comedy as two such repo men. They’re good at what they do, but after an injury on a job, Remy (Law) finds himself in deep to The Union, the company behind revitalized life at a price. This leads him down the rabbit hole of corruption, dirty deeds and seeing first-hand the effect his handy work has had on people.

A cool idea (though it will leave fans of Repo! The Genetic Opera doing a double take) that is well paced and looks stylish, with top mark performances throughout, don’t give the repo men an excuse to come knocking at your door.

4For the Diehards

Resident Evil (2002)

Film4: Friday 26th June, 11.10pm

There was a time when video game adaptations seemed like the greatest idea in the world. They didn’t have the stigma now attached to them, mainly because the train wreck franchise of Resident Evil was still but a twinkle in the eye of director Paul W. S. Anderson. Travel back now, to a film far from perfect, but with the right blend of action, suspense, monsters and dark wit that you had hoped for from the much loved survival horror game name.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) awakes in her home, with no memory and a creepy atmosphere brewing outside. All of a sudden a crack team of military commandos come crashing through her windows and make a right mess of the place. From there they descend into The Hive, a top secret military research facility deep underground. A rogue computer program has killed everyone in the labs, or so the team think, until they unleash a horde of the undead and risk infecting the entire world with the deadly T-Virus.

Please leave your brain switched off throughout and you should have a fun time. The hammy acting and backtracking plot are forgiven once the zombies appear, the team is double and triple crossed and the body count starts piling up (at least wait to see the laser room, that’s all that needs said really). Far from perfect, admittedly, but not without charm.

The Bay (2012)

Film4: Sunday 21st June, 12.45am

It seems that every week for Friday Fright Fest a defensive case has to be made for found footage films. Yes we’ve seen a lot of bad ones, and it can sometimes seem that it’s just a quick easy way to rope together a sub-par story idea. But there’s a reason horror took to the format the way it did, and if we had more films like The Bay there would be no need for argument on the issue.

A peaceful American small town in the middle of their 4th of July celebration: what could go wrong? Well the townsfolk start falling ill after coming into contact with the water source, but it’s not the water that’s killing them… it’s the parasites within that are tearing them apart from the inside.

This may be a bit too much of a slow burn for some, but once the gruesome under-the-skin stuff starts splattering the screen you’ll be glad you stuck with it. You’ll be off the tap water the rest of the night, guaranteed.

5Avoid Like the Plague

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Film4: Thursday 25th June, 9pm

Oh dear, oh dear. How do we take so many good things, package them together with a somewhat questionable title and produce one of the worst films of 2012? Directed by the visual mastermind behind Russian-made Night Watch and Day Watch, starring Dominic Cooper (who must have had a few bills that needed paid) as the titular president, there’s next to nothing they got right here.

A story bogged down with clunky dialogue and clichés at every turn, flat performances and CGI so uncaring for the laws of physics that this one leaves you dozing from its inauguration.

Phil Robinson