Although the original schedule for FrightFest had featured the UK premiere of the A Serbian Film it seemed that controversy had caught up with the picture and lead to a shocking decision by Westminster council and the British Board of Film Classification that prevented the movie being shown. As Alan Jones explained to the confused crowd although the festival can show movies that have not passed through the BBFC first, Westminster council can request they submit films for classification if they feel the need to query something selected for the festival.
Probably due to the large amount of shocking publicity and notoriety A Serbian Film has already gained this was one such case and resulted in the BBFC wanting 49 cuts to the movie meaning it would lose a total of 3 minutes and 48 seconds and even then must be resubmitted and face the possibility of being rejected again by the board.
It is shocking to think that in an age where the internet has invaded every home with a billion mind blowing images and videos online bringing with them every type of experience imaginable from the good to the bad to the very very ugly at the click of a mouse, a horror film festival with an audience of paying, consenting, appropriately aged adults is banned from watching a movie already played uncut throughout Europe.
Due to time constraints and more importantly the fact that the organisers did not want to show the audience a heavily cut version of the film they decided to pull A Serbian Film completely and instead put on a surprise film in its place.
Like Cronenberg’s Crash before it it seems the outraged moral crusaders of Westminster council who panic and protect us from filth and depravity have succeeded in stopping us making our own minds up about the movie and we should all expect further controversy and media scaremongering when the film attempts to get a full release sometime later this year.
Luckily the replacement movie was a film I had been looking forward to ever since I had seen it’s stunningly stark and simple trailer a few weeks back, Buried. The brutally basic premise of Buried is what makes it so frightening and so cinematically adventurous; a man wakes up to find he is buried alive in a coffin under the desert sands and fast running out of time and oxygen.
Ryan Reynolds is charismatically captivating as the U.S contractor working in Iraq who finds himself in the nightmarish situation and with the full focus of the film on him he more than succeeds in taking the audience through horrendous physically and emotional torture making the movie all the more harrowing and all the more real.
Mainly running in real time and only using real lighting Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés uses the confines of the coffin and the cinematic screen to optimal effect creating one of the most claustrophobic films ever committed to celluloid whilst remaining creative and artistic in the use of more abstract and imaginative shots.
An amazing piece of filmmaking with a virtuoso performance the stunning script full of twists and turns has a strong political edge but is most importantly packed with pathos and well written character development crafting a horror thriller which keeps you as entrapped as Reynolds character from start to finish.
After such an amazing film I had only moments to recover before the final movie of the day The Loved Ones another Australian horror billed as ”Pretty in Pink meets Misery.” Packed with teenage terror and dark humour you will have to wait to read the full LoveHorror review which will be on the site soon.
Sunday was done and there was only one day left of FrightFest. I had no idea what horror’s Bank Holiday Monday would bring but I was ready and willing to experience them all unless Westminster council and the BBFC was going to stop me of course.
Serbian Film Trailer:
The Loved Ones Trailer: