Friday 20 October 2023

Mayhem Festival Reviews - Day 1 - Thursday 12th Oct

As always, Mid-October means it's time for my annual pilgrimage to the Mayhem Film Festival at the Broadway Cinema, Nottingham for four days. For an eclectic mix of horror, sci-fi and cult movies, not to mention the downright bizzare.


The festival kicked off with the dark thriller RAGING GRACE from Director Paris Zarcilla. Set in London, the plot revolves around a young Filipino woman, Joy (Max Eigenman) who is working in the UK illegally, doing menial jobs to make ends meet, to support her and her daughter, Grace.

Unable to afford a place of her own, she's resorted to illicitly staying at various clients homes whilst they're away, just so they have a roof over their heads. So when she is offered a job as a live-in carer for a terminally ill man, which is being paid cash, it seems too good to be true. 

But it seems the elderly gentleman may not be as ill as he appears and she realises there is something very strange about the drugs his niece is feeding him.

Also, it seems the truth of the situation is far from straightforward, and Grace's attempts to uncover what's really going on are about to unearth a bunch of skeletons these two have in their respective cupboards (both figuratively and literally).

A very dark thriller, with numerous twists, in which what is right and wrong become very muddled. The story was a bit of a slow burn, but never the less an extremely compelling one, combining elements of horror, thriller and drama, whilst also looking at the relationship between peoples views of immigrant workers and the views the more affluent members of society have towards the working classes.

This was the Directors feature film debut, having previously cut his teeth on various short films and the TV mini-series “The Century Egg”, which he made for Singapore TV and I must say was extremely impressed. The film has been extremely well received on the festival circuit, and Mayhem was no exception. Whilst it may not appeal to mainstream horror fans, if you love dark drama/thrillers, then this ones a must.

Apparently, the Director is working on a couple more dark thrillers dealing with social issues, so I shall look forward to those.

You can find out more about this film and the Director's other projects at his official website:


TOPAKK [Triggered] (2023)

Second film of the evening stuck with the Filipino theme, with Director Richard Somes TOPAKK (AKA “Triggered” to use it's Anglicised title). Set on the outskirts of Manilla, a former special forces soldier, who is struggling with PTSD and trying desperately to rebuild his life, takes a job as a night time security guard at a disused warehouse.

But the quiet of his first night on the job is shattered, when a teenage girl and her younger brother come looking for help. Seems they were involved with some shady drugs gang, who were just massacred by a bunch of corrupt narcotics officers and now they're after them too.

Initially he's reluctant to help, but when the corrupt cops arrive looking to silence them, he's forced to intervene, kicking off a bloody battle to the death as more and more corrupt officers arrive and the guard is forced to go full “Rambo” on them.

Exceptionally gritty and violent, I really loved this film, which doesn't skimp on the gore. Richard Somes is apparently a prolific Director of film and TV in his native Philippines and clearly knows his craft. I would say that the ending perhaps dragged on a little too long, but aside from that, I really loved it.

If you love violent action films, particularly those from John Woo films, you should love this.

View the Trailer on YouTube.

And that concluded the opening night of Mayhem, for more information on the festival and other special events throughout the year, visit:

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