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Celluloid Screams 2022: Screaming For More

Celluloid Screams 2022

Another Celluloid Screams has finished and as tradition dictates it’s time for me to share my thoughts on this year’s festival with you.

This year we saw film worker Q&As and introductions, and stalls from Arrow Video, Last Shirt on the Left, HotFoodSheffield, and more. Surprisingly we also got to enjoy an event menu in the Showroom Cafe Bar, as well as a Celluloid Screams branded beer, Jim’ll Paint It’s excellent artwork was displayed throughout the cinema and the festival even hosted a live event experience. Giving this year’s festival some nice variety.

But now it’s time to review and rank every movie I saw at Celluloid Screams 2022, from worst to best in 25 words or less. Additionally, like last year, I will give you some short film recommendations at the end.

Reviews

Wolf Manor: Some minor laughs from ridiculing on-set power dynamics don’t prevent the bland performances and poor staging from tearing this werewolf movie apart. 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Wolf Manor was definitely the festival's low point // Credit: Josh Greally
Wolf Manor was definitely the festival’s low point // Credit: Josh Greally

Matriarchy: This year’s audience award winner is destined to become a so-bad-it’s-good classic. With its hammy acting, gloriously ridiculous writing, and surprisingly great effects. 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Megalomaniac: Realistic handling of abusive power dynamics and Eline Schumacher’s resonant performance, unfortunately, give way to something more conventional that provides little beyond shock value. 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Evil Eye: Ofelia Medina is the reason to see this movie. Her passion and energy are amazing. Shamefully nothing else in the movie matches her. 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

The Elderly: Zorion Eguileor and Paula Gallego’s performances, the suspense, and high-scale finale are laudable. Unfortunately, that goodwill fades thanks to baffling decisions making many characters unlikeable. 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

V/H/S/99: Parts of this movie are boring, leery, and poorly structured. But three-fifths is inventive, ambitious, and well-done storytelling. Just skip stories 1 and 4. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

The Leech: Sometimes The Leech cheaply paints homeless characters as “parasitic”. Overall though it’s a great satire of how destructive extremist Christian views are. Perfect Christmas viewing. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

The Passenger: Paula Gallego’s second great performance this year. Definitely a future star. Despite an unlikable lead and overly familiar setup, it’s a fun b-movie throwback. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Barbarian: Constantly shifting focus and stakes make Barbarian an exciting ride. Even if by the end it feels rather lacking in impact. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Celluloid Screams screens Barbarian as 2022s secret film // Credit: Josh Greally
Celluloid Screams screens Barbarian as their secret film // Credit: Josh Greally

Holy Sh*t: This portaloo thriller initially feels stagey and narratively frustrating. But an over-the-top second half and Gedeon Burkhard’s deliciously evil performance help salvage it. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Something in the Dirt: Although Benson and Moorhead’s films (Synchronic aside) never fully satisfy me, it’s good seeing filmmakers exploring complex ideas and creating rich characters over spectacle. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Bubba Ho-Tep: Some of Bubba Ho-Tep’s writing and editing are juvenile 2000s relics. Conversely, Ossie Davis’ charm and Bruce Campbell’s comedic timing carry it over those hurdles. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Ghostwatch (Live Experience): It’ll never recapture its broadcast’s shock factor. That said the live experience added lots of atmosphere and Ghostwatch remains a well-photographed, piece of TV history. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Watcher: Maika Monroe can do no wrong. The forced final coda and the movie’s slow pace don’t keep it from being an effective gaslighting thriller. 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

The Harbinger: A dark lament for those we lost (and now seemingly have forgotten) during the Pandemic. With one of the year’s most frightening villains. 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Huesera: The excellent cast and effective direction anchor this creepy story about societal expectations’ impact on motherhood. My favourite new release from the festival. 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Evil Dead 2: 35 years later almost nothing tops Evil Dead 2’s sheer energy, enthusiasm, and imagination. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Evil Dead 2 remains one of the best horror comedies of all time // Credit: Josh Greally
Evil Dead 2 remains one of the best horror comedies of all time // Credit: Josh Greally

Shorts

And what were Celluloid Scream’s short highlights?

Comedy: The pooch slasher Good Boy, werewolf howler The Wilds and the sweet personal favourite Unicorn all provided some much-needed laughs.

Drama: The bitterly depressing Everybody Goes to the Hospital and the gothic Memento Mori animation effectively made us empathise with our fellow human beings.

Historical: Facies (El Semblante) was a horrific look at the torture inflicted during witch trials.

Conclusion

2022 was another great year for Sheffield’s perennial horror festival. Even if the features didn’t hit the highs of last year the new experiences, great shorts, atmosphere and standout moments left me hungry for more. 2023 can’t come soon enough.

Also Read: Screaming Again: Celluloid Screams 2021

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Posted by
Josh Greally

Writer and filmmaker from Chesterfield. I have a masters in directing film and television and have written film reviews for several smaller sites in the past. Films are my life, but I also enjoy writing, reading, listening to music and debating.