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.
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 / 5)
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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 5)
Barbarian: Constantly shifting focus and stakes make Barbarian an exciting ride. Even if by the end it feels rather lacking in impact. (3 / 5)
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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 5)
Evil Dead 2: 35 years later almost nothing tops Evil Dead 2’s sheer energy, enthusiasm, and imagination. (4.5 / 5)
And what were Celluloid Scream’s short highlights?
Historical: Facies (El Semblante) was a horrific look at the torture inflicted during witch trials.
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