The Galway Film Fleadh has, in recent years, showcased independent genre films such as Grabbers, The Canal, A Dark Song, The Survivalist and Bad Day for the Cut among others. In 2018, as Galway celebrates the 30th Film Fleadh, the festival has announced a new, dedicated late night strand of programming, as a platform for the strange, the scary, the fantastic and the funny, from across the spectrum of genre cinema.
Opening the What the Fleadh?! program on the first night of the festival is An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, the hilarious and surreal new comedy from Jim Hosking (The Greasy Strangler), starring Aubrey Plaza as Lulu Danger, dissatisfied wife of Shane Danger (Emile Hirsch), who is stunned when a TV commercial for “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn: For One Magical Night Only” reveals a mysterious man from her past. Plaza and Hirsch are joined by a hilarious ensemble including Craig Robinson (The Office), Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Concords) and Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace).
Creator and star of the cult TV show Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Matthew Holness will present his new horror film Possum at Galway, in which Sean Harris (’71, Prometheus) plays Philip, a children’s entertainer with a troubled past. Together with Possum, the hideous hand puppet he keeps concealed inside a black leather case, he returns to his childhood home compelled to confront his demons. Philip discovers that ridding himself of Possum is no easy task. When his attempts to destroy the demonic puppet fail, Philip suspects the real demon lurks much closer to home.
A demonic stalker also haunts the titular character in Luz, a sensory, fever dream of a film from debut feature director Tilman Singer, which premiered in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino section of the Berlinale earlier this year. On a rainy night, dazed and numb, Luz, a young cabdriver, drags herself into the brightly-lit entrance of a run-down police station, where she will showdown with a demonically possessed police psychiatrist, who knows Luz from her rebellious past at a Chilean school for girls.
In the action/comedy Dead in a Week Or Your Money Back, Aneurin Barnard plays William, a young man who hires ageing hitman Leslie (Tom Wilkinson), a one-man euthanasia clinic with a good heart, but a shaky hand. After browsing through Leslie’s brochure “Your Death…Your Way” William settles on “quick and painless.” With the contract signed, and the promise from Leslie of “no garrotting”, William waits for the inevitable. Director Tom Edmunds will attend.
Following in the footsteps of genre-invigorating horror films like A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Babadook and Raw – all directed by women – What the Fleadh?! features a number of films from debut women directors tackling familiar tropes in interesting ways. Among them, The Devil’s Doorway directed by Aislinn Clarke, is the first found-footage horror film in Ireland to be made by a woman. In it, Lalor Roddy plays a priest sent by the Vatican to investigate a miraculous event in an Irish home for “fallen women” in 1960. What he uncovers is something much more horrific.
The Ranger is a modern take on survivalist horror that both celebrates and subverts the usual tropes, with equal parts humour, glitter and gore. Set to the beat of a killer punk soundtrack and presented in eye-popping neon colours, director Jenn Wexler’s debut stars Chloe Levine and Jeremy Holme in a love letter to 80’s slasher flicks where teen punks, on the run from the cops and hiding out in the woods, come up against the local authority – an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind.
And in Swiss director Lisa Brühlmann’s fantastical body horror, Blue My Mind, 15-year-old Mia becomes estranged from her parents and plunges into a hedonistic teenage lifestyle. Her body is changing radically, and despite desperate attempts to halt the process, she is soon forced to accept that nature is far more powerful than her.
Director Michael Tully (Ping Pong Summer) returns to Galway with a new film that Indiewire describes as ‘Get Out with catholic guilt in the Irish countryside.’ In Don’t Leave Home, an American artist’s obsession with a disturbing urban legend leads her to an investigation of the story’s origins at the crumbling estate of a reclusive painter in Ireland.
Cult favourite Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure will play at the Film Fleadh, with the sci-fi comedy’s writer Ed Solomon in attendance. The screenwriter known for other fan-favourite franchises including Men in Black and Charlie’s Angels and the more recent Now You See Me films, is currently working on the long awaited third instalment in the Bill and Ted franchise: Bill and Ted Face the Music, set to shoot in February 2019.
The Film Fleadh will close with the Great Famine western Black ’47 from director Lance Daly. Hugo Weaving plays Hannah, an ageing British soldier sent to stop Feeney, a hardened Irish Ranger on a mission of revenge, after returning home to find his mother starved to death and his brother hanged by the brutal hand of the English. Hannah and Feeney are old comrades with a mutual respect forged by their time fighting together, but personal bonds and shifting allegiances cause both men to question their motives, as they are tested by the hellish landscape of “the Great Hunger”.
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