Screamfest 2017 – Four Feature Film Reviews

The horror wares of the yearly Screamfest Horror Film Festival 2017 (go to www.screamfestla.com for more details!) taking place right now October 10th-19th at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in LA at the Hollywood and Highland Center are still creeping cinema goers out as we speak.  (Thursday Oct. 19 is George A. Romero tribute night –  free screening y’all!)  So we’re keeping up with the hounds of hell with our own review coverage that checks out four features from this year’s cryptic crop.  Underground German lab experiments gone awry, extreme horror themed outings taken too far, two girls with an affinity for murder and iconic character origin stories make up the films dissected below!  Check out the review skinny on the Screamfest 2017 films Trench 11, Ruin Me, Tragedy Girls and Leatherface below.

“Trench 11” – A scary cinematic surprise, not only is Trench 11 a fantastic horror outing, but also contains some of the most credible acting and set design that all but captures the 1918 WWI setting. Meaning this sinister tale of a group that heads out to explore a hidden German underground lab and meet some unsavory sorts is one well executed terror tale, but with the addition of creative characters (Rossif Sutherland’s Canadian tunneller expert is a layered lead!), totally believable foils (the whole German team feels incredible authentic!) and utter realism in everything from costumes to props this one feels like a pitch perfect period piece with monster mayhem added – a movie match made in heaven.

“Ruin Me” – There’s a ‘real or not’ fear factor running throughout the extreme Slasher Sleepover haunt in Ruin Me that surprisingly and effectively serves as the terrific terror tension of the piece. Not knowing whether the thrills and kills happening around already unstable Marcienne Dwyer’s leading lady Alexandra are fake becomes the demonic device that Director Preston DeFrancis wields as his weapon of choice and the result is a ham-fisted but fun version of David Fincher’s The Game.  There are a few moments of B-movie cheddar (the other characters involved are a tad stereotypical!) and plot twists run wild abandon, but it’s the audience’s undeniable connection to a girl who would rather be anywhere else that keeps this one from being ruined.

“Tragedy Girls” – A serial killer infused version of Heathers, Tragedy Girls has one killer premise.  Two gals with an affinity for homicide decide to capture a real serial killer, learn from his dark deeds and continue work in his name – all while climbing the teen social media ladder.  It’s a story that has a ton of potential from both the dark aspects (Kevin Durand’s creepy killer steals the scenes he’s in!) and comedic ones (the murders via leads Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp are funny as hell!), but the clever Tragedy Girls never quite reaches five-star status and gets bogged down in way too many characters, side plots and familiar fright film tropes. A great idea that’s never truly realized – a tragedy.

“Leatherface” – With the effectively silent and mysterious flesh face covered creature from the mind of the late, great Tobe Hooper the question has to be asked – will creating a ‘how he came to be’ prequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre make the iconic Leatherface less scary?  Sadly the answer is yes, as this uninspired tale of how the mayhem minded monster of the saw started adds no additional exciting insight or angst to an already effective bad guy.  (And the various surprises and twists don’t help either!)  In fact the only saving grace of this one is the work by Stephen Dorff as a revenge-seeking sheriff determined to make the sadistic Sawyer family face some payback for his daughter’s death – glad someone got some satisfaction.

So if you’ve been waiting now’s the time to head over to the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in LA at the Hollywood and Highland Center and www.screamfest.com to check out the fun of this year’s fest before it’s finished…forever!  (Or at least until next year!)  



I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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