Celluloid Diaries: Best movies of BIFFF 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Best movies of BIFFF 2015

As you already know from this post, I hosted several Q&A sessions with filmmakers at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival BIFFF. In between those interviews, I had the chance to see 22 films. Here are the ten best ones...

goodnight mommy

Goodnight Mommy 

Two children don't recognize their mother when she comes home after plastic surgery. They torture her to get her to confess that she's not their real mother. However, the children, too, have a dark secret. 

Goodnight Mommy was the best film I saw at BIFFF 2015. I didn't think much of the "twist" at the end, though. Luckily, I figured it out after five minutes so I could focus on all the brilliant things the film had to offer: an intense atmosphere, classy and inspired images, and an overall hypnotic plot. 



The BIFFF catalogue described Spring as a mix between Richard Linklater and H.P. Lovecraft. It doesn't sound like a good match, but it works perfectly. The story is about a young man who meets the girl of his dreams while vacationing in Italy. We follow them from date to date as they dine by candlelight at beachfront restaurants, visit museums, and go on road trips together. However, the girl suffers from a strange 'physical condition', one that will test the genuineness of their bond. A feel good horror film with dreamy Italian locations. 

late phases

Late Phases 

This cool werewolf movie takes its cue from Silver Bullet (Daniel Attias, 1985). While it's not a horror film that will change the genre in terms of originality, it doesn't do anything wrong either. Late Phases is a very efficient classic monster movie with well-developed characters, thematic depth, a fast pace, an entertaining storyline, and a bunch of cool werewolves. 



A self-help guru tries to assist a cult victim while he is the one who needs help. Does free will really exist? Do we all have to possibility to transform? Faults is a perfect example of characterization and mood setting. Simple, but engrossing. 

lost soul the doomed journey of richard stanley's island of dr moreau

Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau 

Directed by Steven Gregory, this documentary focuses on the nightmare that became Richard Stanley's The Island of Dr. Moreau. Stanley had spent several years adapting the book and visualizing the film, but soon after the shooting started, he was replaced by John Frankenheimer. From then on, Lost Soul turns from a tragic story into a farce. Whereas Val Kilmer tarnished the atmosphere on set with his pretentiousness, Marlon Brando made it his mission to sabotage the project by making the most ludicrous demands. And Frankheimer? He just wanted to finish the damn job, so he agreed with all this silliness. The result is one of the worst movies in history. 

a hard day

A Hard Day 

Are you having a hard day? Think again. It's probably not half as bad as that of detective Go Geon-soo. In less than 24 hours, he receives a divorce notice, his mother dies, his co-workers are accused of embezzlement, he commits a fatal hit and run, he hides his victim's corpse in his mother's coffin, and he gets a call from a mysterious man who claims to have witnessed the crime. A Hard Day is a hilarious and well-made Korean thriller. 

the forgotten

The Forgotten 

Do you want to make a movie, but is money an issue? Maybe you should get married and ask for money instead of wedding presents. It's exactly how Oliver Frampton funded his first movie, The Forgotten. He tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who is forced to squat with his father in an empty London council estate. When he hears strange noises coming from the abandoned flat next door, he decides to enter to find out what's going on. Smart, stylish, and creepy. 



This giant-wasps-attacking-a-garden-party-movie reminded me a lot of Ticks (Tony Randel, 1993) and Rabid Grannies (Emmanuel Kervyn, 1988), but never equaled their entertainment value. Nevertheless, Stung was a fun horror flick, mainly because the wasps were giant from the start and well made. I also loved the idea that they hatched inside people and then split them open before emerging. 

from the dark

From The Dark 

A young couple embarks on a road trip through the Irish countryside. They stumble upon a monster that attacks only when it's dark. Conor McMahon from Stitches won't change the genre with From the Dark. Therefore, the plot is too basic, but McMahon knows how to entertain and keep the audience's attention. 

the cobbler

The Cobbler 

The idea for The Cobbler is original: whenever cobbler Max Simpkin (Adam Sandler) puts on his clients' shoes, he takes over their identity and appearance. It's silly at times and The Cobbler definitely stretches your boundaries of disbelief, but there were scenes where I couldn't stop laughing.

Seen at BIFFF, but didn't make the top ten

Burying the Ex, Haemoo, III, No Tears For The Dead, Blood Moon, Greatful Dead, German Angst, Hollow, The Great Hypnotist, The House at the End of Time, Viy, and Big Game


  1. I'll have to look for Late Phases.
    Brando sabotaged the film? It was doomed from the start.

  2. What a fun assortment of movies. Some of those pictures made me blink and one made me shudder. lol

  3. New follower here. Nice to meet you, Vanessa!

  4. What great movies. Spring sounds odd, but your description intrigued me the most. I do wonder what the young woman's secret is and my mind is going to all those weird Lovecraft possibilities!

  5. These films look interesting. Like Christine, I'm also intrigued by Spring.

  6. Adam Sandler actually made a movie that made someone laugh? I never thought I'd see the day...

    I hate wasps, and those wasps DO look really well done, so I think I'll pass on Stung just for the sake of my own sanity.

  7. I tend to agree with the Beer guys. I don't like Adam Sandler. Moreso, I can't watch movies that freak me out. Since you liked the Cobbler, and it sounds like an interesting premise, that'd be the one I'd pick to see in this group.
    Have a great week, Vanessa.

  8. You are so lucky to get to 'see' these new films... Two of them (Faults and The Cobbler) sound really good. I'm not into werewolves, or scary stuff... I love character driven shows with very very interesting characters and how they relate to each other...

    Thanks for you comment on my blog post. IF you have time and want to read how we met, you can go to my Sidebar, scroll down to Labels --and then down to My Story. There are two posts. Read the 2nd one first....


  9. An eclectic mix. A Hard Day sounds like a fun farce, and even I've heard of the debacle of the Island of Dr Moreau, so that sounds fascinating.

  10. Hi Vanessa - thanks for your recent comment ... I need to come back and read your film postings: i've just realised you'll be so helpful .. as I'm now on the Film Society Committee here - and perhaps I can add something by absorbing your info. Thankfully we have an expert on hand from the BFI ... who sits on the Board ... so our selected films are great ...but the more background I can garner - the better, as far as this bod is concerned!!

    Cheers Hilary

  11. I have not heard about Kilmer or Brando in years.
    Thanks for the updates, Vanessa.
    Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

  12. Some sound great to see like the Korean film and the Sandler one also. I actually saw The Island of Dr. Moreau in the theatre. I thought Brando must have been on drugs

  13. wow, you really managed to stock up on some movies, sounds pretty good to me.

  14. Oh I'm loving some of those horrors, and I do love a little Sandler even in the not-so-great movies. :)


  15. I so want to watch The Cobbler. I think it's brilliant. :)

  16. Most of these are too dark for my taste but it was fun to see someone has brought back the giant mutant insects that were almost a staple of horror films in the 50's. Although the "hatch inside the human and split them open to be born" sounds too much like Alien(s).

  17. Voor de filmliefhebbers, een must!

  18. lots of horrific movies - my favorite is the Korean thriller with humor sprinkled in. You lead such an eventful life! I hope I can come to a film festival and meet you one day - must be amazing to see so many new, original films.

  19. Thanks for all of these fabulous reviews! It must have been so exciting attending the BIFFF! Your first two choices sound like the best movies to me, though Goodnight Mommy sounds like it might be a Clockwork Orange for mommies.


  20. Wow! Definitely interesting lol!!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  21. I'm going to be busy! These movies look good!!!

  22. There's nothing more fun than a great film festival. Sounds like you enjoyed this one!

  23. I'd love to see all of these. Great summaries for all. :)

  24. I'd LOVE to see all these movies! From your descriptions they sound both scary and intelligent - a rare combination. Thanks so much for giving us the straight info about the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Have a great weekend! :)

  25. I love the really neat movie run downs. So clear and straight to the point.

  26. Some great sounding films there. I love the guy who used his wedding to raise money - enterprising :-)

  27. What an interesting collection of films. I would go to a number of them, but not "Stung." that would scare me too much! I would really like "A Hard Day." Your Traveling Cat blog looks like fun. I'll have to check it out! Have a good one!

  28. SPRING is one of my favorite films so far this year. Really loved it. Also truly enjoyed LATE PHASES. Of the ones you mentioned that I have not seen, I am intrigued by THE FORGOTTEN, STUNG, and FROM THE DARK. Can't wait to see them.

  29. Don't think I could think of anything worse than giant wasps, I am terrified of them, LOL.
    Lynne x

  30. Hi Vanessa - thanks for these ... I must start paying more attention to films - so your reviews will be really good to have as a reference ... I know nothing about film, but want to pick up some interesting information etc .. and know what's going on ...

    I see you haven't got a film link - any chance of putting one up???!! I'd like to visit one or two if they come to Eastbourne ... and thanks for visiting the blog during the A-Z I've been remiss at getting back to some bloggers ... apologies - way too much going on ..

    Cheers Hilary

  31. The Cobbler is the best one! Check this information real quick!

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