Frightfest Film Festival review: Failure!

Filmmaker Alex Kahuam’s psychological thriller Failure! had its World Premiere in London at this year’s Frightfest. It debuted at the Fantastic Pavillion at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where Alief picked up the worldwide rights.

About the film: Failure! follows James (Ted Raimi – The Quarry, Ash v Evil Dead, Creepshow), who has a significant debt with the bank and is given one hour to choose between financial ruin or murder to protect his family. As the hour progresses, he finds his home and phone invaded by multiple characters pulling him in different directions, gradually adding to his distress and unraveling. But who is real, and who isn’t?

Director Alex Kahuam (Forgiveness) returns to FrightFest after his 2021 genre film debut. Failure! was shot in a single 87-minute take, making him the first Mexican director to do so in the United States. Portrayed in three acts, the film’s one-shot take compares to 2022’s intense BAFTA-winning Boiling Point and 2015’s Victoria. (I have not seen either movie.)

During the 87 minutes, James (Raimi) stars as James, a well-to-do businessman with a factory he inherited from his father and a huge mansion. He is juggling ideas of what to do since he is in extreme debt and doesn’t want to sell the business. James has a daughter getting married soon and has limited time to make decisions. He knows how to play it cool even when facing a gun. Raimi is the star of this story, his story/his show, and won’t go down until he absolutely must. This synopsis may sound a bit plain and simple, but watching this protagonist hop, skip, and jump through all attempts to bring him down remains interesting. As the saying goes, even when he is down to the wire, running out of time, he still doesn’t let anyone see him sweat. We have all had bad days at work, but not all at this level.

Yes, there are other cast members, but they all have minor roles coming through the mansion on a very trying day. They all perform their functions capably, but the shining star is Raimi. This movie is an excellent opportunity for the cast, who have varying experience in the film industry. However, acting alongside Raimi can only look good on a resume, even if it is a minor role. Bravo to the filmmaker.

Cast: Merrick McCartha (Senior Year), Melissa Diaz (Ruthless), John Paul Medrano (Seven Days), Daniel Kuhlman (Voodoo MacBeth), Noel Douglas Orput, John Paul Medrano, Chris Paul Morales, Hyeong Choi, and Ernest Cavazos, among others.

Kahuam and Raimi produced Failure! along with Marco De Molina, Kayli Fortun, and Jose D. Rodriguez via Kahuam’s Promotora NAE and De Molina’s Spacebrain Entertainment.

About: FrightFest is the UK’s biggest, best, and most beloved community-driven horror & fantasy film festival. It returns in 2023 for its 24th edition, with Pigeon Shrine as its headline sponsor.

Source: Alief, Promotora NAE and Spacebrain Entertainment

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