Screamfest, held annually in Los Angeles, came to a close this past Sunday, and as with all film festivals that means crowning the winners in various categories. There was no huge sweep this year, though the Spanish pre-apocalypse drama Before the Fall (Tres Dias) took home the most awards with a total of three; Best Editing (Nacho Ruiz Capillas), Best Actor (Víctor Clavijo), and Best Director (F. Javier Gutiérrez). I haven't seen the film, which was produced by Antonio Banderas and tells the story of a world with only 72 hours between itself and a planet-killing meteorite, but I've heard good things, which are now all the more confirmed by these accolades (though it's worth noting Before the Fall is not explicitly a horror movie).
Jocelin Donahue took home Best Actress, an award she certainly deserves considering she carried the excellent Satanic Panic film House of the Devil wonderfully. However, I'm not so on-board with the festival's decision to give The Human Centipede (First Sequence) Best Picture. I've seen the film about a mad doctor that surgically grafts three people together in a butt-to-mouth chain and I have to say it's nothing special. There's no question that it has a great, highly twisted concept, but it also has a weak setup, a weaker pay-off, and isn't all that challenging considering what the "plot" is. Dieter Laser is a riot as the insane man wanting to create a new kind of Siamese Twin, but beyond his performance there's little of interest to be found.
Other films that missed out on official accolades were The Canyon, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead, Cabin Fever 2, The Fourth Kind, Triangle, and The Revenant. I've seen all of those except for Triangle (which is from Creep and Severance director Christopher Smith, so one would hope it's quite good), and I'd honestly say most are on par with Human Centipede (which is not a compliment). If it were up to me, I'd have opted for House of the Devil over Human Centipede for Best Picture, with an honorable mention going to The Revenant.