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Arrow Video FrightFest 2021: ‘When The Screaming Starts’ review

A documentary maker follows a wannabe serial killer.

Struggling journalist Norman (Jared Rogers) accepts an invitation to follow wannabe serial killer Aiden (Ed Hartland) in the hope that it will give him his big break. Aiden has never killed but along with his girlfriend Claire (Kaitlin Reynell), he interviews other would-be serial killers to join his new Charles Manson style cult. As the cult prepares to commit a massacre, Norman watches from the side lines but soon realises he may be in deeper than he expected.

Part of Arrow Video FrightFest’s ‘First Blood’ strand, ‘When The Screaming Starts’ has had its World Premiere at this year’s festival. A clever mockumentary, director Conor Boru, who wrote the screenplay with star Ed Hartland, showcases fantastic promise with this laugh-out-loud and surprisingly bloody film. With reality TV still dominating our airwaves, ‘When The Screaming Starts’ cleverly capitalises on the idea that people really will do anything to get their 15 minutes of fame. In this case, Norman is quite happy to go along with these disturbed individuals in the hope that his documentary will make him famous. He doesn’t think twice about the consequences or that he’s essentially an accessory to the cult’s actions.

When The Screaming Starts
Credit: Riotous Films

At the centre of everything is Aiden, a hopelessly deluded chap who quite clearly doesn’t have it in him to kill anything or anyone (except a cat by accident). As he and Claire put together their new cult with the likes of red-headed nutter Amy (Octavia Gilmore) and reluctant killer Masoud (Kavé Niku), it becomes increasingly clear that Aiden is all talk and absolutely no action. He isn’t even aware that one of his cult members is quite happy to try and force him out of the cult he’s put together.

What I really liked about ‘When The Screaming Stops’ is that it has an incredibly shocking massacre in the middle that paves the way for a completely unexpected climax. It really caught me by surprise and I thought it was very clever. Few film-makers can pull off such a switcheroo but Boru manages it with relative ease. Things get completely turned on their head and it’s absolutely brilliant.

When The Screaming Starts
Credit: Riotous Films

The ensemble cast is absolutely fantastic. Octavia Gilmore is the scene-stealer as Amy, potentially the only cult member who is serious about murdering people. Her performance is steely and she’s actually terrifying at times. Ed Hartland impresses too as Aiden, a man so hopelessly out of his element that it’s hilarious to watch. Mention must also go to Jared Rogers who is brilliant as Norman. He plays the character on the right side of desperation and he really comes into his own during the final act.

‘When The Screaming Starts’ is one of those films that people will be talking about long after Arrow Video FrightFest. It’s clever, it’s innovative and it’s very, very funny. The idea feels fresh and original, something that’s not that common in the horror genre, and I’m definitely a fan of Conor Boru after watching this. ‘When The Screaming Starts’ is without a doubt my biggest surprise of FrightFest and it’s a very entertaining watch.

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When The Screaming Starts
Credit: Riotous Films

Cast: Jared Rogers, Ed Hartland, Octavia Gilmore, Kavé Niku, Kaitlin Reynell, Yasen Atour Director: Conor Boru Writers: Conor Boru & Ed Hartland Certificate: 18 Duration: 88 mins Released by: Riotous Films

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