Romford Film Festival Spoiler-Free Film Reviews: “Kill Your Lover,” “Ill Fares the Land,” and “Have a Good Day”

May 29, 2024

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at josephperry@gmail.com. He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Kill Your Lover (U.K.; 2023)

The fractured relationship between former rock musician Dakota (Paige Gilmour) and her manipulative, much more conservative boyfriend Axel (Shane Quigley-Murphy) is toxic in more ways than one in codirectors/cowriters Alix Austin’s and Keir Siewert’s feature Kill Your Lover, winner of Romford Film Festival’s Best British Feature Film award. Just as Dakota is ready to finally break things off with Axel, he develops a contagious condition that causes him to develop strange markings on his skin, vomit, and cause acidic burns to anyone he touches. Flashbacks show the relationship from its beginnings to yellow and red flags developing to the horrific present. Gilmour and Quigley-Murphy give super performances as two very different people who somehow found themselves in a relationship that both probably should have known better than to start. The body horror is as strong as the psychological torture on display, for which Hair & Makeup Designer/Prosthetics Designer/Special Effects Makeup Artist Rebecca Wheeler and her Makeup Departments assistants Seren Evans and Clara Adriana Todirau deserve mention. With Kill Your Lover, Austin and Siewert have crafted a highly uncomfortable, thoroughly riveting watch that will certainly prove even more unsettling to some viewers who have suffered through emotionally and physically abusive relationships. 

Kill Your Lover will be released in select theaters and nationwide in the U.S. on digital platforms and VOD on June 7th from Dark Sky Films.

Ill Fares the Land (U.K.; 2023)

In Patrick Ireland’s gripping U.K. short Ill Fares the Land, troubled teenager George (Noah Silverstone) — verbally and physically abused by his father — has been mute since his mother passed away two years earlier. His brother Trey (Ruaridh Aldington) recruits George into a white nationalist group that plans on attacking those who come to “our shores,” as Trey and his cohorts put it, to take what they feel rightfully belongs to them. George discovers a mermaid (Smilla Erlandson) stranded on the beach one day, and his life is suddenly changed forever. Ireland intriguingly balances social commentary and strong family drama through a dark fairy tale approach, and the result is a stirring work that boasts an excellent lead performance by Silverstone and fine support from Aldington. 

 

Have a Good Day (Canada; 2024)

Writer/director Lisa Soper tackles writer’s block in a clever, amusing, and sometimes grue-filled way in her comedy short Have a Good Day. Popular horror writer Jody Sloan (Lucy Davis) is trying to work through her inability to come up with good ideas — the proposals she rejects haunt her in more ways than one — with her ever-cheerful mailman Ben (Eric Johnson) encouraging her to the point of creepiness. This relatable, rollicking tour through a creative’s self-sabotaging thoughts features a bevy of well-rendered horror cinema villains and victims, top-notch performances from its two leads, and crackerjack writing and direction. Have a Good Day was nominated for Romford Film Festival’s Best Actress and Best Cinematography (Caelan Benn lensed the short) awards, and for good reason. You can check out the official trailer here.

Kill Your Lover, Ill Fares the Land, and Have a Good Day screened as part of Romford Film Festival, which took place May 24–28 in Romford, U.K.

 

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