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‘Blue Light’ review: Dir. Andy Fickman [FrightFest Halloween 2023]

by Kat Hughes

Writer and director Andy Fickman is probably better known to UK audiences these days for his work as director of the stage-show Heathers: The Musical. However, not long ago in his career, Fickman was the man behind both She’s the Man and Race to Witch Mountain. He has now returned to film once again with Blue Light, a horror story that is very close to his heart. 

Inspired by an experience that he and some friends had as teenagers, Fickman uses Blue Light to explore the concepts of belief, superstition, and paranoia. Seven former high-school friends meet to celebrate the Birthday of Olivia. Their plan to attend the iconic Blue Light Festival is then thwarted when their RV breaks down on the side of the road. As they try to figure out the best plan of action, the group begin to experience strange occurrences and quickly realise that there may be something lurking outside their automotive sanctuary. 

Whilst the second half of Blue Light is set firmly in and around the RV, the first half is much more open. Fickman provides ample time for the audience to get to know the seven friends, using the opening portion of his film to connect the dots between the festival goers. It is a welcome decision as far too many modern horror movies jump straight into death and destruction. Instead, Blue Light feels almost like a drama, the group dynamics presenting enough intrigue to keep the audience entertained. This is a group of friends who, whilst on the surface appear to be together, are in reality very distant from one another. This set-up is key to the success of the second half of the story as Fickman works into the cracks and mutates them into gaping caverns.

It is around the forty minute mark that Fickman finally lets the weirdness enter the fray. The group’s transportation breaks down and begins a new cycle of upsetting events. Strange noises are heard and then people begin disappearing. Those that remain inside the haven begin to unravel, questioning everything. Their thoughts mirror that of the viewer as Fickman is careful to not overshare or over explain anything. Blue Light is very much a film that is open to interpretation and its ambiguity builds into its mystique, which provides the film’s biggest strength. 

The cast are all fantastic at conveying the complexities of their character’s interpersonal allegiances. There’s an easy chemistry between all seven; they feel like a real group and the dialogue is natural. The opening scenes during which they all reunite provides an excellent introduction to the group and their relationships. In many ways, this first sequence works in the same manner as an opening musical number, Fickman setting up and explaining the situation perfectly. 

As well as presenting an engaging thriller full of paranoid expressions and secret whispers, Fickman pulls off some brilliantly effective scare moments. The sound design is particularly noteworthy, the eerie noises outside the RV sound genuinely distressing and even the most stone-cold audience member will be left shifting in their seats during these sequences. 

Blue Light Pays respect to well-trodden horror tropes whilst at the same time subverting them, creating a wicked movie that could sit alongside Bodies, Bodies, Bodies and Talk to Me in the pantheon of new modern teen centric horror. 

Blue Light

Kat Hughes

Blue Light


Rather than being the standard kids that run amok in the woods and meet their maker, Blue Light is more restrained and somewhat elegant in its presentation of friendships and trust.


Blue Light was reviewed at Pigeon Shrine FrightFest Halloween 2023.

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