SHUDDER CELEBRATES HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN 2024 WITH A KILLER LINEUP

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SHUDDER CELEBRATES HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN WITH A KILLER LINEUP OF NEW FILM PREMIERES INCLUDING RECORD-BREAKING HIT LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL, CREATURE FEATURE INFESTED AND SUPERNATURAL HORROR BAGHEAD

Programming Event Timed to Shudder TV Launch on AMC+ with LIVE

Viewing Parties for New Films, Marathons and All-New Episodes of Popular Series The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs
Shudder Halfway to Halloween 2024

NEW YORK, NY – April 1, 2024 – April showers scare up new horror films and series on Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, for its annual Halfway to Halloween horror-thon. Too much fun to celebrate just once a year, the streamer celebrates the halfway point to Halloween every April with a killer lineup of Shudder Original Film premieres, LIVE viewing parties for Shudder’s Original series The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, and more. The horror celebration is timed to Shudder TV’s launch on AMC+ with new events including marathons of signature series and LIVE watch parties for new film premieres.



Fans are invited to follow along on @shudder social for #HalfwaytoHalloween recommended films to watch all month long.



Shudder’s Halfway to Halloween highlights include:



Baghead (Shudder Exclusive Film)
New Film Premieres Friday, April 5

Following the death of her estranged father (Peter Mullan), Iris (Freya Allan) learns she has inherited a run-down, centuries-old pub. She travels to Berlin to identify her father’s body and meet with The Solicitor (Ned Dennehy) to discuss the estate. Little does she know, when the deed is signed, she will become inextricably tied to an unspeakable entity that resides in the pub’s basement–Baghead–a shape-shifting creature that can transform into the dead. Two thousand in cash for two minutes with the creature is all it takes for desperate loved ones to ease their grief. Neil (Jeremy Irvine), who has lost his wife, is Iris’ first customer. Like her father, Iris is tempted to exploit the creature’s powers and help desperate people for a price. But she soon discovers breaking the two-minute rule can have terrifying consequences. Together with her best friend Katie (Ruby Barker), Iris must battle to keep control of Baghead and figure out how to destroy her, before she destroys them.



The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Season 6 (Shudder Original Series)
LIVE Watch Parties Continue Every Other Friday, April 12 and April 26, on Shudder TV and AMC+ TV

The supersized sixth season continues with all-new episodes rolling out biweekly on Shudder and AMC+.



Late Night with the Devil (Shudder Original Film)
New Film Premieres Friday, April 19; LIVE Watch Party at 9pm ET

October 31, 1977. Jack Delroy’s syndicated talk show ‘Night Owls’ has long been a trusted companion to insomniacs around the country, but a year on from the tragic death of Jack’s wife, ratings have plummeted. Desperate to turn his fortunes around, Jack plans a Halloween special like no other, unaware he is about to unleash evil into the living rooms of America. Starring David Dastmalchian (Oppenheimer) and Laura Gordon (Reckoning).



Infested (Shudder Original Film)
New Film Premieres Friday, April 26; LIVE Watch Party April 27 at 9pm ET

Director Sébastien Vanicek makes his feature film debut with a story that follows Kaleb, who is about to turn 30 and has never been lonelier. He’s fighting with his sister over a matter of inheritance and has cut ties with his best friend. Fascinated by exotic animals, he finds a venomous spider in a bazaar and brings it back to his flat. It only takes a moment for it to escape and reproduce, turning the whole place into a dreadful web trap. Starring Théo Christine (Suprêmes), Finnegan Oldfield (Final Cut), Jérôme Niel (Smoking Causes Coughing), Sofia Lesaffre (Les Misérables) and Lisa Nyarko.



Other Shudder TV Programming Stunts (all times are ET):
 The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula – All five seasons airing back-to-back beginning 6:00am on April 6 through April 9.

 101 Scariest Movie Moments of All Time – Back-to-back episodes airing 6:00am-9pm on April 13

 Creepshow – Seasons 1-4 airing back-to back beginning 6:30am on April 15 through April 16.

 Hell House LLC and V/H/S Franchises – All films from two iconic film franchises air back-to-back from 1:30pm-1:30am on April 17 and 1:45pm-1:30am on April 18.

 Nature Nightmares – Dig into the scary side of Mother Nature with nature-themed horror in honor of Earth Day beginning April 20 at 6:40am through April 22.

 The Last Drive-In Halloween Special Marathon – Check out all the tricks and treats with Joe Bob Halloween specials all day long beginning 5:30am on April 26, leading up to an all-new episode at 9pm ET.

 Halfway to “Halloween”– Celebrate the six-month countdown to our favorite holiday with two full days of Halloween-themed films beginning April 29 at 6:45am through April 30.



OTHER NEW ADDITIONS TO SHUDDER THIS MONTH



April 1



The Terror Season 2 – Full Series Binge

Set during World War II, the second season of The Terror centers on a series of bizarre deaths that haunt a Japanese American community, and a young man’s journey to understand and combat the malevolent entity responsible. Starring George Takei (Star Trek).



Mute Witness – Streaming Film Premiere

From director Anthony Waller (An American Werewolf in Paris), a mute makeup artist working on a slasher movie being shot in Moscow, is locked in the studio after house. While there, she witnesses a brutal murder and must escape capture.



The Gates – Streaming Film Premiere

A serial killer has been sentenced to death by electric chair in London in the 1890s, but in his final hours, he puts a curse on the prison he’s in, and all of those in it.



Drag Me to Hell

A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.



Ghost Stories (2017)

After receiving a file with details of three unexplained cases of apparitions, skeptical professor Phillip Goodman embarks on a terrifying trip.



THE RENTALThe Rental

Two couples rent a vacation home for what should be a celebratory weekend getaway.



At the Devil’s Door

A real estate agent finds herself caught up in something sinister when she has to sell a house with a dark past and meets the troubled teen who used to live there.



The Wind

A plainswoman faces the harshness and isolation of the untamed lad in the Western frontier of the late 1800s.



Summoning Sylvia.jpgSummoning Sylvia

A gay bachelor party turns spooky when sinister spirits are suddenly summoned.



Madman

A legendary psychopathic murderer stalks a summer camp.

*The Last Drive-In: Madman episode also available



Spookies

A wicked sorcerer tries to sacrifice a group of people inside his house with the intention of using their vitality to keep his wife alive.

*The Last Drive-In: Spookies episode also available



Creepshow (1982)

Five grisly tales from a kid’s comic book about a murdered father rising from his grave, a bizarre meteor, a vengeful husband, a mysterious crate’s occupant, and a plague of cockroaches.





April 4



Wake Wood

The parents of a girl who was killed by a savage dog are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter.



Emelie

A couple’s replacement babysitter turns out to be more than they bargained for when she subjects their kids to a series of twisted activities.

 



April 8



Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things

Six friends in a theatrical troupe dig up a corpse on an abandoned island to use in a mock Satanic rite. It backfires with deadly consequences.



The Third Saturday in October

When a psycho goes on a murderous rampage after surviving a botched execution, only two survivors of his initial attack can stop him.



The Third Saturday in October Part V

Follow an implacable killer as he stalks and butchers the occupants of houses across the stretch of one lone country road while the residents prepare to watch a yearly college-football bout.





April 15



The Tunnel

An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story, it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.



The Tunnel: The Other Side of Darkness

On the 10th anniversary of the Australian found footage film The Tunnel, this documentary delves into the filmmakers endeavors to challenge how films are financed and distributed, and the lasting impact The Tunnel had internationally.





April 22



The House of the Devil (2009)

In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.

*The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Dinners of Death: The House of the Devil episode also available



The Innkeepers

During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.



The Changeling (1980)

After the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash, a music professor staying in a long-vacant Seattle mansion is dragged into a decades-old mystery by an inexplicable presence in the mansion’s attic.

*The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Dinners of Death: The Changeling episode also available



Final Cut (aka Death Games)

A reporter and his girlfriend follow around a famous actor/entrepreneur and discover some dirt on him to be made public.



13th Floor

As a child, a girl witnessed her father electrocute a young boy. When she grows into an adult, the ghost of the murdered boy appears to her, and together they set out to expose the crimes of her father.




About Shudder

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and Original Content is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Over the last few years, Shudder has introduced audiences to groundbreaking and critically acclaimed films including Rob Savage’s HOST, Jayro Bustamante’s LA LLORONA, Phil Tippett’s MAD GOD, Coralie Fargeat’s REVENGE, Joko Anwar’s SATAN’S SLAVES, Josh Ruben’s SCARE ME, Kyle Edward Ball’s SKINAMARINK, Christian Tafdrup’s SPEAK NO EVIL, Chloe Okuno’s WATCHER, Demián Rugna‘s WHEN EVIL LURKS, and the latest in the V/H/S film anthology franchise, as well as the fan favorite TV series THE BOULET BROTHERS’ DRAGULA, Greg Nicotero’s CREEPSHOW, and THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS.


For Shudder reviews, click here!

‘ASPHALT CITY’ (2024) Death and Ethics.

ASPHALT CITY

ASPHALT CITY Poster

Based on Shannon Burke‘s novel Black Flies and directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, ASPHALT CITY follows newbie Ollie Cross as he navigates the unrelenting NYC night shift under the guise of a veteran paramedic.

Immersive handheld camera work and quick editing place the audience on Ollie’s shoes from the first frame. The sound mixing is stellar. There is a constant din of noise, whether it’s the score or the sounds of the city. The repeated angel wings motif is beautifully clever.

ASPHALT CITY_STILL 10Michael Pitt plays co-worker, and piece of shit, Lafontaine. His dwindling morality acts as a mirror for Ollie. Pitt is vile and spectacular.

Sean Penn delivers a lived-in performance as mentor Gene Rutkovsky. He makes every role seem effortless, and this is no exception. His chemistry Tye Sheridan straddles fatherly and realistic confidant.

ASPHALT CITY_Sheridan gives Ollie a perfect balance of anxiety, rage, and a hero complex. We watch his sanity slowly crumble under the weight of the world’s evil. Sheridan is phenomenal as his priorities shift and nothing goes as planned. He proves himself as a leading man once again.

The screenplay leans into the human atrocities, the nuance of the job, and the complexities of the city’s eclectic population. ASPHALT CITY is a tense and deeply affecting drama rife with grief and grit.

EXCLUSIVELY IN THEATERS MARCH 29

Asphalt City

Asphalt City follows Ollie Cross (Tye Sheridan), a young paramedic assigned to the NYC night shift with an uncompromising and seasoned partner Gene Rutkovsky (Sean Penn). The dark nights reveal a city in crisis; Rutkovsky guides Cross, as each 911 call is often dangerous and uncertain, putting their lives on the line every day to help others. Cross soon discovers firsthand the chaos and awe of a job that careens from harrowing to heartfelt, testing his relationship with Rutkovsky and the ethical ambiguity that can be the difference between life and death.

 

CAST

Sean Penn “Gene Rutkovsky”

Tye Sheridan  “Ollie Cross”

Gbenga Akinnagbe “Verdis”

Michael Carmen Pitt “Lafontaine”

Katherine Waterston “Nancy”

Mike Tyson “Chief Burroughs”

Raquel Nave “Clara”

Kali Reis “Nia”

 

CREW

Director:                         Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire

Screenwriters:                Ryan King and Ben Mac Brown

Based on:                       the novel Black Flies by Shannon Burke

Producers:                      Warren Goz, Eric Gold, Christopher Kopp, Lucan Toh, Sean Penn, John Ira Palmer,

John Wildermuth, Tye Sheridan, Tina Wang

Executive Producers:      James Masciello, Matthew Sidari, Mitchell Zhang, Luke Rodgers, Jean-Stéphane

Sauvaire, Jamie Buckner, Shannon Burke, Babak Anvari, Ryan King

Director of Photography: David Ungaro, AFC

Editors:                           Saar Klein & Katie Mcquerrey

Production Designer:       Robert Pyzocha

Costume Designer:        Stacy Jansen

Music:                            Nicholas Becker and Quentin Sirjacq

Casting:                          Lori Eastside

Distributors:                   Roadside Attractions / Vertical

Genre:                            Thriller

Rating:                           R

Running Time:                125 minutes

ASPHALT CITY_STILL 12

For more Thiller reviews, click here!

Thrilling ‘SLEEPING DOGS’ (2024) Russell Crowe dives into deception and dementia

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SLEEPING DOGS

Sleeping Dogs Russell Crowe

In SLEEPING DOGS, Russell Crowe plays Roy Freeman, a former detective who has just undergone an experimental treatment for dementia. When an inmate on death row requests a sit-down with him, a series of unanswered questions from the case pull us down a rabbit hole of mystery and lies.

SLEEPING DOGS -Russell CroweUtilizing Alzheimer’s as a creative device in storytelling delivers a nuanced and intriguing film. It places the viewer in Roy’s shoes as clues to his past drop in real-time. Classic noir lighting, score, and clever casefile tape transition visuals add to the flashback-filled narrative.

SLEEPING DOGS - Karen GillanKaren Gillan plays Laura Baines, the obsession of a potential subject in the case. She nails the old-school detective ingenue style of dramatics. Gillan brings a vocal tone and cadence similar to Elizabeth Holmes. It’s jarring but effective.

Crowe is spectacular, fully embodying the internal and external grief of dementia. It is no surprise that he owns this role in all its complexity. While the cast is undoubtedly strong, he brings a much-needed weight with his presence.

SLEEPING DOGS stillDirector Adam Cooper and co-writer Bill Collage do an excellent job adapting the 2017 novel The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici, keeping the viewer guessing. We know something is off, but with each character’s perspective, we constantly question the truth. Boasting an intensely dark ending, SLEEPING DOGS satisfies the bibliophile and cinephile alike.

 

ONLY IN THEATERS: March 22, 2024

DIRECTOR: Adam Cooper
WRITERS: Adam Cooper & Bill Collage (written by), E.O. Chirovici (based on “THE BOOK OF MIRRORS” by)
CAST: Russell Crowe, Karen Gillan, Márton Csókás, Thomas M. Wright, Harry Greenwood, and Tommy Flanagan
SYNOPSIS: An ex-homicide detective (Russell Crowe) with memory loss is forced to solve a brutal murder he can’t recall. But as evidence uncovers secrets tied to his forgotten past, he is led to a chilling truth – sometimes, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.
RUN TIME: 110 minutes
RATING: R                               
GENRE: Action, Crime/Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: The Avenue

For more crime genre films, click here!

 

‘WICKED LITTLE LETTERS’ (2024) The Best F*cking Film of the Year

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WICKED LITTLE LETTERS

Wicked Little Letters (2023) poster

When Edith Swan becomes the target of untoward, profanity-laced letters, the first suspect is her unfiltered neighbor. Chaos ensues when a police officer thinks they’ve arrested the wrong person.

wicked-little-letters-3

Timothy Spall plays Edward Swan, the abusive patriarch actively stifling Edith’s development. His use of religion as a moral and spiritual threat is alarming and infuriating. WICKED LITTLE LETTERS is a genuinely outstanding female ensemble. Boasting delightful performances from (a brilliant ) Anjana Vasan, Lolly Adefope, Joanna Scanlan, Eileen Atkins, and Alisha Weir, audiences will flock to the theatre.

Jessie Buckley is flawless as a foul-mouthed immigrant single mother, Rose Gooding. Buckley’s fierce spirit proves perfection for the role. She and Colman share a delicious chemistry, and I beg the industry to pair them together in future projects.

Olivia Colman gives Edith Swan an endearing faux bashfulness, particularly when you understand the trauma behind it. Her comic timing is a thing of the gods. Thriving off the attention of the scandal, Colman is a revelation. The nuance is, as usual, award-worthy.

Wicked Little Letters 2024 Olivia ColmanA massive thank you to screenwriter Jonny Sweet and director Thea Sharrock for gifting audiences with a dazzling story about complex, fearless women. The script is a creative commentary on repression, patriarchal rule, female friendship, and freedom of expression. You’ll be doubled over with laughter at the ceaselessly imaginative insults in the letters. The unadulterated glee in hearing these words feels naughty in a rather freeing and celebratory way. WICKED LITTLE LETTERS is the best fucking film of the year.

OPENING IN LA & NY MARCH 29, 

OPENING NATIONWIDE APRIL 5

A 1920s English seaside town bears witness to a farcical and occasionally sinister scandal in this riotous mystery comedy. Based on a stranger than fiction true story, WICKED LITTLE LETTERS follows two neighbours: deeply conservative local Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) and rowdy Irish migrant Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley). When Edith and fellow residents begin to receive wicked letters full of unintentionally hilarious profanities, foul-mouthed Rose is charged with the crime. The anonymous letters prompt a national uproar, and a trial ensues. However, as the town’s women — led by Police Officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) — begin to investigate the crime themselves, they suspect that something is amiss, and Rose may not be the culprit after all.

 

DIRECTED BY Thea Sharrock

WRITTEN BY Jonny Sweet

STARRING

Olivia Colman

Jessie Buckley

Timothy Spall

Anjana Vasan

Wicked Little Letters (2023) Olivia Colman

LOS ANGELES OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC CENTURY CITY 15

189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA

AMC THE GROVE 14

10250 Santa Monica Blvd, 2000, Los Angeles, CA

NEW YORK OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC LINCOLN SQUARE 13

1998 Broadway, New York, NY

CINEMA 123 BY ANGELIKA

1001 Third Ave, New York, NY

REGAL UNION SQUARE

850 Broadway, New York, NY

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION


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‘SEW TORN’ (SXSW 2024) is a delightfully quirky caper

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SEW TORN

Sew Torn SXSW 2024

A business on the verge of closure. Unresolved grief. An accident. A briefcase full of money. Welcome to SXSW 2024’s quirky caper, SEW TORN.

SEW TORN delivers a slick opening scene and an incredibly creative title sequence. You are locked in from the very first frame. Filmmaker Freddy Macdonald‘s quick-take editing combined with Jacob Tardien’s mischievous score is pure delight. The script is genius and unpredictable, akin to watching a ping-pong match.

John Lynch plays villainous drug-dealing patriarch Hudson Armitage. He is a powerhouse. K Callan is hilarious in a small-town multi-hyphenate role. Calum Worthy is super intriguing as Joshua, a fearful son under his father’s thumb. Worthy brings an unexpected vulnerability that mirrors Barbara.

Caroline Goodall is magnificent as Barbara’s client and entitled bride-to-be Grace. She is a monstrous anchor in the film and deliciously unforgettable. Eve Connolly owns every second of screen time. SEW TORN has minimal dialogue. Connolly pulls a modern-day Chaplin-meets-MacGyver. Fearless and entirely brilliant, Connolly is a star.

SEW TORN tackles destiny, morality, and the consequences of our life choices. SXSW 2024 audiences are fortunate to experience this delicious tale of crime and craftiness. It is undoubtedly one of the best films of the festival.


Film Screenings

Mar 10, 2024
10:15pm11:50pm
Mar 11, 2024
10:15pm11:50pm
Mar 11, 2024
10:45pm12:20am
Mar 16, 2024
9:30pm11:05pm

Credits

Director:

Freddy Macdonald

Executive Producer:

Ronnie Lott, John Zavitsanos, Michael Zilkha, Baird Craft, Tristan Aufiero, Elena Kourkoumelis, John Dillon Powell, Amy Lin, William Lin, Didi Wong, Gary MacDermid, Oliver Keller

Producer:

Fred Macdonald, Barry Navidi, Sebastian Klinger, Diamantis Zavitsanos, Socratis Zavitsanos

Screenwriter:

Freddy Macdonald, Fred Macdonald

Cinematographer:

Sebastian Klinger

Editor:

Freddy Macdonald

Production Designer:

Viviane Rapp

Sound Designer:

Alexander Stratigenas

Music:

Jacob Tardien

Principal Cast:

Eve Connolly, Calum Worthy, John Lynch, K Callan, Ron Cook, Thomas Douglas, Werner Biermeier, Veronika Herren-Wenger, Caroline Goodall

Additional Credits:

Co-Producers: Timothy Ross, Alexander Stratigenas, Casting : Sharon Howard-Field, Nathan Wiley, Costume Designer: Viviane Rapp, Hair & Makeup Designer: Carol Geiger, First Assistant Director: Govind Sharma, Property Master: Seline Imhasly, Gaffer : Elia Quadri, Production Coordinator : Mick Vuillemier, Hair and Makeup Artist : Ximena Fanchini, First Assistant Camera: Janis Wolf

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For all things SXSW 2024, click here!

‘HUNTING DAZE’ (SXSW 2024) and its slow simmering rage

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HUNTING DAZE

Hunting Daze SXSW 2024Annick Blanc gives SXSW 2024 audiences something to chew on with HUNTING DAZE, a genre-defying tale of isolation, pack mentality, and self-preservation. Exotic dancer Nina finds herself stuck and calls upon a former client for roadside assistance. Without transport, he brings her back to an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Upon discovering it is a bachelor party, the eclectic group of men agrees to let her stay the weekend if, and only if, she can abide by an “all for one’ mentality.

Beautiful drone shots and an enveloping score draw you in immediately. Slow-motion dynamics and natural lighting have an immersive effect on the audience. The dialogue brilliantly hovers between misogynist and welcoming. Scenarios range from the absurd to fraught with danger. Blanc understands the constant din of fear a woman feels surrounded by exclusively male energy. It’s a volatility forced upon us and a visceral buzzing from head to toe.

Nina experiences ominous visions during the film, allowing Blanc to introduce magical realism into the script. These moments are some of the most extraordinary cinematically, taking us inside Nina’s subconscious.

Nahéma Ricci is a badass as Nina. She is magnetic, holding the audience in the palm of her hand. Blanc gives her one hell of an arc, and Ricci delivers. She is a star.

Each character is fully fleshed out, with their distinct quirks and personalities making for an unpredictable momentum. Blanc leans into the pack mentality quite literally with appearances by wolves. HUNTING DAZE is a spectacular metaphor for patriarchal power. My way or the highway structure assumes a male authority, especially if a woman attempts to rock the boat. This overarching sense of superiority we face from microaggressions to murder, HUNTING DAZE is a film of simmering feminist rage.


Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
10:00pm11:19pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
7:00pm8:19pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
9:00pm10:19pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
9:30pm10:49pm

 

Credits

Director:

Annick Blanc

Producer:

Maria Gracia Turgeon, Annick Blanc

Screenwriter:

Annick Blanc

Cinematographer:

Vincent Gonneville

Editor:

Amélie Labrèche

Music:

Peter Venne

Principal Cast:

Nahéma Ricci, Bruno Marcil, Frédéric Millaire-Zouvi, Marc Beaupré, Alexandre Landry, Maxime Genois, Noubi Ndiaye

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For all things SXSW 2024, click here!


 

‘7 KEYS’ (SXSW 2024) Flirt, fight, & flight.

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7 KEYS

7 Keys SXSW 2024

A chance meeting plunges Lena and Daniel into a whirlwind tour of his previous dwellings since he still has their keys. Writer-director Joy Wilkinson brings SXSW 2024 audiences on a journey through London and the haunting past of two souls seeking connection. Getting caught is the least of their problems.

Lena is sexually bold and fearless. After a housing-insecure childhood, her fascination with Daniel’s homes sparks a game of fantasy and danger. Emma McDonald does a brilliant job of pushing boundaries and listening to her instincts.

Daniel comes off as gentlemanly, if not a touch awkward. On edge during their clandestine tour, the audience knows more than Lena. Billy Postlethwaite gives Daniel a shocking arc. You will be fascinated and appalled in decyphering his true persona. It’s one hell of a turn.

Wilkinson keeps us on our toes as we feel more nervous about the pair getting caught at any moment. Clues dropped along the way make you question the truth. Lena and Daniel both have deep abandonment issues and unresolved trauma that skew our opinions with each story they choose to reveal.

Halfway through, we get a better sense. The plot goes from uncomfortable to unsettling in a flash. The big twist will chill you to the bone and lead to an unexpected final act. 7 KEYS is about power and obsession. It’s tense, creative, and completely unhinged. 7 KEYS is SXSW 2024 gold.


Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
6:30pm8:03pm
Mar 9, 2024
7:00pm8:33pm
Mar 13, 2024
9:15pm10:48pm
Mar 13, 2024
9:45pm11:18pm
Mar 15, 2024
9:15pm10:48pm
Director:

Joy Wilkinson

Producer:

Cassandra Sigsgaard, Dylan Rees

Screenwriter:

Joy Wilkinson

Cinematographer:

Mary Farbrother

Editor:

Roberta Bononi

Production Designer:

Natasha Jenkins

Sound Designer:

Emma Butt

Music:

Max Perryment

Principal Cast:

Emma McDonald, Billy Postlethwaite, Kaylen Luke, Joey Akubeze, Amit Shah, Jane Goddard

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‘DICKWEED’ (SXSW 2024)- a shocking WTF doc

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DICKWEED

Dickweed SXSW 2024SXSW 2024 audiences are in for a real WTF documentary in Jonathan Ignatius Green‘s DICKWEED. In 2012, a wild kidnapping in the middle of the night led to torture, mystery, and one man’s loss of his, let’s say, manhood. The ensuing wild goose chase and brazen criminal actions challenge all involved. Police had no idea what kind of mastermind they were dealing with.

The film pulls no punches, with Michael launching headfirst into his story. An average day after working at his cannabis shop turns deadly when masked men grab him and a new roommate, drive them out into the desert, and demand to know where he buried a million dollars.

DICKWEED utilizes crime scene photos, dashcam footage, and sit-down interviews with the victims, detectives, and lawyers involved in the case. It sounds like a mockumentary. I had to look up the synopsis twice to confirm I wouldn’t make a fool of myself.

From Newport Beach, the search for suspects becomes a global affair. Revealing more details takes the fun out of this off-the-wall viewing experience. DICKWEED is an episode of 20/20 on steroids. True crime fans will devour this film. Get ready, SXSW 2024, for a shocking global manhunt, seemingly triggered by an innocuous passing comment. Your jaw will drop.


Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
2:30pm4:00pm
 
Mar 12, 2024
6:45pm8:15pm
 
Mar 12, 2024
7:15pm8:45pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
5:45pm7:15pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
6:15pm7:45pm

 

Credits

Director:

Jonathan Ignatius Green

Executive Producer:

Amy Bandlien Storkel, Bryan Storkel

Producer:

David Ricksecker, Jefferis Gray

Cinematographer:

Skyler Bocciolatt, Ben Joyner

Editor:

Peter Garriott, Connor Davis

Music:

John Jennings Boyd

Principal Cast:

Emily Pokora, Ronald Douglass, Greg Kriek, Rizzy Fuentes, Jerry Gregorio, Mikey Shayan, Kristen Vaganos, Brand Birtwistle, Jamison Sandbloom, John Fantasia

Two people got kidnapped. One man lost his dick. No-one got any money. This heist-gone-horribly-wrong led one Newport Beach detective on an international manhunt for the most twisted criminal he’d ever hunted. In 2012, Michael, a local weed dispensary owner, got home from work and plopped down on the sofa like any other weeknight. Three hours later he was zip-tied and eating dirt as three men tried to beat him into admitting where he’d buried the million dollars. And he would have gladly told them rather than endure what happened next. The only problem was, he hadn’t buried a million dollars, and after they tortured him and left him to die, he still had no idea who these men were.

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!

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SXSW 2024 packs a punch. Here are 18 films we’re excited to see!

SXSW 2024 color logo

SXSW 2024 promises to kick up the coolness factor with more content than ever. This year films from every genre and corner of the world assemble to provide festival audiences thrills and chills, laughter and loss, mysteries and mayhem. Cinephiles look to SXSW for cool, creative, and wow films they can discuss all year. The 2024 edition will not disappoint. Here is a list of films we’re keeping our eyes on.

DICKWEED

Dickweed SXSW 2024

Two people got kidnapped. One man lost his dick. No-one got any money. This heist-gone-horribly-wrong led one Newport Beach detective on an international manhunt for the most twisted criminal he’d ever hunted. In 2012, Michael, a local weed dispensary owner, got home from work and plopped down on the sofa like any other weeknight. Three hours later he was zip-tied and eating dirt as three men tried to beat him into admitting where he’d buried the million dollars. And he would have gladly told them rather than endure what happened next. The only problem was, he hadn’t buried a million dollars, and after they tortured him and left him to die, he still had no idea who these men were.

I know. This sounds more like a mockumentary than a real-life occurrence. I had to go back and check twice to make sure I was reading the category correctly. SXSW 2024 documentary Dickweed delivers one of the most insane true-crime stories you will ever witness. Twists and turns and utterly unbelievable, this mysterious case will bewilder and entertain. Jonathan Ignatius Green does not disappoint. Get ready to tell everyone about this film, and be prepared for them to think you’re making it all up.

Director/Writer: Jonathan Ignatius Green (The Pez Outlaw, Social Animals

Producers: David Ricksecker, Jefferis Gray

Executive Producers: Amy Bandlien Storkel, Bryan Storkel

Running Time: 90 minutes

Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
2:30pm4:00pm
 
Mar 12, 2024
6:45pm8:15pm
 
Mar 12, 2024
7:15pm8:45pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
5:45pm7:15pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
 
6:15pm7:45pm

ADRIANNE AND THE CASTLE

Adrianne and the castle SXSW 2024

Inventive and whimsical, Adrianne & The Castle is a true story of great love and loss. Alan St-George is a mascot-maker and artist in rural Illinois who hand-made an ornate and elaborate castle with his late wife Adrianne. Since her death in 2006 he continues to put the finishing touches on Havencrest Castle, which stands as a “temple” dedicated to their transcendent love.

In one of the most stunning love stories ever told, director Shannon Walsh introduces us to a couple like no other, whose fairytale relationship lives on in an extraordinary mansion. 

Director: Shannon Walsh (The Gig Is UpIllusions Of Control) 

Producer: Ina Fichman (Fire of Love, The Oslo Diaries)

Running Time: 86 mins

Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
9:15pm10:41pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
5:45pm7:11pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
6:15pm7:41pm
 
Mar 13, 2024
11:15am12:41pm
 
Mar 13, 2024
11:45am1:11pm

TIMESTALKER

Timestalker SXSW 2024

“Timestalker” follows hapless heroine Agnes through time as she repeatedly falls for the wrong guy, dies a grim death, gets reincarnated a century later, before meeting him again and starting the cycle anew. It is one story told over many periods, all with the messy thrills and spills that come with daring to follow your heart. Or maybe your loins…
Agnes’ only hope in avoiding this violent fate is by finally reaching spiritual enlightenment; but how can she ever wise up when she’s destined to be a fool for love? Some lessons are just too hard to learn in one lifetime.

As a self-proclaimed Whovian, you had me at time-hopping. But a unique twist on angsty love is one of the many reasons why audiences come to SXSW 2024. This genre obliterating narratives promises to be one of the year’s best. And if you aren’t already familiar with Alice Lowe, boy are you in for a treat.

Directed by: Alice Lowe
Written by: Alice Lowe
Staring: Alice Lowe, Jacob Anderson, Aneurin Barnard, Tanya Reynolds, Nick Frost

Film Screenings

SXSW 2024
 
Mar 11, 2024

9:45pm11:21pm


AUDREY

Audrey SXSW 2024

Ronnie Lipsick (Jackie Van Beek), a former soap star and self-proclaimed Mother of the Year, gave up her acting career 18 years ago due to an unplanned pregnancy. Now she runs a suburban performing arts school, with a husband who has lost his zest for life, a youngest daughter(Hannah Diviney) who appears indifferent, and an ungrateful eldest daughter whom Ronnie (Josephine Blazier) tried to mold into the success she always wanted. When Audrey falls into a coma after an accident, Ronnie takes on her daughter’s identity, getting a second chance at the life she always desired.

Darkly funny and in three distinct acts of wackiness, AUDREY is everything you want it to be and way more.

Director:

Natalie Bailey

Screenwriter:

Lou Sanz

Principal Cast:

Jackie Van Beek, Josephine Blazier, Hannah Diviney, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor

Film Screenings

Mar 10, 2024
2:30pm4:07pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
5:15pm6:52pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
5:45pm7:22pm
 
Mar 15, 2024
2:15pm3:52pm

RESYNATOR

resynator


In unearthing the Resynator, the revolutionary synthesizer her late father invented in the 1970s, filmmaker Alison Tavel not only revives his mission to share it with the world, she unexpectedly forges a deep bond with the father she never got the chance to know. What starts as a curious resurrection of her dad’s invention soon becomes an insatiable, globe-trotting quest to unearth an authentic portrait of a man she never met. Featuring Peter Gabriel, Fred Armisen, Gotye, Grace Potter and more.

Director:

Alison Tavel

Principal Cast:

Alison Tavel, Grace Potter, Peter Gabriel, Jon Anderson, Fred Armisen, Money Mark, Gotye, Mike Gordon, Brian Kehew, Christian Castagno

Film Screenings

Resynator at Alamo Lamar 4

Mar 10, 2024

6:00pm—7:36pm

Resynator at Rollins Theatre at The Long Center

Mar 13, 2024

6:00pm—7:36pm

Resynator at Satellite Venue: AFS Cinema

Mar 16, 2024

12:00pm—1:36pm


MALTA

Malta

Set in Bogotá, this captivating female character study narrates the story of a young Colombian woman who dreams of escaping her suffocating urban reality and traveling the world. However, an unexpected relationship with an unlikely man will make her question her true motives for leaving. 

A quiet purpose-seeking film with relatable themes is all you need to know about Malta. It will hit you no matter your personal background.

Director:

Natalia Santa

Principal Cast:

Estefanía Piñeres, Patricia Tamayo, Emmanuel Restrepo, Diego Cremonesi, Ángela Rodríguez, Edwin Riveros, Tonatiuh Ramírez , Raúl Cuellar

 

Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024

2:15pm—3:52pm

Malta at Violet Crown Cinema 3

Mar 9, 2024

2:45pm—4:22pm

Malta at Violet Crown Cinema 2

Mar 11, 2024

3:15pm—4:52pm

Malta at Violet Crown Cinema 4

Mar 11, 2024

3:45pm—5:22pm

Malta at Alamo Lamar 8

Mar 14, 2024

9:45pm—11:22pm

Read More →

Matt Vesely’s intense ‘MONOLITH’ (2024) takes podcast storytelling to another realm.

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Monolith 2024 poster

One suspect article takes down a once respected journalist. Holed up in her wealthy parent’s estate while they are on holiday, our leading lady tries to revamp her image by creating a conspiracy theory podcast. While wading through emails, she spots one that is particularly eye-catching. Following up on the information, she continues down a path of potential otherworldly objects influencing people around the globe. But truth and lies are closer aligned than you might want to believe. Matt Vesely‘s SXSW 2023 sci-fi feature MONOLITH pulls you into oblivion.

Lily Sullivan in Monolith The film takes place in a single location where The Interviewer records her podcast. The secluded and expansive modern mid-century estate allows her to wander, but most of the action happens at a desk or in front of the wall of windows that contain her discoveries. Our journalist creates an episode of her first phone calls. Editing the calls at her will, the audience questions her culpability. This small moment puts your morality compasses in a tailspin. It is a slick move from writer Lucy Campbell. Podcasts are my nightly ritual, cleaning motivation, and my travel companion. Since SERIAL, the industry has exploded. In MONOLITH, the story goes viral. People begin contacting her directly with their stories, always warning her to stop.

Lily Sullivan in MonolithAt some point, the danger reaches the front door of our journalist’s secluded location when she receives a package related to the mysterious story. The darkness attached to the object feels slightly Faustian and not of this planet. No one remembers how they received their object, but each reaches a point in questioning where they feel compelled to hang up out of fear.

Lily Sullivan plays The Interviewer. Her emotional arc is mesmerizing, acting as a therapist to her callers, a manipulator for personal gain, and a target of the unknown. As the only onscreen actor in the film, her ability to carry such an intense and mysterious film is quite a feat. Sullivan owns the audience.

Matt Vesely's MonolithIs this a case of mass hysteria? In many ways, the plot mirrors today’s conspiracy groups like QAnon. Our leading lady goes down the rabbit hole, and the audience follows. MONOLITH boasts a jaw-dropping final ten minutes. This is one hell of a sci-fi thriller. It is a must-see.

IN THEATERS AND ON DIGITAL: February 16, 2024 

 

For more Well Go USA film reviews, click here!

 

Review: ‘THE SEEDING’ is disturbing.

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THE SEEDING

The Seeding Poster

 A man comes upon a lost boy in the desert. In his efforts to assist, he becomes trapped alongside a woman held captive by a group of feral boys. The film opens with a disturbing image thrusting you into a slow-burn den of madness. Barnaby Clay‘s Tribeca 2023 film THE SEEDING is finally in theaters and on VOD today.

the-seeding-kate-lyn-sheilKate Lyn Sheil (She Dies Tomorrow) is spectacular as our mystery woman. Questions swirl about her complicity throughout the film, but Sheil is perfection, playing coy, never giving us answers until the end. She has a magnetic presence on screen and somehow manages not to age.

the-seeding-scott-hazeMy love for Scott Haze knows no bounds. From his breakout performance in Child of God to his work in Old Henry and What Josiah Saw, he is one of those actors who live in the skin of his characters. As Stone, his swings into toxic masculinity mirror the feral behavior of the boys above. He is undeniably compelling.

the_seeding_the_boysThe ominous score by Tristan Bechet sometimes grates in a way that makes you subconsciously cringe. The continuous low din instills pure fear. Stay through the entire end credits for more eerie ear candy. THE SEEDING has echoes of The Hills Have Eyes horror and Midsommer folklore. All said it is an upsetting watch, and that’s what genre fans show up for.

In theaters and on VOD nationwide January 26th!

 

Written and Directed by Barnaby Clay
Produced by Brian Etting
Starring Scott Haze and Kate Lyn Sheil

In THE SEEDING, a hiker lost in the desert takes refuge with a woman living alone, and soon discovers that she might not be there willingly. Directed by music video legend Barnaby Clay (SHOT! THE PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL MANTRA OF ROCK), the picture stars Scott Haze (VENOM, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION) and Kate Lyn Sheil of the horror hits YOU’RE NEXT and V/H/S.

94 minutes
#TheSeeding 

Sundance 2024 preview: A film for everyone at the festival’s 40th Edition.

Sundance Film Festival 2024 Color Logo
The Sundance Film Festival has launched the careers of indie film directors, writers, and actors now for 40 years. Back with in-person and online screening opportunities, this year’s iteration boasts new and bold storytelling from every genre. Here are a handful of films we’ll track in 2024.

 

For more information and tickets to Sundance 2024, click here! Be on the lookout for shared coverage with our good friend, Steve Kopian, at Unseen Films. To see all of his reviews and what he’s looking forward to this year, head over to his home base.

(World Cinema Dramatic Competition)
SUJO

S till from the Sundance film SUJO
When a cartel gunman is killed, he leaves behind Sujo, his beloved 4-year-old son. The shadow of violence surrounds Sujo during each stage of his life in the isolated Mexican countryside. As he grows into a man, Sujo finds that fulfilling his father’s destiny may be inescapable.

A movie about time and trauma, this beautifully acted and hauntingly written film from the directors of Identifying Features will be sure to captivate audiences. 

This film contains strobe effects.
Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


40th Edition Celebration Screenings And Events

DIG! XX

DIG! XX tracks the tumultuous rise of two talented musicians, Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Courtney Taylor, leader of the Dandy Warhols, and dissects their star-crossed friendship and bitter rivalry. Through their loves and obsessions, gigs and recordings, arrests and death threats, uppers and downers, and ultimately to their chance at a piece of the profit-driven music business, they stage a self-proclaimed revolution in the music industry.

DIG! premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition, where it ultimately won the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary category. DIG! XX, which will premiere at the upcoming Festival, is not only a digitally enhanced, remixed, and remastered version of DIG!, but also a special 20th anniversary new edit of the film culled from footage shot over seven years, and brought to you by the original sibling team, Ondi and David Timoner.

*Digitally enhanced and featuring new footage


(Premieres)

And So It Begins

Amidst the traditional pomp and circumstance of Filipino elections, a quirky people’s movement rises to defend the nation against deepening threats to truth and democracy. In a collective act of joy as a form of resistance, hope flickers against the backdrop of increasing autocracy.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Eternal You

Startups are using AI to create avatars that allow relatives to talk with their loved ones after they have died. An exploration of a profound human desire and the consequences of turning the dream of immortality into a product.

“I wanted to see if he was okay,” explains Christi, one of the users of Project December. With this innovative software, users can communicate with a virtual version of the deceased through a chatbot that simulates the dead person’s conversation patterns. Hers was an attempt to check on her first love. Others may simply miss someone, seek permission to move on, or want to rid themselves of guilt.

At this point, I think we’ve all seen the app that turns photos into moving images. The idea feels equally sentimental and disturbing. Eternal You takes this tech further, begging the question, “How far are we willing to go to feel connected to those we’ve lost, and how might that affect our brains?” 

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


World Cinema Documentary Competition

A New Kind of Wilderness

In a forest in Norway, a family lives an isolated lifestyle in an attempt to be wild and free, but a tragic event changes everything, and they are forced to adjust to modern society.

Silje Evensmo Jacobsen mixes home movies and a carefully intimate approach to the Payne family, whose isolated existence gets shaken up quite suddenly. This beautiful portrait of connection and resilience in the face of grief will touch your heart.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(NEXT)

REALM OF SATAN

An experiential portrait depicting Satanists in both the every day and in the extraordinary as they fight to preserve their lifestyle: magic, mystery, and misanthropy.

Filmmaker Scott Cummings is no stranger to Sundance, having edited many highly acclaimed festival premieres over the past decade, including Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Monsters and Men, and Wendy.

When I tell you that you aren’t ready for this doc, I mean it in the best way possible. Created to ruffle feathers and dispel right-wing hypocrisy, Scott Cummings titillates with gorgeous framing and a touch of tongue-in-cheek magical realism. 

This film contains graphic sexual content. Audiences must be 18 or older.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(Premieres)

My Old Ass

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in Sundance film MY OLD ASS

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in the Sundance film MY OLD ASS

The summer before college, bright-yet-irreverent Elliott comes face-to-face with her older self during a mushroom trip. The encounter spurs a funny and heartfelt journey of self-discovery and first love as Elliott prepares to leave her childhood home.

The concept alone should get your butt into a seat, but filmmaker Megan Park casting Aubrey Plaza is chef’s kiss in indie cinema.


(Midnight)

I Saw the TV Glow

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine  in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack.

Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021 Sundance Film Festival) gave us one of the coolest genre-bending films with a breakout performance from star Anna Cobb. I cannot wait to see how this one twists my sanity and senses. 

This film contains violence and gore.

This film contains strobe effects.


Sundace Film Festival 2024 Black and White logoTo find out more information on all things Sundance 2024, head to https://festival.sundance.org/

 

Review: ‘THE PORTRAIT’ succeeds in its psychological trickery

THE PORTRAIT

After her husband is devastated by a tragic accident, a devoted wife obsesses over a mysterious portrait that resembles him as he was; but when it starts to terrorize her, she must decide if it’s possessed or if she’s losing her mind.

Immersive editing and camera work immediately draw you into Simon RossTHE PORTRAIT. Fipsi Seilern creates stunning paintings that captivate and disturb. David Griffiths‘s screenplay leads us down a path that appears to be bit Dorian Gray, but the joke’s on us in the end.

Mark-Paul Gosselar plays Brookes, the groundskeeper. His dominant physical presence and the fact that he bears a resemblance to Alex make him an intriguing addition to the narrative. Virginia Madsen plays cousin Mags, a woman who knows more about the family history than Sofia wants to hear. She delivers a precise amount of eerie mystery. Ryan Kwanten is Alex, Sofia’s husband. Kwanten gives the role a frightening aura while simultaneously settling into the physical trauma left behind by the accident. These dual traits allow his acting chops to shine bright, especially considering the little dialogue Alex has. Natalia Cordova-Buckley gives Sofia a perfect balance of determination, frustration, and emotional trauma to keep you perched on the edge of your seat. Her raw vulnerability takes you on a journey that most women will find surprisingly relatable.

THE PORTRAIT pits hope against grief and science against the supernatural in a psychologically menacing manner.


Check out a clip below:


 

The Official Trailer for

THE PORTRAIT

 

Distributed By:

Saban Films

On VOD & Digital:

December 8, 2023

Directed By:

Simon Ross

Written By:

David Griffiths

Produced By:

Christian de Gallegos , David Griffiths

Starring:

Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Ryan Kwanten, Isidora Goreshter with Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Virginia Madsen

Rating:

R for violence, some sexual content, language and brief drug use

Run Time:

86 Minutes

Review: ‘LIBERTY’ is a slick, genre-bending environmental thriller that burrows into your brain.

LIBERTY

A young park ranger with a soulful connection to animals locks a group of eclectic strangers in a cage, forcing them to confront the realities that innocent creatures face daily.

The clever dialogue juxtaposes the fragility of animals in captivity as Matt assigns an animal to each human prisoner. The underlying theme of Matt’s bullying slyly mirrors the psychological torture of animals and the imprisonment of his captives.

Nicholas Michael McGovern delivers a mesmerizing performance through narration and chilling direct-to-camera fourth wall breaks. His steady voice soothes the audience. It is melodic and informative, making his intentions more frightening. He is magnificent.

The unit set lends itself to a stage play. I would pay good money to witness this on Broadway. It’s immersive enough to captivate a live audience even more. LIBERTY could be a unique opportunity for Gravitas to enter the theatre world. If I were producing a screen-to-stage adaptation, I would edit live audience reactions during each performance, creating a curated, visceral experience for each ticket holder.

Philippe De Witte‘s clever allegory about animal rights takes the audience on an unexpected moral journey. Akin to the strangling anxiety of Saw without the gore, LIBERTY is a one-of-a-kind entry into the psychological horror/ environmental thriller subgenre. LIBERTY is dark and daring. It is an emotional roller coaster that twists and turns, loops and lurches with a quiet, raw intensity. De Witte unlocks a primal fear surrounded by poetic madness. You are not ready for this film.


Available on VOD November 21st, 2023

*Winner of Best Foreign Feature Film, Best Music Score – Musical Composition for a Feature Film, and nominee for Best Feature Film – 2022 Burbank International Film Festival 

*Winner of Best Thriller – 2022 Montreal Independent Film Festival

*Winner of Best Feature Film, Best Thriller, Best Cast Ensemble, and Outstanding Achievement in Production Design – 2022 Lonely Wolf International Film Festival*

*Semi-finalist – 2022 Dumbo Film Festival*

*Official selection – 2022 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival*

Written and Directed by Philippe De Witte 

Produced by Michel Gouzée de Harven, Jean-Christophe Van den Berg, Yves Merlin, and Michael Whalen 

Featuring a breakout performance by Nicholas Michael McGovern  and Starring Alice Barrett (“Another World”), Olan Montgomery (“Stranger Things”), Denny Dale Bess (“Law & Order: SVU”), Samantha Smart (“Katy Keene”), Jonathan Kirkland (“Tulsa King”) and Andrea McKinnon (Boyhood)

In the environmental thriller Libertyan idealistic park guide holds six strangers captive, treating them like caged animals, to deliver his chilling message of freedom to the world. As his hostages run the gamut from confusion and disbelief to anger and hostility to grief and despair, our anti-hero compares their mental and physical breakdown to those of wild animals struggling in captivity.

RT: 103 minutes


 

Huge Genre News: NIGHTSTREAM is back in new form!

Digital Genre Film Fest NIGHTSTREAM Relaunched Yesterday as Year Round Curated TVOD Platform, Ft. Exclusive Title SUMMONERS, Films from Distros Including Oscilloscope, Utopia, Dark Sky & More


Christine Nyland and Larry Fessenden from Nightstream Exclusive SUMMONERS


(Brooklyn, NY | October 31, 2023) The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, in association with the Boston Underground Film Festival and the Overlook Film Festival, announces today the re-launch of Nightstream. The former virtual film festival will re-launch as a transactional VOD platform that will showcase acclaimed genre films. Nightstream enables at-home audiences to have a one-stop-shop for their favorite (and new discovery) genre indies in lieu of scrolling through offerings buried in other more overarching platforms. Viewers can expect the lineup to continue to grow over time but always remain curated by the festival programmers.

Nightstream was initially launched in 2020 when film festivals were shuttered at the height of the pandemic. These major horror festivals joined forces to satiate their audiences’ appetites for new, exciting titles even while they were stuck at home. Despite the fact that the world is back in action, Nightstream will give genre fans the curated festival experience 24/7.

Terence Krey and Christine Nyland, the filmmaking team behind 2020’s indie gem An Unquiet Grave, unveil Summoners as the very first Nightstream Exclusive. The film made its world premiere at Brooklyn Horror Festival last year and debuts exclusively on the platform as a launch title. Co-starring indie icon Larry Fessenden, the film focuses on a former witch who is plunged back into a world of witchcraft far more dangerous than ever before after her childhood friend seeks her help in performing a dark spell.

Spearheading the relaunch is Justin Timms, Director of Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. “Finding a way to support new indie films along with keeping our collective festivals afloat during the pandemic was our priority and I’m thrilled that we can continue that for the long term,” says Timms. “Not only will we be sharing revenue with the films on the channel but a portion of the proceeds will also be split among the other founding festivals. We hope audiences around the country will see the value in supporting this effort and choose Nightstream when renting one of these standout titles.”

As of today’s Halloween launch day, the platform will feature over thirty titles, including those from indie distributors Oscilloscope, Dark Star, Dark Sky, Dekanalog, Utopia, Yellow Veil Pictures, and others. Titles include Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going to World’s Fair (Utopia), Gaspar Noe’s Lux Aeterna (Yellow Veil), Joel PotrykusBuzzard (Oscilloscope), and much more. The full listing of film offerings is available at nightstream.org.

Prices will vary per title, and users will have the option to rent or buy most titles with a default pricing of $4.99 to rent and $12.99 to buy.

Full information is available at:
https://nightstream.org/

About Nightstream
In response to the many challenges impacting the film community amid the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing concerns of safety and security associated with physical exhibition and festivals in 2020 and 2021, the collaborative online event NIGHTSTREAM was launched by organizers of a number of American genre festivals across the country to present a dynamic and accessible virtual film festival.

NIGHTSTREAM will live on, continuing as a curated hub for genre films where audiences across the US will be able to rent, buy and discover the latest indie films.

About Brooklyn Horror Film Festival
Bringing the best of domestic and international genre cinema to New York City since 2016, the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival is a premier East Coast genre festival that embodies the eclectic spirit of its namesake.

Brooklyn Horror not only provides the nightmare fuel that audiences expect but also prides itself on challenging those expectations, spotlighting films that push the boundaries of what is normally deemed horror.

Taking place in venues throughout the borough every October, BHFF compliments its ambitious features and shorts programming with exciting and unique live events, crafting a must-attend festival experience for industry members and film fans alike.


 

Austin Film Festival 2023 review: The hilarious ‘DON’T TELL LARRY’ combines office politics with extreme absurdity.

Don’t Tell Larry


After lying to her new eccentric coworker Larry about a company party, an ambitious corporate flunky must deal with the deadly consequences.

Dot-Marie Jones and Ed Begley Jr. serve up pro performances that most certainly elevate DON’T TELL LARRY. Kiel Kennedy has a genuine Will Ferrell energy. His portrayal of Larry is cringe, uncomfortable, and entirely unhinged. It’s wild and wonderful. I won’t say more because seeing is believing. Kennedy gives Larry a larger-than-life persona, mastering the comedy and terror.

Kenneth Mosley is Patrick, Susan’s work bestie and equally fabulous sidekick. Do yourself a favor. Watch Mosley’s reel on IMDB. You will wonder why he isn’t on every screen in your home. His performance as Patrick immediately catches you off guard in the best way. He’s magnetic. Patty Guggenheim is unforgettable as the hyper-ambitious Susan. Guggenheim is a star. She has a similar energy to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Her comic timing and charisma pull you in. Her chemistry with Mosely makes me want a sequel/spin-off/whatever!

Filmmakers Greg Porper and John Schimke give us a classic, over-the-top workplace comedy that stands alongside titles like OFFICE SPACE. It’s wacky and worth your eyeballs.


(USA, 95 MIN)

Writer/Director: Greg Porper, John Schimke

Key Cast: Patty Guggenheim, Kiel Kennedy, Kenneth Mosley, with Dot Marie Jones and Ed Begley Jr.



To find out more about the Austin Film Festival 2023 click here!

 

Review: ‘The Hive’ comes to Cable and Digital VOD tomorrow.

THE HIVE

Albie and Penny, a young couple with a failing marriage, try to rekindle the fire by having a night out by themselves. To make matters worse, the couple returns home to armed strangers. With no help from their neighbors or law enforcement, they attempt to get evidence of the intrusion. They’re captured by the intruders and tortured for information. There’s no hope until Albie escapes and saves Penny. So hellbent on revenge, he puts their marriage on the line. Unfortunately, all help has been compromised and there’s nowhere to run.


With a flailing marriage and erratic home invaders, THE HIVE has all the elements of a solid Twilight Zone-inspired feature. But this indie is more of a buzzkill.

The Hive still 2The performances swing widely. The score, while fine on its own, doesn’t match the over-the-top portrayals of everyone beyond Penny and Albie. Even Timothy Haug and Christine Griffin give us lackluster chemistry.

The set is not a house in which two small children reside. While the script states they’ve only been in their new home for two weeks, there isn’t a single toy on the floor or family portrait on the mantle, just a couple of balls in the backyard. But, an array of greeting cards hang on shuddered closet doors. Nothing makes sense.

The plot is glaringly apparent to everyone but Albie and Penny. Once revealed an hour and ten minutes into the runtime, the fact that our invaders have to explain and then begin to bicker while the score ramps up its intensity, things get increasingly eye-roll-inducing. I think there is supposed to be some overarching social commentary, but the film lost me, somehow flipping from thriller to comedy, and I wasn’t sure if that was the film’s intent.

Despite the classic sci-fi concept, THE HIVE could have been a 15-minute short.

The Hive will hatch on Cable and Digital VOD on October 27th, including Prime Video, Vudu, Vubiquity, Cox, and Comcast.

Review: Susanna Fogel’s ‘CAT PERSON’ is obscenely relatable… on every level.

CAT PERSON

Emilia Jones plays Margot, a college student and movie theatre concession girl who goes on a date with an older patron who may or may not be a murderer. Based on Kristen Roupenian‘s 2017 viral short story in The New Yorker, director Susanna Fogel skillfully weaves a dark tale that every woman has lived.

Nicholas Braun plays Robert. Taking the world by storm as Greg on Succession, Braun leans into his height and natural awkwardness, simultaneously charming and scaring the shit out of audiences. His dialogue overflows with double entendres and demeaning terms of endearment. Braun is spectacular, settling into the role without a moment’s hesitation.

Emilia Jones (CODA) plays Margot with a delicious mix of caution, optimism, anxiety, and delightful sardonic wit. She commands your attention with equal parts “every girl” and an entirely captivating performer. Watching her feels effortless.

The script perfectly balances black humor and visceral tension. Writers Michelle Ashford and Kristen Roupenian cleverly utilize fantasy and nightmare sequences to keep the viewers constantly on edge. Countering the fear is a feminist message of empowerment, predominantly in the form of Margot’s best friend Taylor (Geraldine Viswanathan), and her professor Dr Enid Zabala (Isabella Rossellini). The movie references that initially attract Robert and Margot to one another continue throughout the film. Cinephiles rejoice. Text message conversations keep Robert ever-present.

The script also comedically highlights how far women go to remain appealing, how we placate for acceptance, the self-deprecating behavior, and the blatant shunning of red flags. There is a sex scene that is truly something to behold. It is the most cringeworthy, amusing, icky, relatable thing any woman can watch. It accurately captures the constant fear of existing as a woman. The relentless anxiety, the people pleasing, and the patriarchal pressure from every direction, CAT PERSON nails each aspect with humor and truth in fiction.


CAT PERSON
Starring Emilia Jones & Nicholas Braun
Directed by Award-Winning Filmmaker Susanna Fogel

Opens New York City & Los Angeles October 6th
In Theaters Nationally October 13th

**Official Selection – 2023 Sundance Film Festival**

Genre-Bending Thriller Based Off Kristen Roupenian’s
Viral New Yorker Short Story


Directed by Award-Winning Filmmaker
Susanna Fogel (“The Flight Attendant”, writer Booksmart)

Starring:
Emilia Jones (CODA)
Nicholas Braun (“Succession”)
Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers)
Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet)
Fred Melamed (A Serious Man)
Liza Koshy (Transformers: Rise of the Beasts)
Michael Gandolfini (The Many Saints of Newark)

Written by Michelle Ashford (“Masters of Sex”), the story expands upon Kristen Roupenians’ 2017 short story of the same name published in The New Yorker. Striking a nerve with readers, “Cat Person” was the first work of short fiction to ever go viral, spurring conversations about the modern dating scene, seduction and consent around the world.

When Margot, a college sophomore (Emilia Jones) goes on a date with the older Robert (Nicholas Braun), she finds that IRL Robert doesn’t live up to the Robert she has been flirting with over texts. Cat Person is a razor-sharp exploration of the gender divide, the quagmire of navigating modern dating and the dangerous projections we make in our minds about the person at the other end of our phones.


 

Sitges & Beyond Fest 2023 review: Order Up! Alan Scott Neal’s ‘LAST STRAW’ is a delicious revenge horror.

LAST STRAW


Set over one night in a dusty roadside diner, LAST STRAW follows Nancy (Belkin), a young waitress working alone on the late shift. As a series of chaotic events spiral out of control, Nancy finds herself in a fight for her life when she is terrorized by a group of masked assailants. No one is who they appear to be, and with nowhere to turn, she must do everything she can to survive the night.


Alan Scott Neal brings SITGES & Beyond Fest 2023 audiences a nasty small-town tale of terror in LAST STRAW. A stressed-out Nancy must manage a double shift at her father’s diner, confronting a group of local teens promising to make her night a living hell.

Following a confrontation in the diner earlier in the day, Nancy’s now solitary night shift turns deadly when a masked group turns up to terrorize her. The film starts with a bang, as close-ups of some goretastic aftermath flash across the screen. We already know we are in for some shit. Flash to 24 hours earlier, and we meet our leading lady, her father, and those who would become her tormentors throughout the film. LAST STRAW serves up a brilliantly structured screenplay by Taylor Sardoni. A shocking multiple narrative comes together, and it is chef’s kiss.

Jeremy Sisto plays Edward, Nancy’s father and diner owner. Sisto gives him a loving nature that grounds everyone else’s backstories. Christopher M. Lopes is Petey, Jake’s brother. His sweetness shines. Joji Otani-Hansen plays Bobby with a boy next door core. His pack nature clashes with his morality, making him a spectacular foil for so much of the male energy in the film.

Taylor Kowalski‘s sarcastic edge counters Nancy’s sass. Jake’s desperation and a fierce sense of protection for Petey fuels his rage. He is undeniably compelling. Jessica Belkin gives Nancy an attitude for days. Her dynamic badassery is something to behold. She is a brand ambassador for Final Girls.

The music is an epic mix of synth and girl punk rock. Tender Misfit’s song over the credits is perfection. Do not think you know what’s happening at any given moment. The style and tone shifts again and again. It’s a fresh and satisfying take on revenge horror and one superb debut for Alan Scott Neal.


DIRECTED BY Alan Scott Neal

WRITTEN BY Taylor Sardoni

ORIGINAL SCORE BY Alan Palomo (NEON INDIAN)

STARRING Jessica Belkin (American Horror Story), Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under, Wrong Turn) and Taylor Kowalski (Snowfall)


LAST STRAW marks the directorial debut of Alan Scott Neal with a script by Taylor Sardoni, a raw & relentless twist on the home-invasion thriller, starring Jessica Belkin (American Horror Story), Jeremy Sisto (Thirteen, Clueless) and Taylor Kowalski (Snowfall).

LAST STRAW is produced by Daniel Brandt (I Love My Dad), Bad Grey’s Dane Eckerle (I Love My Dad) & Cole Eckerle (Mother, May I?), along with producers Michael Giannone & Phil Keefe on behalf of AC3 Media, Levon Panek, and Sam Slater of Burn Later Productions. LAST STRAW will world premiere at Sitges Film Festival, followed by a North American debut at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles.



DIRECTOR Alan Scott Neal

WRITER Taylor Sardoni

CINEMATOGRAPHER Andrey Nikolaev

COMPOSER Alan Palomo (Neon Indian)

PRODUCERS Daniel Brandt, Dane Eckerle, Cole Eckerle, Michael Giannone, Phil Keefe

GENRE: Horror/Thriller

RUN TIME: 81 Minutes

YEAR: 2023

SALES: Blue Finch Films

Review: ‘VINDICTA’ is more convoluted than clever.

VINDICTA

Between violent protesters and a serial killer on the loose, Sean McNamara‘s VINDICTA is a tale of revenge that leaves a trail of bodies and plenty of deja vu.

Following the death of her mother and in her father’s footsteps, Lou dreams of becoming a firefighter EMT. On her first night on the job, things go haywire when she and her colleagues become the targets of a killer.

Jeremy Piven plays Lou’s super supportive father, Patrick. But his past puts his daughter in direct sight of the killer. Piven is fantastic. He is a master at his craft, no doubt. Elena Kampouris plays Lou with a solid balance of unresolved trauma and tenacity. She does her best within the convoluted premise to keep us emotionally invested. She deserved to show off more of her physical badassery. I could see her owning a post-apocalyptic role with ease. The film’s best scenes are the climatic mano-a-mano battles.

It is not an exaggeration to say I yelled, “Oh Shit,” following the first kill. I must hand it to McNamara here, as each is different and brutal. However, the film has an overreaching Saw (in its superfluous middle sequels) vibe, both in its performances and overly complicated premise. The killer wears a David mask and scrawls Latin phrases on the walls, placing sporadic traps and puzzles, which culminates in a need to, quite literally, explain the motive. VINDICTA is sort of an amalgamation of past films. Watch it for Kampouris, but a sequel should not be entertained.

In Select Theatres and Available to Buy On Digital
October 6, 2023

DIRECTED BY: Sean McNamara

STORY BY: Steven Paul

SCREENPLAY BY: Ian Neligh

STARRING: Elena Kampouris, Sean Astin and Jeremy Piven

EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY: Scott Karol and Charles Cooper

PRODUCED BY: Steven Paul

DISTRIBUTED BY: Paramount Global Content Distribution

GENRE: Horror, Thriller

RATING: R for violence and gore, language and brief drug material

SYNOPSIS:
When a city is terrorized by a sadistic serial killer, a seasoned detective and a newly recruited paramedic are forced into a deadly game of vengeance, only to discover the key to stopping the bloodshed lies in unlocking the truth of their own haunted pasts. Elena Kampouris (Children of the Corn), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings franchise), and Jeremy Piven (Entourage) star in this edge-of-your-seat thriller from the director of On a Wing and a Prayer.

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