horror at sundance

John Dies at the End (REVIEW)

Since 2004’s Shaun of the Dead the horror-comedy appears to have been going through a bit of a resurgence. Between 2006 and 2010 there were a little more than 40 horror comedies of varying financial pedigrees released. Last year we saw approximately 7 major horror-comedy releases. Cabin in the Woods is even seeing a decent amount of award buzz and critical acclaim; extremely rare for a film so steeped in genre material.

Horror at Sundance: "The Violent Kind"

The poster for "The Violent Kind" proclaims that it is "A New Film by the Butcher Brothers." I couldn't remember if the Butcher Brothers were a tag team wrestling duo or a late 90s electronica production team but it turns out they're the guys who made "The Hamiltons" from the first After Dark Horrorfest, as well as the "April Fool's Day" remake. "The Violent Kind" seems to defy synopsis and has something to do with possession, supernatural evil and a 1950s rockabilly motorcycle gang. It also stars the notoriously picky Tiffany Shepis, who as evidenced by her recent turns in "Zombies!

Horror at Sundance: "Double Take"

First the bad news. "Double Take" is not the eagerly awaited remake of the 2001 Eddie Griffin/7-Up Yours Guy buddy comedy classic. Guess we'll have to keep writing those letters. What it is, is... I have no clue. There is a ton of promotional material for "Double Take" on YouTube and I still can't make heads or tails out of any of it. All I know is I am intrigued by this movie and I want to subscribe to its newsletter. It has something to do with Alfred Hitchcock, or maybe an Alfred Hitchcock lookalike, possibly both and they might be trying to kill each other.

Horror at Sundance: "All My Friends Are Funeral Singers"

I suspect calling "All My Friends Are Funeral Singers" a horror movie is a bit of a stretch, but hey, it's got ghosts. It's about a fortune teller played by Angela Bettis who lives in a house filled with ghosts who act as her surrogate family. The ghosts eventually realize they are trapped in the house and the psychic is forced to come to terms with the fact that they have to move on. What's most notable about the film is that it was directed by musician Tim Rutili of Califone and the band's latest album shares a name with the film and serves as the film's score.

Horror at Sundance: "Enter the Void"

"Enter the Void" is the latest from master provocateur Gaspar Noe ("Irreversible", "I Stand Alone") and early accounts indicate that its every bit as shocking and technically brilliant as his previous films. It follows an American brother and sister living in the seedy streets of Japan but here's the kicker: it's entirely filmed in the first-person from the perspective of the brother. The brother dies early in the film so we spend the majority of the film soaring over Tokyo watching over the sister through the eyes of his ghost.

Horror at Sundance Bonus Short: "The S From Hell"

If you've watched many old cartoons or sitcoms from the 60s and 70s, you probably recognize the Screen Gems company ID that closed many shows like Bewitched or the Flintstones. Evidently, there's an entire subculture of people who suffer from an irrational fear of the Screen Gems stylized S and accompanying Moog jingle. Director Rodney Ascher learned of this phenomenon and interviewed many of these logophobics for a short documentary called "The S From Hell", which premiered at Sundance this year.

Horror at Sundance: "Tucker & Dale vs Evil"

Tucker (Alan Tudyk, "Firefly", "Dollhouse") and Dale (Tyler Labine, "Reaper") are a couple of good 'ole boys spending the weekend with a few cold beers at their fixer-upper cabin in the woods. Camping nearby is a group of good-looking college kids who begin to believe that Tucker and Dale are a couple of horror movie cliche killer rednecks. The grits hit the fan and Tucker and Dale can't figure out why these preppy kids keep coming on their property to commit gory suicide. "Tucker & Dale vs Evil" could do for hillbilly slasher movies what "Shaun of the Dead" did for zombie movies.

Horror at Sundance: "Splice"

"Splice" has the solid pedigree of coming from "Cube" director Vincenzo Natali and executive producer Guillermo del Toro. It stars Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody as geneticists who successfully engineer an new animal species - conveniently keeping under wraps that they've used human DNA to do so. The new genetic lifeform ages rapidly enough to have a reported sex scene with Adrien Brody. I haven't seen the adult monster design but so far there ain't nothing pretty about that mental picture, folks.

Horror at Sundance: "7 Days"

When the rapist and murderer of his eight-year-old daughter is arrested, a successful surgeon kidnaps the man as he's being taken to the courthouse and spends seven days taking out his revenge while evading the police. Word on the French-Canadian film "7 Days" is that it is filled with extremely graphic scenes of the bereaved father using his surgical training as a method of torture. A very cool bonus about this movie is that on the day it premiered at Sundance (January 21) it was simultaneously made available to watch through the VOD service Sundance Selects.

Horror at Sundance: "Buried"

The Sundance Film Festival has fully embraced genre film and some of the biggest and best releases of the next year are screening right now in Park City. Over the next few days we'll take a first look at the movies we'll be talking about in a few months.

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