Festival season continues with the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, which means there are new (and, hopefully, fresh) horror movies for us to peruse!
2018 marks the 25th year of the SXSW film festival. Just think of it–25 years of a fearless and unflinching commitment to emerging voices, diverse viewpoints, and plain crazy schemes that translate into memorable films! SXSW is known for its commitment to pushing the envelope of the film industry, and the horror industry knows this.
Just like its contemporaries, like Sundance and Cannes and TIFF, SXSW has an excellent track-record of bringing indie horror to broader audiences. In the past, SXSW horror films have included foreign horror films like Ils (Them), Pontypool, Lake Mungo, Attack the Block, and Under the Shadow, along with American films like Insidious, The Evil Dead remake, Starry Eyes, and Hush. Specifically, last year, SXSW horror films included Prevenge, where a pregnant woman’s fetus urges her to commit multiple murders; Tragedy Girls, an indictment of the fame-obsessed culture made ubiquitous by social media, and Mayhem, a bloody and fun workplace slaughter-fest.
This year, I’m excited about all the world premieres, like A Quiet Place, Field Guide to Evil, and What Keeps You Alive. I’m also super duper excited for Hereditary, which is my most anticipated SXSW horror film thus far. Ah, but the best part of SXSW horror is the underdogs–those films that flew under the radar until they debuted to wild acclaim.
To that end, here are all the SXSW horror films of the year. Below, I’ve listed all the slated screenings at SXSW, organized by their respective categories. I wonder which ones will make a splash.
HEADLINERS – Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with major and rising names in cinema.
A Quiet Place (World Premiere)
Synopsis: “In the modern horror thriller A QUIET PLACE, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.”
Here’s the trailer!
MIDNIGHTERS – Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – provocative after-dark features for night-owls and the terminally curious.
Blood Fest (World Premiere)
Synopsis: “Fans flock to a festival celebrating the most iconic horror movies, only to discover that the charismatic showman behind the event has a diabolical agenda. As attendees start dying off, three teenagers with more horror-film wits than real-world knowledge must band together and battle through every madman, monstrosity, and terrifying scenario if they have any hope of surviving.”
Here’s the trailer!
Untitled Blumhouse-Bazelevs (World Premiere)
Synopsis: “A 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop and is thrust into the deep waters of the dark web. From the makers of Unfriended, this thriller unravels in real-time, entirely on a computer screen. A warning for the digital age.”
Field Guide to Evil (World Premiere) (Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Poland, Turkey, U.S.)
Synopsis: “The Field Guide To Evil is a global dark folklore anthology featuring tales from eight acclaimed filmmakers from their country of origin. Creepy tales of possession, curses, love, lust, and envy. Directed by some of the most exciting new directorial voices in genre; including Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (Goodnight Mommy), Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy), Agnieszka Smoczynska (The Lure), Katrin Gebbe (Nothing Bad Can Happen), Can Evrenol (Baskin), Calvin Reeder (The Rambler), Ashim Ahluwalia (Miss Lovely), and Yannis Veslemes (Norway).”
Ghost Stories (United Kingdom) (North American Premiere)
Synopsis: “Ghost Stories” stars Nyman as Professor Goodman, a psychologist and skeptic, who has his rationality tested when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three terrifying hauntings. He then embarks on a mission to find rational explanations for the ghostly happenings. Paul Whitehouse (“The Death of Stalin”) and Alex Lawther (“The Imitation Game”) also star alongside Freeman, known to audiences worldwide as Dr. Watson in “Sherlock.”
Synopsis: “When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.”
I’ve already posted this freaky trailer, but let’s post it again!
The Ranger (World Premiere)
Synopsis: “When Chelsea and her friends get in trouble with the cops, they flee the city and go on the run. Fueled by a hallucinogenic drug called Echo, they hope to lay low—and get high—in an old family hideout in the woods. But Chelsea’s got reservations about going back to nature and secrets she’s not sharing with her friends. When a shot rings out, her past comes crashing back, and the punks find themselves pitted against the local authority— an unhinged park ranger with an ax to grind.”
What Keeps You Alive (World Premiere) (Canada)
Synopsis: “Majestic mountains, a still lake and venomous betrayals engulf a female married couple attempting to celebrate their one-year anniversary.”
Don’t Leave Home (World Premiere)
Synopsis: “Melanie Thomas is an American artist whose latest show recounts the infamous Irish urban legend of Father Alistair Burke, who painted a portrait of 8-year-old Siobhan Callahan in 1986. Days later, Siobhan went missing on the very morning that her figure miraculously vanished from the painting as well. Though absolved of any wrongdoing, Burke abandoned the priesthood and went into self-exile.
After receiving a bad review before her opening, Melanie is contacted by the reclusive Burke, who offers to fly her to Ireland to create a new sculpture that he will help her to sell while she’s there. Telling no one where she’s going, Melanie never stops to consider that some urban legends are real.”
NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT – High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.
Wildling (World Premiere)
Synopsis: “Anna (BEL POWLEY) spends her entire childhood under the care of a mysterious man she only knows as Daddy (BRAD DOURIF). He keeps her locked in an attic making her fear the Wildling, a child-eating monster that roams the outside. At age 16, Anna is freed by small-town sheriff Ellen Cooper (LIV TYLER) who helps her start a new life as a normal teenager. But as Anna’s body begins to blossom, her childhood nightmares return with a vengeance, leading to the conclusion of a dark secret…”
Which SXSW horror movies are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.