Essays · Features and Columns

East Coast Horror Fans Rejoice! Film Fest Fun Is Hitting Toronto and Brooklyn This Week

Those of you in Toronto and Brooklyn are in for some creepy, chilling, and unsettling fun.
Toronto After Dark
By  · Published on October 17th, 2019

You can’t go a month out of the year without a film festival somewhere, and that’s a glorious thing. Two of our favorites on the East coast open their doors on October 17th and run for a week, and we’ve got all the details below for both Toronto After Dark Film Festival and Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.

Red Dots

First up is the 14th Annual Toronto After Dark fest which runs October 17th-25th and sees its genre films filling the city’s Scotiabank Theatre with screams and chills aplenty. The focus here is horror, sci-fi, and action, and while the films come from all over the world the fest puts a visible focus on its home nation of Canada. The schedule and ticket info can be found on their site, and the complete list of features playing this year can be found below.

I’ve already seen nine of the eighteen movies, and I can recommend a few of them as well worthy of your time. Genre fans who enjoy big laughs with their dark shenanigans will want to seek out two titles as both Extra Ordinary and Come to Daddy are extremely funny and wonderfully grim watches. The Mortuary Collection is another humorous winner and delivers one of the most entertaining horror anthologies in recent years. On a far more serious note, The Furies is a bloody slasher that offers some interesting ideas and f/x set-pieces. Keep reading for everything playing this year’s Toronto After Dark.

Toronto Premiere. Director – Harold Holscher
In the creepy new South African ghost story “8”, a young family tries to start a new life on a remote rural farm. But soon they encounter the wrath of demonic forces that have existed on their property long since ancient times. Making full use of the stunning South African landscape, and packed with eery moments, horror fans are in for a unique and haunting treat with “8”!

World Premiere. Director – Pearry Teo.
Join us for the World Premiere of possibly the scariest film at Toronto After Dark 2019. After a series of disturbing supernatural events in his home, Joel a young single father, comes to suspect that his young son may be possessed. He finds an exorcist to help rescue his son from the devil, but there is a darkness in the house that has other ideas. THE ASSENT delivers creepiness, scares, and a visions of a demonic hell that will leave your skin crawling with fear.

Toronto Premiere. Director – Seth Ickerman.
Sci-fi fans are in for a glorious treat with this stunning new space epic about a bounty hunter in pursuit of a mysterious spaceship operated by a beautiful alien intelligence. Drawing on vintage sci-fi art for its incredible visuals, and featuring an 80s inspired synth score from acclaimed synth wave maestro Carpenter Brut, your eyes and ears will delight with BLOOD MACHINE’s retro-future, cyberpunk vibe! As a bonus treat we will screen a few extra sci-fi shorts before the feature, including TURBO KILLER, the viral sensation that inspired the film!

A collection of 7 amazing Canadian horror, sci-fi, action and cult short films will screen this year as part of our popular homegrown shorts showcase: IMAGINE A WORLD Directed by Joanna Tsanis, PLAINSONG by Alexis Fortier Gauthier, ZOMBIES AND INDIANS by Keith Lawrence, MOMENT by Geoffrey Uloth, ALASKA by Chris Wilson, Brianna Templeton & Gwynne Phillips, NO ONE WILL EVER BELIEVE YOU by Frederic Chalte, and BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Emily Gagne, Joshua Korngut.

Toronto Premiere. Director – Ant Timpson.
While visiting his estranged father at a remote cabin by the woods, fan favourite Elijah Wood (LORD OF THE RINGS) gets caught up in all sorts of bloody trouble thanks to his dad’s criminal tendencies! Strap in for a fun crazy, terrifying, wild ride in this horror thriller, the latest crowdpleaser from the twisted mind of Ant Timpson who previously gave us festival hits DEATHGASM and HOUSEBOUND! Sadly no trailer, but trust us you won’t want to miss it. Check out some of the rave press quotes by clicking on the image above!

Fight choreographer Alex Chung channels JOHN WICK and JASON BOURNE with this hard-hitting action packed crime thriller about a jaded hitman who finds himself in a fight to the death with a group of vicious assassins. Packed with jaw-breaking fights, intense duels and dangerous stunts, CONTRACTS is a hardcore action movie fan’s delight!

World Premiere. Director – James Mark
Packed with kick-ass action and super-powered throw downs, James Mark’s ENHANCED is a thrilling new sci-fi action flick set to delight fans. In the vein of X-MEN, when a sinister government organization declares them illegal, a group of ‘enhanced’ mutant outcasts including a young woman (CARDINAL’S Alanna Bale) go on the run. Soon, a super-enhanced serial killer emerges on the scene, and the dynamics between hunter and prey changes. Adding extra action to the cast is Canadian Olympic icon and martial artist Elvis Stojko!

Toronto Premiere. Director – Mike Ahern & Enda Loughman
Join us for this award-winning supernatural comedy about ghostly hijinks in smalltown Ireland! When Martin, a frazzled single dad enlists the help of Rose a part-time mystic to find out why he’s being haunted, all hell breaks loose! It’s not long before the pair find themselves attracting the attention of another occultist (played by SNL star Will Forte) who has more sinister plans. Full of charming Irish humour and spooky shenanigans, EXTRA ORDINARY lives up to its name!

Australian horror makes a bloody good return with festival circuit hit slasher killer thriller THE FURIES! In this terrifying blend of THE HUNGER GAMES and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, a group of kidnapped young women wake up in a strange woodland. Soon they realize they’re in a contest where they must fight for their lives against a group of masked psycho killers, each with their own signature method of killing. Full of twists and turns, shocks and incredible kills, THE FURIES will have your heart racing as though you’re one of its contestants!

Toronto Premiere. Director – Zach Gayne
In this dark, biting horror comedy that evokes a twisted modern update to Stephen King’s MISERY, a young woman (STARRY EYES’s Alex Essoe) finds herself being held against her will by an eccentric lady (Precious Chong) whose been stalking her as a potential best friend. As the duel between captive and captor escalates hysterically, one minute you’ll find yourself laughing, the next minute you’ll scream!

A collection of 8 incredible International horror, sci-fi, action and cult short films will screen this year as part of our popular global short film showcase: MAGGIE MAY Directed by Mia’kate Russell, PUZZLE by Vincenzo Alello, EJECT by David Yorke, LA NORIA by Carlos Baena, YOUR LAST DAY ON EARTH by Marc Martinez Jordon, BAR FIGHT by Benjamin R. Mood, PLACE by Jason Gudasz, and THE HAUNTED SWORDSMAN by Kevin McTurk.

Toronto Premiere. Director – Jeremy LaLonde
In this hysterical new sci-fi comedy, a young scientist James (Jonas Chernick) finds his life turned upside down when he’s visited by his crotchety future self (HOME ALONE’s Daniel Stern) who tries to talk him out of creating time travel. When younger James won’t go along with future James’ plan, they begin a wicked battle of man versus himself! A terrific script plus a fantastic cast that includes SIX FEET UNDER’s Frances Conroy equals a total crowdpleaser!

Canadian Premiere. Director – Justin Harding & Rob Brunner
Toronto After Dark Award-Winning short filmmaker Justin Harding (LATCHED) supersizes the fear with his terrifying feature debut, MAKING MONSTERS! When a couple famed for their scare-prank video channel are invited to a friend’s house in the countryside for a weekend getaway, a series of creepy events unfold. Soon the duo find turn the tables turned on them, as their lives spiral into a horrifying living nightmare!

International Premiere. Director – Ryan Spindell
An absolute delight for horror fans from the opening credits to the finish, THE MORTUARY COLLECTION sees the creepy mortician Montgomery Dark (played by fan favourite Clancy Brown) recount five terrifying tales of ghosts, monsters, slasher killers and more to a young woman applying for a job as his assistant. Filled with eye-popping practical effects, lots of scares and a good dose of creepy humour, it all adds up to an unmissable cinematic love letter to classic 1980s horror!

Toronto Premiere. Director – Fernando Alle.
In this hysterical zombie action comedy, after a nuclear strike wipes out most of the city, a group of survivors find themselves in an epic bloody fight for their lives. Leading the heroic warriors is a fearless young soldier Maria and her super serum enhanced sidekick. Unfortunately, they’re up against an impossibly massive horde of zombies and just as terrifying, some mutated humans that are taking on animalistic properties! Packed with awesome zombie kills, fantastic practical effects, great one-liners, and a fantastic 80s-inspired synth score, MUTANT BLAST is a Saturday night crowdpleaser not to be missed!

Toronto Premiere. Director – Lee Min-jae.
Following in the footsteps of TRAIN TO BUSAN comes the latest Korean zombie crowdpleaser, except this time it’s an outrageous undead comedy! Oblivious to the the upcoming zombie apocalypse, the eccentric Park family decide to adopt an undead stray and try to put the brain muncher to practical use in their rural town. As funny as it is quirky, full of bloody mayhem and silly hijinks, THE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALE is an absolute delight for zombie fans, not to be missed!

Toronto Premiere. Director – Alice Waddington.
Alice Waddington’s stunning debut feature is an enticing dark sci-fi fairytale. Drawing on dystopian elements from THE HANDMAID’S TALE, in the near future, a group of unruly young women are sent to a paradise island where they are trained to be better versions of themselves for society. However, it’s not long before secrets at the island including its sinister conversion methods are revealed, and the group starts to think about escape. This hypnotically beautiful, suspenseful and mysterious film also benefits from its amazing cast that includes Emma Roberts, Awkwafina, and Milla Jovovich!

Canadian Premiere. Director – Adrian Panek
During the closing days of World War II, a group of children escape from a concentration camp and seek refuge in an abandoned mansion in the forest. It is not long before they find their new home is being terrorized by a pack of ferocious wolves, as terrifying as their Nazi captors. An official selection of over 20 International Film Festivals including Austin’s Fantastic Fest and winner of over 7 Film Festival Best Picture Awards, WEREWOLF is an unforgettable, stunning, and intense survival horror thriller not to be missed!

North American Premiere. Director – Jordan Barker.
In this chilling new horror flick, a bunch of students take a Winter roadtrip to the remotest woods they can find looking for the perfect untouched snow for a fun snowboarding adventure. As they enter Stoughton Valley, home to a series of historic Witch Trials even more infamous than Salem, their SUV mysteriously breaks down. Soon the group realize they must not only avoid the deadly cold, but something far more terrifying in the woods: a sinister supernatural spirit, trying to possess them and lead them to their deaths!

Join us for a scary fun time with THE WRETCHED, from horror filmmakers Brett and Drew Pierce who last delighted us with their zombie comedy DEADHEADS. After she brings a dead animal home form the woods, a young mom and her family become possessed by the spirit of an evil force. In the mould of FRIGHT NIGHT, only the teen boy next door notices and decides to fight the evil back! Alas all we can share is a teaser that doesn’t represent how awesome this film is. Trust us when we say there’s a reason Sam Raimi (THE EVIL DEAD) loves this film and calls it “Wicked Fun!”. It’s packed with scary fun moments and the perfect Toronto After Dark closing movie, don’t miss it!

Red Dots

Brooklyn Horror

Brooklyn Horror narrows its focus to titles more strictly aligned with the horror genre, but the options are still plentiful. The fest runs October 17th-24th at various theaters and movie-houses throughout the borough, and their site has all the details on screenings, tickets, and more.

The fest has gathered 26 horror films from around the globe, and they’re bringing some of the best and newest chillers to our shores to infect your nightmares. As is often the case with fests late in the year, I’ve already been lucky enough to have seen a few of the titles playing this year, so please allow me to point you towards some of the fun. Girl on the Third Floor is a terrifically icky haunted house tale blending some supernatural antics with some biological fluids, and the result is wonderfully disgusting and affecting. Sea Fever delivers a tightly thrilling tale of isolation and terror set on a fishing boat too far off from shore, and it manages a fun blend of paranoia and creature feature shenanigans. Mystery of the Night, meanwhile, is unlike anything you’ve most likely seen, and while I love the hell out of it I fully expect it to be a divisive watch.

Keep reading for the complete list of features playing this year’s Brooklyn Horror.

East Coast Premiere
USA | 2019 | 90 Min | Dir. David Marmor
For recent LA transplant Sarah, the Asilo Del Mar apartment complex seemed like the perfect place to start her new life; safe with friendly and considerate neighbors who treat each other like family. Hiding behind this utopian exterior is an all-consuming evil that wants to form her into its image and never let her go. 1BR taps into the universal fears of moving to a new city, forming a tableau not of unimaginable terror but something much worse.

North American Premiere
USA | 2019 | 88 Min | Dir. Jeffrey A. Brown
Hoping to reignite their relationship, Emily and Randall arrive at their weekend getaway only to discover a peculiar older couple already staying there. They all agree to share the home and after an indulgent night of partying, wake up to a living nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. Something is infecting the water and a fog is making its way ashore. THE BEACH HOUSE calls to mind the best of ‘50s science fiction with an updated twist.

US Premiere
Canada | 2019 | 96 Min | Dir. Jeff Barnaby
In the midst of a zombie outbreak, all hope seems lost, but there’s one glimmer of salvation: A small Indigenous community populated by folks who are somehow immune to whatever is turning people into undead flesh-eaters. Having been marginalized and persecuted for their entire lives, though, the lucky, and still healthy, residents see an opportunity to both keep themselves alive and pay back those who’ve wronged them by keeping their community’s entry ways closed. And with that, Canadian filmmaker Jeff Barnaby has conceived one of the cleverest uses of the socially potent zombie template, carrying the torch for the late George A. Romero in the process—not to mention Tom Savini, thanks to an excess of viscera.

NYC Premiere
United Kingdom | 2019 | 95 Min | Dir. Emily Harris
Fifteen-year-old Lara has no freedom in her overbearing family’s stately manor, which makes her budding sexual curiosities all the tougher to navigate. One day, a carriage accident near their property leads to enigmatic teenager Carmilla taking up residence inside her home to recover, sparking a friendship that grows into something more passionate. Lara’s family, meanwhile, suspects there’s something inhuman about Carmilla. Adapting Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic vampire novella, which predates Bram Stoker’s DRACULA by nearly three decades, British filmmaker Emily Harris delivers an elegant and moody Gothic romance that isn’t afraid to let the blood flow.

New York Premiere
USA | 2019 | 96 Min | Dir. Adam Egypt Mortimer
Dealing with social anxieties and the stress of caring for his mentally disturbed mother, Luke (Miles Robbins) pulls a desperation move and turns to an odd source of help: the confident and manipulative Daniel (Patrick Schwarzenegger), Luke’s imaginary friend from childhood. The more Daniel asserts his control, though, the deeper Luke falls into a waking nightmare. Perfectly balancing emotional depth and sensitivity with horror imagery that brings to mind a young Clive Barker, Adam Egypt Mortimer’s sophomore feature equal parts mesmerizing and devastating.

US Premiere
Brazil | 2018 | 90 Min | Dir. Gabriela Amaral Almeida
A young girl, already struggling with the recent loss of her mother, is dealt more strife after a tragic workplace incident causes her father to slowly lose his grip on reality. Dalva, mature beyond her years, recklessly turns to witchcraft in her desperate battle to save her rapidly decaying family. A film that wears its cinematic inspirations directly on its sleeve, THE FATHER’S SHADOW begs the question: How far would you go to bring your loved ones back from the dark?

New York Premiere
USA | 2019 | 93 Min | Dir. Travis Stevens
For married man Don Koch (Philip “CM Punk” Brooks), remodeling his new home gives him the chance to start anew while trying to overcome legal troubles and fidelity struggles. Once inside the fixer-upper, Don is helpless against the house’s goo-dripping walls, sordid history and inner demons, the latter hideously exposing those of its new owner. Utilizing the expertise acquired from producing several critically acclaimed indie horror films, including STARRY EYES and WE ARE STILL HERE, Travis Stevens makes his directorial debut with a slick and wildly entertaining haunted house movie that’s truly like no other.

East Coast Premiere
Uruguay | 2018 | 82 Min | Dir. Bernardo and Rafael Antonaccio
Excited to introduce her new boyfriend to her longtime friends, Alicia sets up a hangout session at an abandoned quarry near her hometown. At first, it’s all good times, with food and drinks abound, but as the day progresses, secrets are revealed and bonds are broken. And before the day is over, lives will be lost. Uruguayan filmmakers Bernardo and Rafael Antonaccio mine pure darkness and unpredictable brutality from their characters’ frayed dynamics in this tense and excellently acted riff on naturalistic heart-of-darkness genre fare the likes of Polanski’s KNIFE IN THE WATER.

New York Premiere
Sweden, Denmark | 2019 | 86 Min | Dir. Johannes Nyholm
In the wake of tragedy, married Elin and Tobias head out on the open road for a camping trip. But along the way, a group of homicidal deviants, propelled by the sounds of an ominous children’s song, disrupt their commute again and again—and again and again. Forced to keep reliving the brutality, Eli and Tobias finally have to reckon with the worst moment of their shared lives. A head-spinning and unnerving examination of grief that’s also profoundly sad, Swedish filmmaker Johannes Nyholm’s KOKO-DI KOKO-DA is a ghoulish riff on the GROUNDHOG DAY time loop conceit.

East Coast Premiere
Laos | 2019 | 115 Min | Dir. Mattie Do
Living in isolation in rural Laos, a somber man spends his days coming to terms with painful events from youth; specifically, the discovery of a young woman’s corpse. Fifty years later, he’s constantly followed by the spirit of that woman and, as a result, is able to perform acts that defy logic. Returning to Brooklyn Horror after opening our inaugural festival in 2016 with her excellent ghost story DEAREST SISTER, Laos’ filmmaking maverick Mattie Do has taken her craft to new heights. Weaving subtle sci-fi into the supernatural, THE LONG WALK is a haunting gem from one of genre cinema’s most exciting on-the-rise voices.

East Coast Premiere
Poland | 2019 | 108 Min | Dir. Jagoda Szelc
Waking up to discover their bus driver gone, a group of hospitality majors arrive at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. The take-no-shit hotel manager greets them with the first lesson of their internship—no one cares what your name is. This loss of identity is followed by menial cleaning tasks and as one night bleeds into the next, the students begin to explore the dark recesses of the hotel. Mythic and tantalizing, Director Jagoda Szelc’s sophomore feature channels the waywardness and palpable rage of youth.

US Premiere
Philippines | 2019 | 105 Min | Dir. Adolfo Alix, Jr.
In the colonial Philippines of the 1900s, a young woman who’s been raised by creatures in the woods meets, and falls in love with, a man from town. Soon enough, though, her new romance goes sour, prompting her to make him pay in ways you’ll need to see to believe. Cloaked in a hypnotic ambiance from its opening frame, Adolfo Alix Jr.’s MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT takes its time building up character and conflict before erupting with a dynamite supernatural payoff that’s shockingly primal. Behold one of 2019’s most unique horror gems.

North American Premiere
Argentina, New Zealand | 2019 | 100 Min | Dir. Luciano and Nicolás Onetti, Sergio Morcillo, Joshua Long, Jason Bognacki, Adam O´Brien, Matt Richards, A.J. Briones, Pablo S. Pastor and Oliver Park.
As the host of a popular horror-themed radio show, disc jockey Rod shares tales of terror with his eager listeners, and although this particular night is no different, there’s also the unexpected wrinkles of alarming calls from a scared-to-death child. How that all ties together is part of the magic behind A NIGHT OF HORROR: NIGHTMARE RADIO, an anthology constructed by Argentinian duo Nicolas and Luciano Onetti, who’ve assembled an impressive lineup of recent festival-touring horror shorts to deliver a refreshingly unique new kind of omnibus.

New York Premiere
USA | 2019 | 98 Min | Dir. Keola Racela
For a staff of Christian teenage theater workers in 1992, their Friday night crew screening options are between A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, ENCINO MAN or a mysterious old film reel they found in the basement. After convincing their projectionist Heavy Metal Jeff to load up the mystery film, the teens are entranced by a ritualistic erotic art film, mistakenly unleashing a sex demon in the process. They’ll have to keep their raging hormones in check as they battle for their souls in this raucous and gory mix of SAVED! and THE EVIL DEAD.

East Coast Premiere
Argentina | 2019 | 83 Min | Dir. Macarena García Lenzi and Martín Blousson
Coping with the death of their father was the easy part for Jesus and Maria, that is until their half-sister Magdalena returns to claim her share of the inheritance. The siblings, unwilling to sell the house, begin a series of sick games where it is impossible to define who is the rock, the paper or the scissors. First-time directors Macarena García Lenzi and Martín Blousson have crafted a raucous black comedy based on an Argentinian stage play of the same name written by García Lenzi.

North American Premiere
France, Belgium, Luxembourg | 2019 | 95 Min. | Dir. Christian Volckman
Looking for a change, Matt (Kevin Janssens from Coralie Fargeat’s REVENGE) and Kate (Olga Kurylenko) relocate from New York City to quaint New Hampshire. While cleaning out their new home, the couple discovers a secret room in which any wishes one speaks out loud materialize. At first, it’s all fun, money wishes and games until Matt and Kate realize what this could mean for their inability to have a child. And with that MONKEY’S-PAW-esque setup, Christian Volckman’s bold psychodrama THE ROOM constantly surprises with its unpredictable turns while maintaining an air of subtly potent dread.

East Coast Premiere
USA | 2019 | 85 Min | Dir. Jordan Graham
Deep in the woods, it’s hard to really say what’s whispering in the night. Ask grandma, though, and she’ll tell you it’s Sator—a protective dark force among the trees, a satanic presence, a ritualistic killer who’s haunted their family for generations. A young man ventures back to the forest in an attempt to rebuild a relationship with his brother who’s been hibernating in seclusion after traumatic events led to the disappearance of their mother years past. A disturbing mediation on family bonds and mental illness, SATOR is an impressive cinematic feat by first-time filmmaker Jordan Graham.

East Coast Premiere
Ireland, Sweden, Belgium | 2019 | 90 Min | Dir. Neasa Hardiman
For marine biology student Siobhan, it was supposed to be an educational sea excursion. And at first, research indeed takes precedence as the serious-minded PhD hopeful gains experience alongside a grizzled crew of fishermen. But when their ship hits an unseen object, a mysterious ooze-like force infiltrates the vessel and turns Siobhan’s journey into claustrophobic fight for survival. Favoring dread and atmosphere over shock value, first-time feature director Neasa Hardiman’s SEA FEVER is an unsettling chamber piece that brings to mind similarly doomed settings like the Nostromo and U.S. Outpost #31.

North American Premiere
USA | 2019 | 99 Min | Dir. Frank Sabatella
Stan, Roxy and Dommer are lifelong friends whose bond is being tested by the ever-taxing rigors of high school. For Stan and Dommer, in particular, the daily bullying they encounter comes in second only to watching Roxy’s popularity grow, and, in turn, her closeness to them dissipate. But there’s an unexpected possible solution to their problems in Stan’s backyard: a nondescript-looking toolshed, which houses something inhuman. Centered around the unlikeliest of villains, Frank Sabatella’s THE SHED takes what could have been a gore-drenched monster movie romp and layers it with potent coming-of-age anxiety and youth-in-crisis urgency. Don’t worry, though: There’s still carnage aplenty.

New York Premiere
Brazil | 2019 | 100 Min | Dir. Alice Furtado
It’s love at first sight when teenager Silvia meets the charismatic Artur, with whom she begins a passionate and world-changing relationship. That is, until Artur suddenly dies, leaving Silvia in a debilitating state of loss, complete with intense depression and physical sickness. While on a beachside vacation with her family, though, she meets a local who introduces her to the notion of voodoo—specifically, bringing loved ones back from the dead. Proudly inspired by PET SEMATARY, Alice Furtado repurposes the themes of Stephen King’s classic resurrection story onto a hypnotic film that’s both distinct to her Brazilian culture and visually decadent.

North American Premiere
Canada | 2019 | 87 Min | Dir. Kurtis David Harder
To get away from the city life, same-sex couple Malik and Aaron and their teen daughter, Kayla, move to a small suburban town in the mid-’90s. Unfortunately, they’re greeted right away with homophobic threats. When Malik witnesses a strange gathering in the neighbor’s house, he starts to fear for their lives. A queer horror game-changer, SPIRAL uses the genre to call out the deep-rooted fear of the other in America and expose the cycle of hate as the most corruptible, ancient evil of all.

USA | 2019 | 94 Min | Dir. Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Pregnant housewife Hunter (Haley Bennett) suddenly develops a case of pica—a psychological disorder involving the desire to consume inedible objects. The more her husband and his family try to stop her compulsions, the gruesomely deeper she falls into this harmful obsession until her perfect home becomes a patriarchal prison. Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ metaphorically rich feature debut is a body horror film that feels utterly essential from its timely commentary down to Bennett’s jaw-dropping lead performance.

East Coast Premiere
USA | 2019 | 95 Min | Dir. Dean Kapsalis
High school English teacher Holly (Azura Skye) has always taken the stress and thanklessness of motherhood in stride, but a dark secret weighs heavily on her. The sudden appearance of a mouse and a betrayal by her self-absorbed husband send her spiraling down into catastrophe as she wreaks total havoc on her life. THE SWERVE is an epic, tenacious showcase for Skye, who shreds through the screen flailing for a lifeline in director Dean Kapsalis emotionally crushing feature debut.

USA | 2019 | 73 Min | Dir. Omri Dorani
Shaking off a tense roadside encounter with some strangers, Reina and her boyfriend, Cory, arrive at her childhood home. The quarreling couple are attempting to overcome a difficult decision that has put a deep strain on their relationship: the loss of an unborn child. Late that night, there’s a knock at the door. It’s a young boy claiming to be their son. Disturbingly batshit in its exploration of unresolved grief and regret, THIS IS OUR HOME begs to be discussed and deciphered.

New York Premiere
USA | 2019 | 92 Min | Dir. Joe Begos
A tight-knit group of grizzled military veterans (played by a formidable cast of genre fan favorites, including Stephen Lang, William Sadler and Fred Williamson) just want to have a laidback night of hard boozing inside their VFW digs. Too bad for them, though, that a gang of punk drug dealers and supercharged addicts have other plans for their unsuspecting elders. Coming off of his excellent descent-into-hell eye-opener BLISS, horror grime master Joe Begos puts his bold stamp on the good old-fashioned “siege movie” with this gore-drenched and delightfully sleazy adrenaline rush.

North American Premiere
Brazil | 2019 | 100 Min | Dir. Ramon Porto Mota
A group of teenagers arrive in the middle of the night to a desolate Brazilian seaside town. High school has just ended and they are ready to party in style, but cell service sucks and as the days progress, things get very weird. Is time melting, repeating, or going backwards, and did you just see what you think you saw? A tale of friendship and young love for a generation who live through their screens and screen through their lives. Trippy, freaky, angry, and sharply humorous, THE YELLOW NIGHT is a hypnotic millennial nightmare not to be missed.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.