As we near the end of the calendar year, there is still plenty to look forward to in cinema – and not just the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December. Yes, as we barrel down on the industry’s undisputed purple patch, our local theaters will soon become brimming with awards contenders each out to stake a claim for that coveted Oscar trophy.
Much like previous years, the Academy’s presentation will take place in February, and it’ll be preceded by the Sundance Film Festival one month prior. Returning for its 32nd year on the festival circuit, the Midnight selection has been formally revealed, confirming such entires as Rob Zombie’s horror 31 along with the Kevin Smith-directed college flick, Yoga Hosers.
Blending irreverent comedies with impassioned horror films, the Midnight slate of Sundance 2016 is once again jam-packed with notable release, and let’s not forget that it was this particular category that helped launch such films as The Babadook, The Descent and V/H/S 2.
Sundance 2016 will officially get underway on January 21, 2016, lasting right up until January 31. With the Midnight selection now locked, expect to hear much more about the festival as it approaches its due date.
31 / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Rob Zombie) — Five friends are kidnapped on the day before Halloween and are held hostage in a terrifying place named Murder World. While trapped, they must play a violent game called 31, in which the mission is to survive 12 hours against a gang of evil clowns. Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Meg Foster. World Premiere
Antibirth / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Danny Perez) — In a desolate community full of drug-addled marines and rumors of kidnapping, a wild-eyed stoner named Lou wakes up after a crazy night of partying with symptoms of a strange illness and recurring visions. As she struggles to get a grip on reality, the stories of conspiracy spread. Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Mark Webber, Meg Tilly, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos. World Premiere
The Blackout Experiments / U.S.A. (Director: Rich Fox) — A group of friends discover the dark underworld of the ultra-scary, psychosexual horror experience called Blackout. But what starts as a thrill ride through the unknown becomes deeply personal, developing into an obsession that hijacks their lives and blurs the line between reality and paranoid fantasy. World Premiere
Carnage Park / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Mickey Keating) — The year is 1978. A team of wannabe crooks botch a small-town bank heist and flee with their hostage deep into the California desert, where they inexplicably find themselves in a harrowing fight for survival against a psychotic ex-military sniper. Cast: Ashley Bell, Pat Healy, Alan Ruck, Darby Stanchfield, James Landry Hébert, Larry Fessenden. World Premiere
The Greasy Strangler / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Hosking, Screenwriters: Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard) — When Big Ronnie and his son Brayden meet lone female tourist Janet on Big Ronnie’s Disco Walking Tour—the best and only disco walking tour in the city—a fight for Janet’s heart erupts between father and son, and the infamous Greasy Strangler is unleashed. Cast: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Jesse Keen, Joe David Walters. World Premiere
Outlaws and Angels / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: JT Mollner) — With a notorious bounty hunter closing in on their trail, a gang of cold-blooded outlaws invades the home of a seemingly innocent frontier family, where an unexpected game of cat and mouse ensues throughout the night, leading to seduction, role reversal, and ultimately bloody revenge. Cast: Chad Michael Murray, Francesca Eastwood, Luke Wilson, Teri Polo, Madisen Beaty, Nathan Russell. World Premiere
Trash Fire / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Richard Bates Jr.) — When Owen is forced to confront the past he’s been running from his whole adult life, he and his girlfriend, Isabel, become entangled in a horrifying web of lies, deceit, and murder. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be scarred for life. Cast: Adrian Grenier, Angela Trimbur, AnnaLynne McCord, Fionnula Flanagan, Matthew Gray Gubler, Ray Santiago. World Premiere
Under the Shadow / United Kingdom, Jordan (Director and screenwriter: Babak Anvari) — Tehran, 1988: As the Iran-Iraq War rumbles into its eighth year, a mother and daughter are slowly torn apart by the bombing campaigns on the city coupled with the country’s bloody revolution. As they struggle to stay together amidst these terrors, a mysterious evil stalks through their apartment. Cast: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, Arash Marandi. World Premiere
Yoga Hosers / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kevin Smith) — Colleen Collette and Colleen McKenzie are teenage besties from Winnipeg who love yoga and live on their smartphones. But when these sophomores get invited to a senior party by the school hottie, the Colleens accidentally uncover an ancient evil buried beneath their Canadian convenience store. Cast: Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp, Justin Long, Austin Butler, Tyler Posey. World Premiere