A look at some of the most amazing horror and dark fantasy films at TIFF 2016
The Toronto International Film Festival (or TIFF as it’s called) is rightly regarded as one of the finest fests on the face of the Earth and it’s even more exciting when you – like this writer – actually live in Toronto.
Every September (this year it’s September 8-18), it’s like the cinematic circus comes to town, with dozens upon dozens of remarkable movies unspooling all around the city and the visionary men and women who made them hanging out in the peripheral, excited to see what other people think of their art.
Of course, if you’re a fan of horror and dark fantasy, of the arcane and unusual, TIFF trades heavily in such strange delights, specifically in the legendary Midnight Madness program and the more esoteric Vanguard series, both curated by Colin Geddes.
Perusing the announced titles for both programs this year, here are the films that are making this horror fan most excited.
Blair Witch (Adam Wingard): Wingard’s “secret” sequel to the game-changing hit The Blair Witch Project is a major buzz title this year, with a built-in fanbase looking to see where the celebrated You’re Next director takes the grim story. And while this writer has never had any serious love for the original, I’m dying to see what Wingard does with the material. If the advance reviews are to be believed…he done good.
Dog Eat Dog (Paul Schrader): Schrader and Nicolas Cage together again with the addition of Willem Dafoe (who starred as Max Shreck in the Cage-produced Shadow of the Vampire) is cause for celebration. Can the screen handle such wanton eccentricity jammed into a single gritty, violent crime epic? Perhaps the film I’m most jazzed about this year…
Free Fire (Ben Wheatley): Wheatley returns to TIFF and we’re stoked as the visionary High-Rise director can do no wrong. For this searing dark drama, he’s assembled one helluva cast, including Room star Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copely and Armie Hammer, who we’re happy to see survive The Lone Ranger.
Rats (Morgan Spurlock): It’s rare to see a documentary play at Midnight Madness, but Spurlock is no ordinary filmmaker. The Super-Size Me legend turns his eye to the horrors of vermin, the disease-carrying rodent plague that festers under the surface of every city. This one is guaranteed to make you squirm.
Raw (Julia Ducournau): Extreme French horror festers, please and thanks, in this graphic and disturbing tale of a veterinary school student who slowly, surely turns to cannibalism. The film looks dark, gory and ample upsetting. Bring it on!
Bad Batch (Ana Lily Amirpour): The triumphant return of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night director Amirpour, Bad Batch tells a tale of Texas cannibals but is billed as a “fairy tale”. We’re in. Great cast too, which includes Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones), Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves and…Jim Carrey?
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo): It’s Rachel Getting Married…with monsters. Anne Hathaway stars as woman who loses her job and is slave to bad fortune. But when a Kaiju starts ripping apart Korea, she learns that she has a kind of connection to the beast.
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (Osgoode Perkins): Anthony Perkins’ talented son directs this arty Gothic ghost story about a hospice nurse who cares for a writer at the turn of the century and then inexplicably never, ever leaves the house.
Go to the TIFF website for tickets and to explore some of the other remarkable titles at the fest this year.
What flicks are you most excited about at TIFF 2016?