The Sundance Film Festival returns to Park City, Utah, Jan. 21 to 31, and its Park City at Midnight program promises some nasty treats, many of them Canadian, including:
7 Days (a.k.a. Les Sept Jours du Talion, or The Seven Days of Retaliation)
Daniel Grou aka Podz 2009
“When successful surgeon Bruno Hamel’s otherwise uneventful world is torn apart by the brutal rape and murder of his eight-year-old daughter, Jasmine, he embarks on a quest for revenge against the perpetrator of this heinous crime. In a game of cat and mouse with the police detectives assigned to the case, Bruno successfully kidnaps the accused murderer as he is transported to the courthouse. With the roles now reversed, this father-turned-predator drives his prey to a remote cabin, where seven days of unspeakable torture await. He even keeps the police apprised of his plan, vowing to turn himself in after the execution of this alleged monster.
Director Daniel Grou aka Podz does a masterful job of immersing the audience in this dark and gritty world, deftly capturing the psyche of a sane man gone mad. Far more than your average torture flick, 7 Days is an eye-for-an-eye tale that is chock-full of tension, suspense, and inner conflict.”
Eli Craig 2009
“The hillbillies from the store captured Alison!”
“Tucker and Dale, two hillbillies heading to their “fixer-upper” cabin for some relaxin’, discover they ain’t alone in them woods. They encounter an SUV full of vacationing college kids, and Dale unintentionally creeps them out. But later, as he and Tucker are fishing, Dale rescues one of them—the pretty blond Alison—after she falls into the lake. Assuming she’s been captured, the indomitably preppy college kids rally to find her.
A comically macabre battle between Izods and overalls, Eli Craig’s ingenious send-up of the horror genre recounts a simple misunderstanding gone grotesquely wrong. Our hillbilly psycho killers are actually sweet as pie; it’s the judgmental college kids who have “issues.”
Craig lovingly embraces clichés, dispensing humor and gore in equal parts as we watch the educated class blunder to its demise. Nature, beer, and a rising body count—what better way to spend Memorial Day?”
Frozen's Emma Bell
Adam Green 2009
“On a chilly winter night, three skiers huddle together on a chairlift, confused as to why their ride to the summit suddenly stops. The sting of the icy wind worsens when the floodlights power down, leaving them stranded in the dark. As they wait for help, the reality of the nightmare hits them. The ski resort has just closed, stranding the group high above the mountain slopes in an oncoming snowstorm. With ominous howls echoing through the surrounding woods, they will need to make some tough decisions to survive.
Writer/director Adam Green skillfully guides this real-world thriller, pushing three college students to confront their natural fears of the dark, cold, heights, and beyond, to see how far a human is willing to go to survive. With bone-chilling performances by Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore, and Emma Bell, Frozen continues horror’s time-honored tradition of scaring audiences away from their favorite recreational activities.”
Rodrigo Cortés 2010
“Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a U.S. citizen working as a contract driver in Iraq. After a swift and sudden attack on his convoy, he awakens to find himself buried alive inside a coffin with nothing more than a lighter, a cell phone, and little memory of how he ended up there. Faced with limited oxygen and unlimited panic, Paul finds himself in a tension-filled race against time to escape this claustrophobic deathtrap before it’s too late.
If the sheer logistics of this premise are enough to make your head hurt, rest assured that director Rodrigo Cortés tackles these issues with relative ease, aided a great deal by a superbly convincing performance by Reynolds, the lone on-screen actor in the film. The result is a gripping and suspenseful thriller that will leave you gasping for air until the very end.”
And finally the film we can’t wait to see…
Vincenzo Natali 2009
The classic monster film gets a deliciously sadistic twist in Vincenzo Natali’s contemporary dissection of the genetic-engineering dilemma.
Clive and Elsa are young, brilliant, and ambitious. The new animal species they engineered has made them rebel superstars of the scientific world. In secret, they introduce human DNA into the experiment. The result is something that is greater than the sum of its parts: a female animal/human hybrid that may be a step up on the evolutionary ladder. They think they may have created the perfect organism—until she makes a final, shocking metamorphosis that could destroy them—and the rest of humanity.
In an age where creating life is a near-scientific possibility, the terrifying premise of Splice takes on hauntingly powerful implications. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody deliver nuanced performances, and Natali’s lurid special effects and dazzling visual design create a modern-day horror film that will make you scream, squirm, and think.