This is where international genre films come out to play. Experience fantastic films that defy ready classification.
Films in this Series
This deranged debut from Steve Oram (writer-star of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers) is a lo-fi cinema madhouse stocked with proles gone primitive. In a down-at-heel British suburb, the devolution of man is complete, with communication reduced to grunts and threat displays. Despite the rampant brutishness and balls-to-the-wall partying, love blossoms. Think of this singular, exceedingly strange film as Pink Flamingos-meets-The Tribe if that makes it easier to envision but you still won’t be prepared for what awaits. “A bold new voice in British film is born."—Hollywood Reporter
Preteen power fantasies don’t come any more entertaining than Jon Watts’ Amblin-on-adrenaline scenario. Wandering aimlessly, eight-year-old best friends Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hays Wellford) happen upon an abandoned police car with the keys dangling from the ignition. What are they to do but take it for a joyride? Unfortunately for them, an extremely dirty cop (a villainous, moustachioed Kevin Bacon) needs what’s stowed in the trunk and sets off in hot pursuit. “There’s something mythic about the story unfolding before us…”—Vulture
Ethiopia’s otherworldly terrain provides a striking backdrop for Miguel Llanso’s post-apocalyptic love story. There’s a faint whiff of The Wizard of Oz to this fairy tale about a diminutive scavenger’s (Daniel Tadesse) quest across a strange land where Michael Jackson’s Dangerous is currency, Michael Jordan shrines are worshipped and a tyrannical overlord dresses as Santa Claus. Add Nazis, a looming spaceship and bowling alleys to the surreal mix and it all assumes the form of a wondrously distorted dream. “A rare and beautiful thing.”—Indiewire
Wild, irreverent and delightfully gory, Jason Lei Howden’s Deathgasm follows in the footsteps of Kiwi splatter comedy classics like Dead Alive. Languishing in a backwater, Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) finds salvation when he forms a band with Zakk (James Blake) who shares his love of the devil’s music. Alas, when the metal heads uncover an ancient piece of tablature, they likewise unleash something unholy. Left with no other recourse, they apply corpse paint and orchestrate the most outrageous kill scenes in recent memory. “The party movie of 2015.”—Bloody Disgusting
After a traumatic incident at a raging party, 17-year-old Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) discovers that a grotesque creature is following her like a shadow. Alarmingly, their bond grows increasingly symbiotic. Is this psychosis or living proof that every teenage year is a fresh hell? A title card advises of the health hazards of the stroboscopic visuals found in AKIZ’s EDM-propelled “narcotic-mindf**k-melodrama.” However, nothing warns of the unshakeable disquiet that lingers well after the last beat. "A raucous mashup of It Follows and Basket Case…"—Hollywood Reporter
Having revitalized the revenge film with the singular Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier returns with a showdown for the ages. After a hardcore band’s anti-Nazi anthem ruffles some white supremacist feathers, they compound their problems by witnessing a grisly crime committed backstage by a skinhead faction (fronted by a wonderfully menacing Patrick Stewart). As roadhouse turns slaughterhouse, Saulnier delivers “a thinking person’s thriller… Visceral and raw…”—Indiewire
Holly’s (Abigail Hardingham) suspicions that Rob (Cian Barry) is still haunted by Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy), his deceased ex, prove (blood) spot on. Any time they try to have sex, an undead Nina manifests from his bed, naked and bloodied with cutting remarks at the ready. Holly, who’s odder than anyone gives her credit for, tries to include Nina, but she’s having none of it. Darkly hilarious and charmingly deranged, Ben and Chris Blaine’s debut amusingly renders the macabre mundane as it examines “what we carry with us.” “Strikingly original…”—Screen
Holing up in a vacant apartment and surveilling the woman (Stephanie King) across the way is hardly glamourous work but Parker (Lindsay Farris) desperately needs the supposedly “easy money.” As things go bump in the night and Parker’s health, both mental and physical, takes a turn for the worse—oily black vomit rarely bodes well—he’s tormented by hallucinations, memories and dreams. In turn, Joseph Sims-Dennett ratchets up the Polanski-indebted paranoia until it reaches its breaking point and Parker follows suit. “For sheer ambient dread, it’s aces.”—Indiewire
Painted in a vibrant neon palette reminiscent of Drive, Hogtown threatens to become a slaughterhouse in Gabriel Carrer’s stylistically bold, psychologically complex revenge film. After a gang assault leaves his policewoman wife (Tianna Nori) seriously injured, Bruce (Ry Barrett) dons a S.W.A.T. uniform and patrols the streets, intent on taking his pound of flesh. Despite carrying himself like a clenched fist, his grip on reality is slipping and he begins stalking an innocent woman (Jessica Vano). “[It] lives up to its title in its brutal intensity…”—Hollywood Reporter
Good news for those who’ve finally regained their faculties after VIFF 2014’s mind-bending The Incident: Isaac Ezban is back with another audacious product of his Twilight Zone-tinged vision. It’s 1968 and eight strangers have congregated at an isolated bus station, where they fall prey to a strange, transformative phenomenon. Employing a bombastic score with a conductor’s flair, Ezban once again demonstrates an unwavering commitment to exhilarating high-concept storytelling.